Lois van Baarle is still drawing as she has her entire life. Complimented since at a very young age, this motivated her to continue drawing and pursue that line of work. A family friend was also quite talented and became an architect, and gave van Baarle some guidance as well. “There was this solid belief at the time that one couldn’t make a living as an artist, and there had to be a ‘back-up’ plan in order to get by,” she said.
Born in Holland, Lois has lived all over the world, including the United States, Indonesia, France and Belgium. “It was only in my last half year of high school, after a year of thinking I would study history or anthropology, that I suddenly decided that I had to study something arts-related in college,” van Baarle explains. “At this time in my life, I was studying really hard to get some good grades but had a strong desire to draw constantly.” She managed to fit both into her crazy schedule, but feared a life of constantly having to choose between the two, which Lois imagined to be quite exhausting. This was the moment where she knew she had to choose art as a career, in order to find some order and have a clear and focused goal in life.
Lois van Baarle moved back to her home country to study animation at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU) in Hilversum. She felt she’d found a vocation that covered as many bases as possible. “Animation was a field covering storytelling, character design, environments, working with movement and dynamics, storyboarding and a huge range of other things,” she says. “I felt like a background in animation would broaden my skills as much as possible, increasing my chances of success in my later career.”
An inspirational personal gallery of the Master Artists’ finest work follows. An invited artist gallery is also included, which features character work from some of the most talented character and fashion artists in the world.
The Master Class book provides a series of very detailed tutorials that explain in the simplest way possible the main characteristics on which to focus when creating a fashion drawing. This is in terms of how to prepare the sketch of the base figure, how to give it a fluid and harmonious movement, and portraying the right proportions used in the fashion industry.
“I find that characters with a bit of an ‘edge’ ––brightly colored hair, dreadlocks, tattoos–– have the most personality and feminine appeal,” adds Lois. Her artwork is hugely influenced by the pinup genre as a whole. Particular pinup artists took her fancy, particularly Gil Elvgren, have also influenced her work directly. “But, doing a lot of poster commissions and having a focus on the female figure has made the pinup an ideal genre to work in. In this format, the clothing style and fashion sense of the figure portrayed is really important in conveying personality and overall appeal."
Lois tries to challenge herself and to push herself a little further each day in terms of getting detail into an image, striving for an improvement in her technical skill. She's not after realism, feeling that stylised and surreal imagery work better with what she finds she can achieve. "I try to create a stronger emotional core behind my work and to tell more of a story by adding surreal elements," says van Baarle. "Compared to my earlier works, my current images have a stronger thematic core, which helps keep the prices interesting and refreshing."