The technique of illustrating, style and education are rarely seen together. But when Bil Donovan, fashion illustrator and sculptor, discovered that fashion could lead him to the path of drawing, he outgrew his vision of timeless elegance through the art of creating the ideal elegant woman and lifestyle through paper, some ink and a brush.
"Vogue and Harpers Bazaar inspired me," the illustrator said, "it was at a time when fashion illustration still held sway in the editorial markets."
It was not just illustration from works of Dorothy Hood and Kenneth Paulthat inspired him from the very beginning, but also photography from the well known artists Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
"I wanted to capture the photograph moment too, but with line and shape," said Donovan.
After more than four years of creativity and drive, Donovan hasn't stopped developing projects of creating billboards, brochures, cards, and window displays for companies like Lancôme and Dior Beauty. And although he mentions he is still in the process at making it big, one of his most cherished accomplishments isn't really fame, but giving people a love for his work and style.
"If someone wants all of my items," says Donovan, "I take it as a good sign. It changes my thoughts about my own work."
Confidence and working in a friendly environment is what keeps Donovan moving at a faster and more enjoyable pace. As his talented companion illustrators are not only generous and gracious, but also interesting individuals.
"They are all amazing," he says.
By the time Donovan was introduced to the art of Couture, he already had different designers who helped him through the process. Kenneth Bonavitacola, Roberto Codina and Ralph Rucci, were one of the designers which inspired Donovan on how to draw, drape and leave his comfort zone.
Mr. Donovan, known for his professionalism and common courtesy, gets to work. And even though he might struggle at times, with the illustration of a black dress, he lacks no patience.
"What I lack is having no high tolerance for incompetence in a professional environment," said Donovan.
Within the fulfillment of a life long dream, Donovan is still on the road of success not just by illustrating, but by mentoring students at The School of Visual Arts and The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), just to name a few.
"I chose illustration as a way to live, to breathe," said Donovan, "to do something else was out of the question."
Despite the fact that artistic journeys are one of the most difficult and complicated journeys in a professional life, Donovan is aware of how its all about gaining your own confidence and listening to yourself.
"The inner voice of 'Am I good enough?', are the challenges most artist struggle with", said Donovan, "But those factors are the ones that force you to defend your own choices and decisions."
Donovan's illustrations, patience and advice for students, are things he has gained on life experiences. Demonstrating that no matter how challenging something may seem, you have to own up to it.
An illustrator, worth not losing sight of, not letting his inner voice leave his thoughts. An inner voice worth knowing about through the means of an illustration.