Esra is inspired by pop-culture, she has over 61k Instagram followers and has been doodling since she was a child. WGSN Beauty Assistant Emma Grace Bailey reports
At WGSN we have the pleasure of working with many talented and interesting people – and so when we get the chance to shout about them we do. Today we’re highlighting the beauty team’s fabulous illustrator Esra Røise who works to bring our seasonal colour forecasts to life. Based in Oslo, Røise, 35, has a knack for creating truly lifelike representations with a fun and frivolous edge. Combining line drawings with splashes of watercolour and digitally achieved twists, she’s inspired by everything from pop-culture and fashion to awkward moments and life’s seemingly unimportant everyday situations.
We caught up with her for a quick chat.
Tell us about your background in illustration.
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl I have found extreme joy in drawing, I could zone out and just doodle for hours. Now – some thirty-odd years later – I still do that, but I am fortunate enough to call it my job. Besides drawing as a hobby all my life, I have two years of formal training from the Einar Granum School of Art, and a BA in Visual Communication from the Academy of the Arts here in Oslo. I create illustrations of all sorts, but my roots are in fashion illustration where I get to combine my two loves, fashion and drawing.
How did you develop such a distinctive style?
I’ve always been drawn to (no pun intended) realistic drawing, and the pencil has been my favourite medium since the beginning, so it was natural to combine the two. I don’t really know how the style came about, I just did what felt natural with the mediums I loved, and the style naturally grew from that. Since fashion is something that interests me anyway, my drawings naturally gravitated in that direction.
What method(s) do you use when creating your imagery?
I love the combination of the precise pencil and the unpredictability of ink and watercolours, but I always enjoy experimenting with different kinds of mediums (like acrylics and collage) to evolve within my style. The juxtaposition of analog and digital fascinates me, so most of my work is a combination of the two.
What are the best projects you’ve worked on and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a wide range of exciting projects within my career so far. The fact that I get to collaborate with so many exceptionally talented and creative people really is one of my favourite perks about this job. The trend reports for WGSN are always such a treat to do, because you get to take a peek into the future of the industry.
I’ve also had the pleasure of working with brands that I’ve been a fan of for many years, like Vogue who I’ve created beauty illustrations and mini-editorials for. Another favourite was creating an online campaign celebrating the launch of Stella McCartney’s Superheroes collection last fall. The collection itself was so inspiring and playful which made it a very fun project to work on
What’s the illustration dream?
To keep working with designers and fashion houses, and to exhibit more of my personal projects, but first and foremost to be able to keep doing what I do.
It makes me feel extremely humble, and very lucky, that I get to do my favorite thing in the world for a living, and that it pays the rent (and buys the occasional fancy shoes).
Like this? Follow Esra on Instagram here
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