Sabine Pieper: The Technique


Copyright from: 02/12/14

I was firstly drawn to Sabine Pieper’s work because of the mixed media used throughout her illustrations. As you can see, the headwear in the image above looks as though it has been photographed and worked into the illustration, from having experience in photography and illustration I was eager to combine the two. The end goal of this project is to produce a fashion illustration that has my own style, the process in getting there involves dissecting the technique of illustrators I find inspiring. The part I have always found quite difficult in fashion illustration and I feel makes up a lot of the character, is the face. I decided to learn the technique bit by bit and start by learning how to draw the features.

Sabine Pieper’s work is quite sketchy and defined, there is a lot of shading to make certain features stand out such as the eyes, check bones and lips. As well as shading Pieper leaves parts light creating a cool contrast from these darkened areas, the light also makes certain features pop as seen again in the eyes, lips, neck and collar bone. I am quite a sketchy illustrator, I love working rough on things and using shading to create depth and definition. I sketched the eye with pencil in the style of Sabine Pieper to understand how she works, documenting my changes as I go along. I always thought that Pieper had used Photoshop to tweak her sketches due to the striking impact they had along with a professional finish, when I scanned in my sketch, in comparison it was very light and lacked that fierce edge. I took to Photoshop to correct this and grasp how Pieper used computer aided design to enhance her work.


To achieve this I switched my workspace to painting and tested some of the brushes I thought would match the tone of the pencil sketch. I went with the Flat Fan High Bristle Count and selected a dark shade of grey to begin with changing the opacity and shades to achieve the shape and depth I wanted. As you can see in the first image, I simply scanned my sketch in and you can see the crinkled page as the background, for a clean cut background I selected the Brightness/Contrast icon at the bottom of the side panel, selected curve and adjusted it until I was happy with the result.

Sabine Pieper illustration taken from

Stay posted for my take on photography and illustration…
Emma ♥


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