A new book from illustrator and pug enthusiast Gemma Correll offers readers the chance to keep a fashion journal where their own drawings sit alongside Gemma’s charmingly simple creations.
We caught up with Gemma fresh from drawing at the Pick Me Up show at Somerset House, London to find out more about the book.
DA: So what made you want to do What I Wore Today?
GC: "Originally, it was a personal project. I enjoy documenting my (pretty mundane) life in images and annotations, whether it's the things I have seen, overheard or eaten. I'm not hugely into fashion but I can appreciate a well put-together outfit, so I enjoy looking at street style blogs.
"One day, while drawing in my sketchbook, I decided to combine these two ideas and draw my outfit. I posted the result on Flickr and it was quite popular, so I set up a group where other people could do the same thing and submit drawings of their outfits. The group grew in popularity and became a blog, too. I am particularly interested in interactive books, so wanted to create a journal, which the reader could fill."
DA: What was your creative process for producing the elements for the book?
GC: "I looked at the Flickr group and blog to see how different people approached the drawing process – which clothing items they decided to draw and how. I wanted to keep the book as open to interpretation as possible, while providing pointers and simple templates, so I initially concentrated on drawing some basic templates and writing prompts.
I also wanted to include a range of drawings by artists from the Flickr group, to show that there are lots of different drawing styles and no right or wrong way to illustrate, so each chapter starts with a selection of these drawings [such as work by Lizzie Stewart and Giovana Mederios, below].
The book is arranged by season, so it can be started at any time of the year. I also included some smaller doodles of my own, including a few of my Pug Mr Pickles, who is always a popular character."
DA: How important is doodling to being creative?
GC: "I can't speak for everyone, but for me it's essential. I get nearly all of my ideas from doodling in my sketchbook. It's my favourite part of the illustration process. I don't think you can make a meaningful 'finished' illustration without some kind of thought process informing it and creative people generally think visually: which means sketching, doodling and writing down ideas and inspirations."
DA: Is the book being about doodling designed to open it up to the widest possible audience, as with doodling there's no emphasis on being technically correct with your drawing?
GC: "Exactly. I wanted the book to be accessible to absolutely anybody, of any age, size or sex and of any drawing ability. It's not meant to be an 'art book' - it's a fun, interactive journal. I also didn't want to put any emphasis on 'Fashion' with a capital F, or shopping (which I don't enjoy, unless it's in charity shops).
"I've included tips for buying second hand and customising and making clothes and accessories (as far as my limited skills will allow)."
DA: How did you end up with a Finnish version? Can you tell us anything in Finnish?
GC: "There are a few foreign editions – there's a German one too. I don't know how to say anything in Finnish unfortunately, but I know that they have very nice candy there because a friend sent me some recently... Apart from that horrible salty licorice stuff. Yuck."
DA: What did you wear today?
GC: "Today, I'm wearing my usual uniform of a stripey T-shirt and jeans, and a lot of dog hair."