Renowned fashion illustrator Gladys Perint Palmer on drawing what she loves
Her pen has never stayed still in the last four decades or so that she has been sketching. What started off as fun lessons with her mother (an artist herself) has made Gladys Perint Palmer one of the doyens of fashion illustration, working with top designers like Valentino Garavani and Christian Dior. The executive VP of artistic development, at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University, is currently on a seven-city tour of India, to meet educators and students. Her next pitstop is Chennai. A video presentation in hand—introducing the academy, and with alumni interviews with successes like Rajiv Chilaka, the creator of Chhota Bheem—she says she will also give live drawing demonstrations.
“I draw very fast, but I write slowly” is the acclaimed artist and author’s favourite quip, and she has proved this time and again. Her visit to India last year saw her sketching women in Chennai’s temples and tourists at the Taj Mahal. “I love drawing people, preferably with interesting (never cute!) faces,” says Palmer, who had unknowingly sketched Sonam Kapoor at a Paris Fashion Week, when she’d spotted the actress sitting in the front row. “The most important aspect of my drawings is the line, along with colour. And so is humour,” she adds.
At home with both paper and digital—she uses everything from pens to eagle feathers and ink droppers—she admits she loves her iPad and its Paper53 app. “It has one advantage. I am completely invisible when sketching in a crowded place because everyone is using a pad or a phone,” she shares. But she feels even to use an iPad successfully, it is essential to draw well. “It lays the foundation of design. Life drawing, perspective, colour, blind contour drawing, etc, are all part of the process,” says Palmer, who is getting ready to work on two illustrated books once she gets back home.
Sunday, at Taj Coromandel, from 4-6 pm. Details: 66002827
—Surya Praphulla Kumar