The serendipitous effects of painting fashion

September 5, 2012

Carol Ryder is a freelance illustrator, specializing in fashion, beauty and lifestyle illustration, as well as portraiture – all a result of her obsession since childhood with drawing faces and figures.

Trained as a fashion designer at Northumbria University in the U.K., Ryder went on to establish herself as a successful womenswear designer, exporting her own label collections worldwide from her base in London’s fashionable Kensington. Throughout all this, Ryder’s love of fashion illustration never diminished, and in recent years she has shrugged off the mantle of fashion designer in favour of that of illustrator, an occupation that she now juggles with lecturing in both fashion design and illustration.

Ryder’s illustration techniques vary, but the majority of her work is executed in a loose watercolour style, often blended with photography.

“I enjoy the serendipitous effects that can be achieved by allowing the water and colour to do their own thing,” she says. “Then contrasting these loose effects with the sharp realism provided by photographic images.”

In recent years, Ryder’s fascination with faces and the variety of ways they can be depicted has led her to produce increasing amounts of portraiture work, including several “textile portraits” which, alongside her illustration work, can be seen on her website. These complex textile pieces combine the relative immediacy of computerized embroidery with traditional hand-stitching, while the reclaimed fabric “canvases” reflect her concerns with the environment and issues surrounding sustainability in fashion.

In this feature, Ryder has created several illustrations and artworks exclusively for FAJO and has also shared some of her never-previously-published pieces!

To view more of Ryder’s work, visit her website at, click Like on her Facebook page to receive updates on latest illustrations or follow her on Twitter.


One Comment »

  • jill o'neill said:

    woo hoo you go girl x so proud of you, well done xx

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