Sketching a Bora Aksu beauty in the color of the season, this happy accident is one of my favorite drawings ever. London, I love you.

To clarify, all sketches are made live on-site at shows – I don’t revise them after.

After Spring in New York, I felt burnt out. Losing gigs shook my confidence. Was it worth continuing this live sketching journey after so many seasons? With so many talented young sketchers (shout out to Mara Cespon who out-draws me), gaining access and standing out grew more difficult, not easier. After four NY seasons I felt uninspired; my last portfolio seemed flat, though with highlights. I fantasized about finding new subjects in LA.

But all that worry meant nothing. After a broke NY return, deadlines and events poured in. I became a Globe and Mail columnist. 2014 did a 180, my most financially successful year yet. Suddenly I could go back to Europe, dreamt of since leaving – to London and Paris!

I’ve given myself 10 years in fashion illustration, with two left. I’m too deep to quit now. So, golden Pencil in hand like a talisman, here I am back at London Fashion Week.

I’m focusing on happiness in drawing, applying meditation practices – letting go of fears and anxiety. Allowing inspiration to flow through me, just BEING at fashion week. Though the least meditative space, I treat the runway as a shrine where beauty is my mantra.

At Jean-Pierre Braganza, a front row aisle seat and sympathetic security guard gave every advantage. I surprised myself with three beautiful successive sketches in my first watercolor show – not stiff at all! Braganza fully envisions his world – makeup, music, all emerge from his imagination into a gorgeous escape, even for minutes.

Someone captured me bopping to the music, totally lost in beauty, unaware of looking silly. That’s exactly right – the best creative state!

I lost that at Jasper Conran, in rough shape with a coughing fit pre-show. Seeing fashion illustration godfathers David Downton and Colin McDowell, I felt compelled to approach though unsettled. Both wanted to see my work post-show. Less relaxed, I only managed one good sketch, a fading belief visible in the toe. Needless to say, I didn’t chase them afterwards. Not about fairy godfathers this week.

Live Runway Sketching at London Fashion Week

See that purple? It’s everywhere this season – a girly gothic aubergine.

My biggest ticket was Pringle of Scotland, a small out-of-the-way Hyde Park venue with few standing tickets, myself included. Standing means iPad sketching. I drew campaign faces Stella Tennant and Anna Freemantle pre-show. Two beautiful, mature, distinctive models. I captured the new narrow-shouldered, below-the-knee shape.

Tuesday, my first access to Topshop at Tate Britain, for Michael van der Ham. This first fur-trimmed gown sketch hints at his collaged textures and colors.

Another London Fashion Week Done

The winning sketch – a romantic deep purple dress with white appliqués, in the color of the season again.

Also at Topshop – anticipated Ashish. I seized an aisle spot but got seated just before, losing the entire lower half of the show. Missed the red over-the-knee boots that would have greatly changed sketches.

Instead I focused on the perfectly imperfect hair and beauty – vari-colored like the furs, studded with sparkles, red lips, hoops. Ashish has a wonderfully bad-in-the-best-way young, smart attitude that comes through.

The season’s final show, a return by Hakaan Yildirim. In line, I met graduating fashion sketchers, talking shop. Inside a great standing spot and hello to my old security guard friend, who’d seen a competitor of mine – wonder who she is!

Yildirim’s models were tied at the neck, simple chignons offsetting complex surfaces. A big green coat with black X’s – the final sketch.

One of my favorite live runway portfolios ever. Thanks to all who helped with access and inspired me. Never more Paris-ready…this season’s just begun!

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