Today we are keeping up with the super talented Nigerian fashion illustrator, Okhai Akhigbe, whose design series have stirred quite the frenzy in our ever evolving fashion planet. Without any formal education, he is on par with the best in his field and is one of the most sought after fashion illustrators in Nigeria. Here, Okhai sheds more light on his future projects, motivation, favorite designers and creative process.
- When did you start to be interested in fashion?
Well I lived among fashionable people, family and some neighbours, but I really began to have an interest in fashion after high school. Before then I used to do random art, but I was encouraged by one of my neighbors who worked in a fashion house then to try illustrating fashion. I fell in love with it!
2. Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process when starting an illustration?
I spend time going through fashion shows and editorials (some of my sources of inspiration). I decide what subject to focus on and work from there. I start off with a pencil sketch on paper most times. I scan and brush it up digitally.
- How long does it take to complete a drawing?
Pencil sketches don’t take long. I spend most time painting and creating layers for the illustrations. The more complicated the illustration or pattern is the longer it takes.
- What makes a successful fashion illustration for you?
Good use of proportion and creativity in bringing the illustration to life.
- Are there any fashion illustrators you admire?
I admire Shamekh Bluwi a lot. He is absolutely amazing.
- Who are your favorite designers?
- What motivates, inspires and influences you?
I’m motivated and influenced by a lot of things, fashion shows, editorials, people, art, photography and so on.
- How do you infuse your Nigerian background into your work?
My style of drawing is strongly influenced by my background. This would explain my continuous use of prints and vibrant colours, because the diverse cultures in the country have shaped how I have come to see and interpret fashion.
- Your illustrations are colourful. What is your approach to color? Do you follow a color scheme or just follow your instincts?
I usually just go with my instinct. Except a client requests for a particular colour or pattern in their brief.
10. If you weren’t able to do what you do now, do you picture yourself doing something else?
I’d probably be a sniper! Lol. Okay seriously I’d probably be practicing building technology which is what I studied at university.
- What are your plans for the future?
Big big plans!! More editorials… Exhibitions. And hopefully billboards.
Written by Yejide Erogbogbo