10 Questions with Lily Duk
We are delighted to interview the very talented Dutch artist Lily Duk. We love her beautiful signature drawing style. One year ago she was discovered on instagram by the world famous make-up artist Pat McGrath and now her illustration is shining worldwide on the unlimited make-up line by the Pat McGrath Lab. You go girl!
Hi Lily, great to have you here!
1. Tell us something about yourself.
I was born and raised in Amsterdam where I still live with my fiancé, cat and dog. I love good food with a nice glass of wine. I love to joke around but my drawings don’t really show any humour, which is odd if you would know me.
2. How did you get started as an illustrator?
I have been drawing since I was little, if you would give me some paper and a pen I was a pretty happy kid. I studied fashion communication at the Utrecht school of arts where illustration was one of the subjects. After I graduated I didn’t draw a lot for quite some time, about six years. I just picked it up as a hobby a few years back when I also started a online shop with a friend selling products by young designers, and my business partner wanted to sell my drawings on there too. I didn’t think anyone would be interested but they were our bestseller! The company didn’t survive but my passion for drawing did, and before I new it I was painting and drawing every day.
3. How would you describe your style?
I think the women I draw have a sense of melancholy and strength in their eyes. I use a lot of different mediums and I am not afraid to get messy, so sometimes in one painting I use ink, soft pastel, watercolour, fineliner, gouache, promarkers and acrylic paint. They all have a different outcome and my style changes per medium. I try to not make them to “pretty”, I want the beauty to be seen in things that are less obvious.
4. What’s your technical/creative process?
Sometimes I just start drawing with zero reference, but most of the time I get inspired by a photograph and start out with bold uncontrolled lines, keeping my pen to the paper as long as I can. Then I start colouring with either watercolour or gouache. When I have the basics covered I start with different materials and filling in the details. I also make black and white illustrations where I only use Indian ink and some watercolour. I can tell by the first few lines if it will be good or not. If not I toss it to the side and start over. Sometimes on the back of the paper which is dumb, because sometimes that becomes a really lovely illustration but I can’t sell them because there are ugly scribbles on the back.
5. Who or what inspires you and your work?
I mostly get inspired by fashion photography and runway shows. I love crazy make-up and unconventional beauty. And interesting face can keep me going for a very long time. Like now I just want to do a series of studies on Lorna Foran, she looks like someone who just stepped out of a Botticelli painting.
6. Which brands do you work for or do you love to work for?
I have worked with the famous British make-up artists Pat Mcgrath (who has been called the most influential make-up artist in the world by Vogue magazine) which was amazing! My illustration is now featured on several of her lipsticks and sold all across the US. I have always loved her work especially with Steven Meisel. I’ve also worked for Vulkan Magazine and Mess Magazine. I also get quite a few private commissions, which are extremely rewarding because people are so grateful and it’s quite personal.
7. What is your favourite thing in the world to illustrate?
Women, it’s just what I naturally start drawing when you give me a pen.
8. What’s your dream project?
Well working with Pat McGrath was absolutely a dream come true. But I would also love to work for a big fashion magazine or brand. The collaboration between unskilled worker and Gucci is something I absolutely love and I think more and more brands are opening up to illustration and not just photography.
9. What 3 things can't you live without?
My Animals (even though they are not things) my phone and all my art supplies.
10. Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists?
Well I am still a little aspiring myself. But if you really want this you have to put in the work, this will not just happen overnight. Also keep true to yourself; it can be difficult not getting swept up in what you hope people might want to see versus what your heart tells you to create. It can be quite a process finding your style, but it’s ok to experiment and try different mediums and styles it only makes you better in the end.
Do you want your own Lily Duk on the wall? Lily is offering all the I LOVE ILLUSTRATION readers a special December discount of 20% just use the code ILOVEILLUSTRATION at her shop