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Gerardo Larea

Making art out of art Gerardo Larrea makes cartoons fashionable, literally.

Fashion: illustrated

Ian MacKintosh talks to Gerardo Larrea to find out more about this Peruvian artist’s distinctive style


PERUVIAN FASHION STYLIST and illustrator Gerardo Larrea of The Illustrator Files caught our eye with his whimsical drawings of the latest fashion trends and collections.

His passion for art started young. As a child, his parents would provide him with colored pencils and paper to colour at family gatherings to keep him from getting bored. The result: Gerardo sketched everything he saw and eventual enrolled in art classes such as drawing, portraits, human figures and painting courses at school. At university, he studied graphic design and put illustration on the back-burner to launch a clothing line with an associate, a collaboration which led to their creation of a styling team, Larrea + ChoyKay. Larrea has been working with his associate for the past 10 years under the company, but when asked to illustrate fall and winter 2011 collections, Gerardo realized his love for drawing had been awakened.


What led to the start of your blog, The Illustrator Files?
In 2000, I started to illustrate again. My style was not very defined but I was published in local magazines and worked with some clients. I then set the illustrating aside, waiting for the right time as I think I needed to mature a bit. A few months [later,] an associate who has a fashion blog asked if I was interested in illustrating the fall–winter 2011 collections and I said yes. I created five illustrations and really loved how they turned out! I had never tried to represent real collections before and while I found recreating some textures and fabrics difficult, I enjoyed doing it.

At that point, I decided it was time to illustrate again but with a more defined and mature style. Knowing that I really enjoyed representing designer looks through illustration, I started The Illustrator Files. I have had the files for some months now and am very happy with the reception from inside and outside of my country.


How would you describe your style of illustration?
I would describe my style as fun, colourful and sometimes a little sarcastic. If I had to use one word, I would say dynamic. I like to play with colour, using a graphic style with thick liner, flat colours, and to just give detail or texture to some of the fabrics. My characters’ features have a special shape of eyes, nose, and hair. I like for them to always have a twinkle in the eye, be very stylized and to interact with each other.


What is your creative process?
The idea of each illustration comes from a different inspiration, sometimes from a song, a particular situation, something that crosses my mind and sometimes the collection itself. I usually write ideas in a notebook and then develop those ideas. But before that, I research the collections, review the photos and look at the details of the looks. Sometimes I spend hours deciding which look to choose. Of course, these are my personal views but I try to respect and reinterpret as closely as possible of what the designer has presented in the collection.

I make the first stroke when I have a definite idea in my head and improve on the illustration while working on it. I find all the details such as the shoes, purses, and type of make-up and hair to be important and am careful to keep those details.


How are you able to balance your styling work with time to illustrate?
Well, I wish I had more time to devote to both equally. Sometimes I have to find the time to illustrate! The good thing is that both my professions have to do with fashion. I do not like routine and want to vary each day. I once read something that I always try to apply to my life: ‘Life is too short to live for two days the same things.’


Are you going to add more drawings of the menswear collections to your blog?
Yes! I love to illustrate menswear! I like to illustrate both men and women. I began the blog with the spring summer 2011 womenswear collections and then decided to add some men. Right now, I’m preparing illustrations of the spring summer 2012 menswear collections from Paris and Milan. I’m developing sets of three or four characters wearing different designers.

I also recently illustrated some of the beauty looks from the men’s Paris shows for my friend and renowned make-up artist Sergio Corvacho, who does special grooming reports for a blog in México.


What is next for Gerardo Larrea in 2011?
I have several projects that I’d like to do but the immediate one is to illustrate the men’s spring–summer 2012 collections from Milan and Paris, and then the women’s fall–winter 2012. I am selecting designers and looks to illustrate. I am also working with a local magazine to illustrate their fashion section. The interesting part of this is that the section is on the history of fashion and my next project will be Queen Elizabeth, so I can’t wait to begin that one! I have several projects in my country but I would like to start doing illustrations for other countries and international magazines. In 2012, I would love to have an exhibition of my work! •



Ian MacKintosh is a guest correspondent for Lucire.


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