Digital experiments

Monday, December 26, 2016

Alessia Landi digital fashion illustration glasses spectacles

Just a random post to announce to the WWW my overwhelming excitement for Santa's gift: a graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos Art, to be precise).
I have been coveting it for like 7 years (don't ask me why I never bought one, it's like that scanner thing, sometimes my brain goes short-circuit) but I very soon discovered it's much less easy to use than I thought.
I suddenly felt again like a 10 year-old kid trying to use Microsoft Paint with a mouse in Windows 3. 
So in full all-or-nothing Al style I stayed up until 2:30 AM last night to finish this drawing (note: I started it at like 10 PM).

But hey, I made it!
OK it's not perfect and honestly it looks like a lot of other fashion illustrations you can find around Pinterest and Instagram but I'm kinda happy of the result of my first attempt.
So I'll be exercising a bit more from now on and will show here the results, which hopefully will show a little improvement with time.

Oh by the way, I drew glasses because I just got struck by one of my monomanias! 
I bought new spectacles (they don't look like the ones in this drawing though) and I'm so addicted to them that I draw them, dream of them, stare at them and EVEN wear them (seriously, have been wearing contacts non-stop for like 10 years, I used to wear my old and ruined glasses only to get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening).
And the monomania is even bigger because because my lovely boyfriend was forced to buy me bought me the sunglasses from the same brand for Christmas.
Totally have to draw these two in one of my next post.

OK, I'm off to draw a little bit (with my hands, on paper).
I'm at my parents in Italy and drawing in the kitchen while my mom makes lunch, foggy cold weather outside and Christmas lights on is the BEST.THING.EVER.

Hope you're having wonderful holidays!
xxx Al

(It's good to be back in Winter! I missed it!)

The first New Year's resolution

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Alessia Landi illustration watercolor champagne new year resolution

Can you believe I've never ever made New Year's resolutions?

I don't know why.
Probably because I usually spend the first days of the year in a food/hangover coma and in general in a partial lobotomy condition on my couch, surely not thinking about productivity goals.

No but seriously, I would really like to know how many of you use the first days of the year to think about sparkling wishful plans that will bring you to a better bikini body/job/mind peace/etc by Summer holidays time.
Ah! I can see you all in your pajamas on January 2nd, day-3 hair, snacking on calorie-bomb leftovers trying to remember amidst the fog of a 2 day-long hangover (3 days if you're 30+ years old) who the hell was that guy you kissed at the New Year's Eve party.
Those girls who spend the 1st of January making lists of goals and the 2nd of January exercising in the gym and juicing to start the year with a healthy green detox exist only on the pages of glossy magazines. Or at least, if they're real, I've never met them.
If you're one of these mythological creatures please explain me how you manage to do this, because to me you're a big mystery.

(Actually I just realized I don't usually make New Year's resolutions simply because I'm lazy).

So this year I am apparently skipping my No New Year Resolution (NNYR) habit. And as a good Taurus, breaking my routines makes me feel nervous but I kinda feel good about it this time.
(and OK, technically it's not New Year yet, but 2017 is just a couple of weeks away and we're all already thinking what to wear for New Year's Eve anyway).

(in full Al style I just wrote like 300 words without saying anything yet, or better without saying what this resolution is all about. Sometimes I amaze myself with my own logorrhoea, really).

So my resolution is: in 2017 I'm going to BLOG A LOT. And DRAW A LOT.
That's it.

So what is the reason of this SHOCKING revelation, and what makes it so different from the other 2567 times I made such a statement? (I guess you can find at least 3 of these times in the limited amount of posts of this blog if you scroll behind)

Well to begin with, I really really miss writing and drawing.
I've tried meditation, I've tried being more social with strangers, I've tried to stop smoking and cut down carbs and telling myself I'm beautiful in front of the mirror every morning (I think my new therapist - who is amazing BTW - is making me become a bit of a hippie) but I still miss what would really make me happy and healthy.
I miss writing and drawing. A lot.
There is just nothing that makes me as happy as drawing does and there is nothing that gives me more feeling of completeness than rounding a drawing with a post full of random ramblings.

Secondly, I'm sooooo boooored.
I spend way too much time at work and the rest of my time doing primary biological functions such as sleeping and eating.
So what is Al's idea to counteract infinite boredom? Do something completely different.
Something that would project me into an imaginary world of colors and beauty.
Something like drawing.
(Fashion drawing, that is)

Three, I am so freaking lonely that it's even difficult to explain how lonely I am.
I'm not talking about general loneliness. I mean. I'm pretty happy with my boyfriend and my cats.
But you know, sometimes I would need to talk about those girly, frivolous little things that I used to share with my girlfriends back in Belgium in front of a bottle or three of Cava.
Since I just moved to a new city/country/continent I have just one friend here (Mari I love you <3) and my boyfriend and my cats couldn't care less (and rightfully so) about stuff like my new favourite mascara or how my diet is doing wonders...
I just need to express that light, maybe a bit shallow side of me, like I would have done in front of those that bottles of Cava.
Even if nobody will read me, I just need to tell.

And to put a very expensive solemn seal on this whole resolution thing, I bought a new Macbook Pro so at least I don't have the excuse of not having a dedicated computer to work with my art and blog and stuff (it might sound weird but I really used this a lot as an excuse lately to justify my artistic laziness to myself).

AND I also bought a scanner (can you believe I didn't have a scanner??) which allows me to scan my drawings in the comfort of my home or even my bed (yay couch potato mode, my favourite). I finally don't have to run through half city to find a decent print shop or use the scanner at my work (which honestly is quite shitty).

AND a private source told me in all secrecy that Santa is bringing me a graphic tablet for Christmas, and I really can't wait to explore digital painting (I have the big expectation of being able to paint kind of anywhere anytime thanks to this, even while I'm couch potato-ing at the end of a long day or on a plane flying somewhere for work, which is kind of hard to do with traditional watercolors, paints, papers and the whole messy shebang).

Alright wrote too much, gotta go find a nice drawing idea for this post, I'm off.

And while I am going to get that bottle of Cava tell me, what are your resolutions?
(Don't tell me go to the gym and eat healthy, because I don't believe you :p).

xxx Al

Ong Shunmugam - The Cheongsam collection 2017

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ong Shunmugan fashion illustration watercolor Alessia Landi
Illustration inspired by the Ong Shunmugam Cheongsam 2017 collection
If you're interested in fashion and you happen to move to a new Country, you're likely to check out the local designers as soon as you land (actually I did already weeks before, while I was still packing my apartment in Belgium... I've always been a good student).

The brand Ong Shunmugam (by wonderwoman Priscilla Shunmugam) is the first I found out in my pre-move Google searches targeted at discovering Singapore fashion.
I was immediately smitten by one very peculiar thing of her collections: the ability of melting traditional Asian elements and fabrics into very modern silhouettes and shapes.
This was already very evident in her previous collections (I was inspired by one of them for this illustration), but with the 2017 collection, named "Cheongsam" after the traditional Chinese womenswear, she really brought this mix of tradition and modernity to another level.
The pastel colors and the fun details such as the flowerpower earrings and the custom-made Vans sneakers added a completely different modern and fresh glow to the collection and the runway presentation.

I was lucky to be able to attend the show and visit the backstage (that's my favorite part! Gotta love backstage sketching and chatting with the models and make-up artists) during Singapore Fashion Week last October and I completely fell in love with the atmosphere Priscilla wanted to convey with this collection.
These clothes have that kind of versatility that allows you to wear them to a Chinese New Year party as well as to a meeting at work, and I would totally splurge on them if I wasn't broke because I really can see them as a staple for a woman who lives in a country like Singapore, always on a very inspiring edge between Asian heritage and Western influences.

Enough said, I leave you with a few more pics from the runway and the backstage, taken by wonderful photographer and long time blog-friend Aggie (check out her website, her photos are so beautiful!)

Ong Shunmugan Cheongsam 2017 Agnes Leong photography
In the backstage - Photo by Agnes Leong
Ong Shunmugan Cheongsam 2017 Agnes Leong photography
On the runway - Photo by Agnes Leong

Ong Shunmugan Cheongsam 2017 Agnes Leong photography
On the runway - Photo by Agnes Leong

And very quick impressions from the runway, as seen on my Instagram

Hope you liked this collection as much as I did, stay tuned for more Singaporean fashion discoveries!

xxx Al

Random fashion illustration #4: Aquazzura shoes (reprise)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aquazzura "Pina Colada" pineapple sandals - Watercolor fashion illustration by Alessia Landi
Aquazzura "Piña Colada" sandals

Because I can never stop drawing Aquazzura shoes, they're simply perfect in shape and design.

Because I'm still dreaming that one day I'll be able to afford one pair *hope springs eternal*

Because I was in a yellow period (in my illustration I often have color obsessions for a while... Like, this was from my yellow and blue period from a couple of weeks ago. Now I noticed I'm turning back to red a bit. That's so Picasso of me).

Because these shoes are simply a Summer bomb.

A photo posted by Alessia Landi (@aldraws_) on

So expect more of these Aquazzura drawings :p

Have a fantastic weekend!

xxx Al

Singapore bound!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Singapore Yoyo Cao in Ong Shunmugam - Watercolor fashion illustration by Alessia Landi
Drawing inspiration: Singapore beauty and fashion influencer Yoyo Cao, a dress by the Singapore designer Ong Shunmugam and, of course, the Singapore lion

Yep, that is what the title of this post is saying: I'm moving to Singapore.
(it's so cool when I write it like this black on white because seriously, I still have problems believing it...)

It all happened pretty fast.
I went from "Oh, yeah, my boyfriend and I sometimes talk about moving outside of Europe for a while, you know, just for a different experience" to "WTF my flight to Singapore is in less than three weeks and I still have to pack my house" in a matter of a few months.
(I voluntarily omit the daily stress bunny/freak out episodes of the few months I mentioned above...)

I still don't know why we decided to go for Singapore as experience-out-of-Europe destination, honestly.
For sure, the fact that both of us found a job there almost at the same time helped... Of course the prospect of a very juicy salary and the promise of a boosted CV were very attractive too.

But personally, the main reason is that I'm terribly curious.
Just the idea of living in a Country so different from what I've been used to for all my life is enough to make my chest explode with excitement and anticipation. The habits, the colors, the smells, the lost in translation moments, the new friends, discovering every single corner of a completely new and unexplored city... And of course also the bad things, like not being able to get used to the steamy humid heat, getting lost in the city exactly when you need to arrive in time for an appointment, feeling lonely and missing home (like desperately needing a Duvel, my favourite mainstream Belgian beer, to quench a moment of nostalgia and bursting into tears because a Duvel costs 22 Singapore dollars - yes, TWENTY-TWO = Fifteen fucking euros-)... Things that are not that bad in the end, because they're all part of the discovery and the process of getting used to a new home.
I just can't wait for all this to happen.

Also, I'm  slightly obsessed with Japan, but I never contemplated moving there for many reasons. But hey, at least I'll be in Asia! And in Singapore there is an onsen. They have some of the best ramen restaurants in the world. There is a whole Japanese food supermegamarket, sort of a made in Tokyo Eataly (if you'll be looking for me two hours after my flight from Frankfurt has landed, you can find me there *insert thumb-up emoji*).
No more hours spent hunting for Japanese and Korean cosmetics and skin care on untranslatable Japanese websites just to find out they don't ship anywhere in Europe: I'm gonna have it all there, a ride of MRT away, offered to me on inviting shiny shelves by impeccable tiny graceful smiling (sorry for the series of adjectives, couldn't pick up a favorite) Singaporean shop assistants.
There is a huge Kinokuniya, full of manga and Japanese books, where I can get lost while I wait for my wagyu dinner.

And the shopping (mostly, the window shopping)... Getting lost on Orchard Road, through the doors of Prada and the mirrors of Valentino, admiring weird Japanese designs and countless Bao Bao bags through the windows of Issey Miyake... My pain for loving fashion and not being able to afford it will reach a totally new level of self-inflicted torture. Can't wait.

What say you, I sound a bit shallow because I talk only about food, make-up and clothes? Naaaaa...

No but wait, there is more.

Let's talk about the islands of Malaysia.
Like, Pulau Rawa, just to name one. Apparently you can go there from Singapore on Friday night by a short minibus trip, spend the weekend on a white beach and in transparent blue waters and get home by Sunday night. Which means you don't even need to take a day off to be in a tropical paradise.
I can't even imagine it honestly.
I mean I live in Belgium guys. You need a raincoat to sit on the beach.
Come on...
And what about Bali, Thailand, Borneo all a short flight away...

OK I admit I'm saying all of this just to try to forget I just signed a contract that binds me to work for a minimum of 42 hours a week, with 18 days of holidays a year (might sound very normal to Americans, but for someone who works in Belgium this will be pretty hard to get used to...)
But it's OK.
I have an onsen I can go to every day.
Everything will be alright.

Now, going back packing.
Which leads me to the next post's topic (just hope the next post won't be again in two months...): how can a fashionista move to the other side of the world with only two suitcases and nothing else? If you have an answer let me know because I'm tempted to book a last minute cargo container honestly I don't...

xx Al

All the cool girls: Grimes

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grimes portrait - Alessia Landi fashion illustration

I like Grimes because she makes genius music. It's complex, but it sounds simple (except her latest album, which is a bit different than the previous). I know it's an idiot way to describe it but sorry, if I was able to describe it better I would be writing this post for Pitchfork, not for my miniblog.
It's that kind of music that only who really understands music and is able to place it into a broader context will appreciate and won't dismiss as "just some pop commercial stuff".

I like Grimes because she does everything herself, her music is 100% her brainchild (she also explains it in the video I'm posting below): she's writer, musician, producer, artist (the illustrations on her album covers are made by her), performer, stylist, marketing expert.

I like Grimes because her style is insane: it is interpreting a character (or actually, characters) and at the same time totally reflecting the craziness in her head. And as complicated as it is, still manages to be completely honest.

I like Grimes because she has an amazing way of interpreting fashion, which is the coolest side of it: play, mix, have fun, make it personal.

I like Grimes simply because she's cool. Inspiring. Evocative.
That's why I tried to make her portrait. Once again, reality is much better but hey, I've tried.

xx Al


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Alessia Landi Fashion illustration - Dior couture Fall 2016
Black & White: Dior Couture Fall 2016

When I opened this blog months ago, I promised myself to keep it up and running consistently: I know I need my creativity in order to feel complete and keeping a blog is the only way to manage to express my artistic self with a little bit of regularity.

This is all because my brain is split exactly in two halves: the scientist, rational and methodological and the artist, chaotic and imaginative. These two halves are constantly fighting with each other in the attempt of becoming once and for all the predominant one. They are completely in contrast, like black and white. But not in an harmonic yin-yang kind of way. I'd say more like a black bold capital "WTF" splattered all over on an immaculate white page.

I am a scientist for most of my day: at work; with many of my friends (well, we don't really talk about science while we get drunk sip wine at a bar on Friday night usually, but sometimes the conversation can shift towards these topics); with my boyfriend, who is a scientist too.
My artistic half is very often silenced, hidden. I hear it screaming sometimes from one side of my head "let me out!" but there is no time, no energy, too many worries... So very often, too often, I decide to ignore it.
And time passes.
And there I am, 4 months gone, no drawing made, not even a sketch. Nothing.
I find myself feeling gloomy and grey, dry, longing for my world of colors without even noticing.

That is when the alarm bell starts to ring, that is when the shouting in my head gets louder and louder, both my two halves are pushing me: "Al, wake up, start drawing again or you're going to freak out and it will be a problem for the both of us!".

I had a lot of these epiphanies in the past. The last time it happened it was a month ago, when I accepted a commission (the results will be soon on the blog, but you can already check some of the drawings in my Instagram feed :) ) so I was "forced" to draw again after a few months of inactivity.

Despite the crazy deadline (20 drawings in 10 days, or better, nights. Gotta love challenges...) and the performance stress, while making these drawings I felt like liberated: my head was freely roaming in a world of colors and shapes, finally abstracting from all the issues and worries that every day are keeping my head too occupied and messy (those of you who suffer from generalized anxiety will understand what I mean...)
My drawing moments became almost meditation sessions.

At the end of it all I was exhausted, but also proud to have made the deadline and completely re-energized: I had defeated, if only for a while, that horrible clash in my head and I was feeling like my two halves were reunited in a much more balanced type of black and white. Maybe not as balanced as yin-yang yet, but at least not as in contrast as before.

I don't know if I will ever reach a permanent equilibrium, honestly. My psychologist used to tell me my two personalities will probably always be in a fight and the struggle to reach the almost-impossible goal of making them get along perfectly was damaging me. She always suggested I should rather accept it, and try to live with it.
On one hand, she's right. But on the other I feel like when I am drawing everything is at peace again.

And here I am, promising myself once again to keep it up with painting as regularly as I can. I don't know if it will work as well as I hope, there are major life changes on the horizon (I'll talk about this soon, but I can already say it involves moving far far away from my beloved Belgium...) and at work the situation is never quiet, but I'll do my best... I feel like I owe it to myself, like a healthy diet for my brain.

Wish me luck.

xx Al

Lesson learned (or "of Google and break-ups")

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fashion illustration watercolor by Alessia Landi - Al Draws
There is a lesson I learned the hard way, after my (in)famous break-up.
And, after a conversation with my sister about this topic, I promised myself as a New Year resolution: never forget this lesson.

But to tell you what this lesson is I'll have to start from the beginning.

So what is the main thing you do in the months days after a break-up? I'll tell you: Google.
It initially happens because you realize that your friends and family will shun you and never talk to you ever again if you dare to ask the same question for the 346676564th time.
So you turn to Google.
"Because Google will know what I have to do, Google will KNOW what is gonna happen."
And then it becomes an addiction.

So this is more or less the history of google searches in the first month after a break-up (or a divorce).


"how to overcome break-up"

"will he change his mind after break-up"

"should I text my ex"

"what to eat when you don't want to eat"

"methods of suicide"

"suicide helpline"

" how to make him regret break-up"

"how to find new boyfriend"

"too much alcohol after break-up normal?"

"how long break-up pain lasts"

"single after 30 will I ever get married"

"break-up desperate help"


The outcome of all this is to basically prove you that every self-help website is telling you the same obvious stuff (find a hobby, see your friends, go out to find someone else. Wow, genius!) and the only effect of visiting Oprah's website compulsively is just to make you feel like everyone else is so good at handling their traumas and getting their shit together except you.

Long story short the leaves are falling, the snow is coming, the birds are singing: a year has passed and you find yourself still googling stuff like:

"do I need therapist after break-up"

There must be something wrong here. There must be something very wrong when after a year you're still treating damn google like an oracle and source of all wisdom.
After three years a while I realized what was going wrong. I realized why I couldn't find peace and I needed to ask compulsively my friends, my sister, my mother, my aunts, my grandma, my dad, the bottom of my empty glass of wine AND google the same questions over and over again.

And the reason was: I needed a solution. But there simply was no solution.

I needed a solution to feel good fast, because I was surrounded by people and situations that were constantly telling me how I should feel better already, how I shouldn't be selfish and think only about my pain, how I should always put a smile on when I'm at a social event even if I the only thing I want is to burst into tears and scream that it's not fair, how I should behave at work like nothing happened because otherwise it's not professional.

So I needed a quick and easy fix to make myself acceptable from society again and to find a way to make the pain slightly more bearable.
And google is so good at quick and easy fixes.

But no. It doesn't work like that.
There is one thing that no google link will tell you, and it took me three years of therapy and painful conversations with my inner self to realize it.

That is the lesson, probably the biggest I've learned, and somehow I hope that you, unknown girl who is googling "how to overcome break-up" will stumble upon this page and will read this.
Dear unknown girl, I hope that this will help you to save the 40 euros a week I spent in shrinks and spend them in shoes the real important things instead.

The lesson is: you have to allow yourself to feel like shit. Simple as that.
You don't have to google how to feel better because there is simply no way to feel better so soon. And you don't have to. You have the right to feel as bad as you want in the ways that you feel more suitable for you and as long as you need. 

We live in a society that makes you feel like you have to be perfect all the time. A society that makes you feel like you have to please everyone around you with your amazing abilities and extremely well developed savoire faire: your parents, your boss, your friends, the friends of your friends, the attendees of a work meeting, your colleagues... A society that at the first sign of stress or sadness pushes you to look for a psychologist, a yoga course, a cat cafe' for pet therapy and three new hobbies to keep yourself busy. This is a society that doesn't even contemplate the concept of "recovery time". It's a society that, basically, doesn't allow you to feel like shit.
And the worst part is, we are so used to this mentality that if we do actually feel like shit (which is actually very human and natural and healthy) we feel guilty .

The key is to remember one very simple thing: something bad happened to you, you are ENTITLED to feel bad about it.

That's it, this is the lesson I learned, and I feel like it will help me a lot in many other parts of my life and in my next break-ups (yep, I'm totally Queen Optimism).

Less Google, more acceptance of my weaknesses. And a little patience.

And happy New Year everyone :)

xx Al

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