Mens’ Boutique Illustration Art Process

There were 2 weeks to come up with a gift idea for the boutique owner I work for during my “half days”. I was thinking what could be a better way to create a self initiated commission project.

It is a small men suits boutique where I spend a part of my every day and so I am familiar with the look and feel as we stylise and create an atmosphere there for our customers.

We were talking about a promotional idea earlier to create framed decoration out of acessories we sell. That was the initial motive for my illustration.

The Environment Mood

Before thinking of the illustration subject I stood in the middle of the shop and tried to realise what is that the owner loves so much about the goods he sells. What his passion is about and what was he thinking when he chose the place and lighting to display the products in its best light.


Boutique Inspiration

Desired Result Variations

Although the goal was clearly a framed illustration artwork as a gift I still needed to find a good proportion and suitable look for its purpose.

The first idea was three frames of small illustrations that could be placed horizontally or vertically as needed. The reality showed that in our area there was no suitable size and we didn´t have time to order them. So we looked for another options and found a photo frame with a mat for three images.

Subject and Composition

I decided for black and white charcoal drawing similar to that I have experience in. It is great to express a luxurious feel and capture a mood of a reflected light.

With this in mind, I chose a satin bow tie, leather shoes and a belt which was later excluded from the composition because as showed it was already too much to draw three objects in this medium with the detail it deserved.


Styling the objects in the display lights was something I really enjoyed. It is different perception from looking at them on the shelf than through the camera lens trying to capture the best reflection and shadows it creates.

It was perfect for the style I wanted to achieve.

Drawing Progress

Although I had previous experience drawing this kind of realistic subject I found I enjoy to dive into an unexplored topic and work with the use and purpose. Also it lead to my focus on the tools for future work. Trying to work with graphite and the difference of lighter tonal value range.

Couple of weeks later I asked about how the artwork fits in the office and I found that it now hangs on a wall at home of the owner as he wanted to keep it for himself as a private artwork.

I feel this is a success in the value I was able to create.

This project was fun to do thanks to the personal contribution at the end, finding new ways for inspiration as well as a spark for further work.

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