Bil Donovan, Springtime in Paris, 17 x22” inches, gouache, graphite, brush and ink on watercolor paper

Bil Donovan, Springtime in Paris, 17 x22” inches, gouache, graphite, brush and ink on watercolor paper

Bil Donovan: The ‘Prolific and Esteemed Fashion and Lifestyle Illustrator’

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Whether it’s drawing straight from the runway to drawing a catalogue of illustrations for Vogue Italia, Bil Donovan is always in style with his fashion and lifestyle illustrations.

Bil Donovan is a driven, NYC fashion and lifestyle illustrator, artist, author, educator and spokesperson. With a client list that includes Vogue, Bergdorf Goodman, Vanity Fair, Neiman Marcus, and The New York Times to name a few. His work demonstrates and is most commonly known for, as The Art Students League of New York says that Donovan’s work communicates, “…the essence of glamour, luxury, and style.”

His unique style and ways of emphasizing beauty in fashion and all it has to offer, are well-respected and considered iconic artworks that give his name positive recognition. To quote Donovan in an interview with The View magazine, “I have a fascination with the figure, and use it in my personal work as a metaphor for life experiences to create work that is emotional, expressive, raw and dark, the antithesis of my fashion where the ideal is beauty.”

Bill Donovan’s gouache painting, Springtime in Paris, reflects the beauty and elegance the season of spring has to offer using the figure as a representation for all women. This all-encompassing quality also reflects the placement of flowers in a way that feels like the wind is spreading the pedals to all of us. Taking a closer look, each flower is not made the same. Each flower is of a different shape or size, some of the same color, some not, but in doing this, he is communicating coexistence amongst differences found in nature.

To go along with his floral illustrations taking the form of a dress, are the various little shapes he created out of different colors to encapsulate the astonishing, sharp-edged, and detailed structures of the Eiffel Tower. Each section Donovan created manages to be mimicking the inclusive construction of the dress. The skinniest pieces of the tower resemble that of an interlocking backbone that flows and ends into much bigger and progressively looser concept. This allows the viewer to access the connectivity of the composition of the artwork much easier. The eye follows the start of the curves of the towering flowers on the tree branches, continuing towards the top and bottom of the structures of the Eiffel tower, and ending all the way down to the bottom of the free willed, spring-seasoned look of the woman’s flowy and detailed dress. Altogether, Bil Donovan’s artistic fluidity amongst Springtime in Paris, allows the viewer to observe his love of figure fascination, expressivity, emotion to the point where in which it becomes a beautiful concept.

—Enya Cirillo


Enya Cirillo is a graduating high-school senior at the Buffalo Seminary who plans on attending SUNY Buffalo State for her undergraduate major in Fashion and Textile Technology with a concentration in Apparel Design and Fine Arts. Her other accomplishments include completing and being a part of two full summers of student internships through the New York State Summer School of the Visual Arts and being one of 25 high school student scholarship recipients in the US to receive a full scholarship to participate in a photography expedition trip to Switzerland and France through National Geographic.