At a recent book signing I got to meet the man behind these brushstrokes, and he is as charming and lively as his work.
You've probably met him too, through his illustrations for Christian Dior Beauty, where he holds the enviable position of Artist In Residence, plus Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Harpers Bazaar and especially his iconic images capturing the gamine spirit and elegance of Audrey Hepburn.
In remarks at the event (held at Hotel Palomar as part of The Philadelphia Collectionfashion week) Bil Donovan noted that one of his first teachers told him he had no talent for drawing and should pursue another career. The comment, he said, made him "draw 24/7" and one imagines influenced his philosophy on his work: "I have a gift and I take responsibility for that gift. I don't take it for granted." I wonder what that teacher would say now to one of the most successful illustrators ever?
Thank you, Bil, for allowing me to share your work here. Top image: Birds of a Feather Shop Together by Sandra Bark, with illustrations by Bil Donovan published by Harper Design. Other images, all courtesy Bil Donovan: Audrey Big Face, Shirley McLaine, City Country, Honey's Choos.
"Use the good china for breakfast."