Sella Molenaar’s Fashion Illustrations Capture the Moment

“I love art and fashion, but most of all I love to draw,” writes Dutch fashion illustrator Sella Molenaar on her website. Based in Amsterdam, she started her career in markets and festivals and was soon commissioned by clients as big as Dolce & Gabbana, L’Officiel, and H&M. Her work – loose and intentionally unpolished – centers around strong, fashionable women. Those are drawn in simple lines and carefree brush strokes, that make for a perfectly imperfect effect.

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“My style is still very defined by the early days where I used to draw on the streets, catwalks or at events so you always have to be quick,” Molenaar explained in an interview with I Love Illustration. “Therefore, my drawings always have a sense of speed in them. I don’t sketch or use erasers but go straight for the real deal. I often make several versions of one theme and add on tho earlier drawings or take different parts from others till it will emerge into something that feels right for me. I always try to balance technique with a bit of impulsiveness. It are often the little accidents, ‘faulty’ lines  and even things that you don’t draw that make my illustrations come alive.”

Learning by trial and error, Molenaar is completely self-taught when it comes to her illustrations. “I always wanted to be a fashion designer so I went to the famous academy in Antwerp but stopped in the first year,” she says. “After I moved to Amsterdam during my masters in Art History I just desperately needed a job and decided to go draw on festivals and weekend markets for voluntary donations. Just because I was already always drawing anyway and it seemed so much more fun than working in a cafe or coffee bar. This was in a time that nobody was doing live illustration yet, so I got picked up really quickly,” she says.

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