The Day Escada Called (well emailed)

Melbourne beauty illustrator Kelly Thompson packaging illustration for Escada Paris Born in Paradise

So what's it like when a big fashion brand emails to say they want you to work for them? The morning I received the email titled "Escada" in Nov 2011 was one of my most memorable career moments yet - reading the email asking me to pitch against five international artists had me so excited I then proceeded to jump around the house naked like a crazy person (I had just stepped out of the shower). Winning the pitch after four months was a whole other wave of excitement and emotions (I'll share this with you in a following post).There is nothing comparable to the feeling that all of your hard work has finally paid off, and after many years trickling through the internet and on pages of books thanks to bloggers and press your work has been noticed. I have been holding this project secret for more than two years now, when I disappeared from social media for days and appeared to have no news it was most likely because I was burning the midnight oil working to Paris time on this project. There have been so many moments when I have wished to drop little pieces of imagery, or tell press in interviews, and now that I can I feel a little lost as to where to start, this project has by far been the biggest of my career to date and now that I take a moment to look back I feel overwhelmed with happiness. 

It is with much pride that I share with you Born in Paradise the new fragrance for summer 2014 by Escada!

Melbourne beauty illustrator Kelly Thompson for Escada Paris Born in Paradise packagingMelbourne beauty illustrator Kelly Thompson for Escada Paris Born in Paradise packaging

I need to mention that the team at Grey Paris were fantastic to work for, I dealt with many people throughout this project and they were all exceptionally friendly and considerate. Often when working with large agencies you feel like just another cog in the wheel, but this was never the case with Grey, both their Paris and Melbourne branches have delivered my best working relationships so far. When I was first approached to pitch for Born In Paradise it was November 28th 2011. At this time I was working as an Account Manager/Producer at The Jacky Winter Group, and to be honest I was counting down the days until my Christmas holiday in Byron Bay, but when a luxury brand comes knocking holidays can wait, this was the opportunity I had always dreamed of. I was invited to pitch against five other artists and the pitch was to run through December and January with each artist developing one idea for the client. I was supplied with a moodboard, keywords and imagery for inspiration, along with the information about how the packaging would work. The image created had to look attractive from all sides of the box, but it also had to work across various other media and applications such as magazine press, various online banner sizing, P.O.S displays in stores, and merchandise - a lot of things to consider when planning one image!

Prior to Christmas 2011 I submitted five ideas, I've decided to share them with you below, they're kind of embarrassing as I am a terrible rough sketcher (preferring to finish and tidy everything) so please forgive me for my visual sins. I accompanied these sketches with notes about my thoughts and references to my previous work - in the hope that my words would make sense of my sketch mess.  Note to budding illustrators words are very helpful if you're a crap sketcher, words and references, load them up.

Yes it is possible to work full time as an illustrator and still be crappy at drafting.

At this point an illustrator was eliminated from the pitch, I'm not sure if eliminated is really the best word, but with each round someone left and I can tell you that the anticipation of the results was one of the most stressful parts of the project, there is nothing like wanting something so bad, but having little to do with the decision of if you move through. It's tricky when you have no idea what anyone else is submitting, no knowledge of if you're good or completely off the mark.

I mentioned earlier that we were each to develop one idea, the client decided they liked two of mine, and so I was asked to develop my "Menagerie" and "Nude" sketches adding a few more elements, a swimsuit, and more wildlife. I'm still not sure if the other artists worked up two too, but I was then asked to move in to draft colouring and spent my time in Byron masking away frantically for delivery by Jan 2nd (yup, up until 3am on New Years Eve..having a computer party). Here are a couple of my other drafts, I wont show you all the project files I just counted and I have 187 in total, excluding any research imagery!

After the draft process Christmas break was over and I returned to work at Jacky Winter, not quite as refreshed as I had planned to be after a Christmas break, but pretty enthusiastic to have made it through a few revision rounds. Over the next couple of weeks I worked until 6pm at JW and then would race home to pitch on Paris time in to my night, you can probably imagine my exhaustion, but it was still thrilling to be doing something I loved. My girls had numerous face transplants, smile adjustments, nose jobs and palette changes, I have become the ultimate plastic surgeon!

Melbourne Illustrator Kelly Thompson WIP illustrations for Escada Born in Paradise perfume

At the end of January/ early February the pitch was completed, it had come down to myself and one other artist. I thought about who this other artist was quite a lot, wondering if I knew of them, and about what they submitted. I knew they were feeling exactly as I was with fingers and toes crossed, I was keeping my karma in check and hoping that I could somehow adopt mind control techniques over the client (you seriously think crap like this), I wanted it more than I wanted anything before. I eagerly (and fearfully) waited for the agency response, and on March 20th 2012 I got the most exciting email ever - I had won the pitch and would be moving on to develop the S/S14 packaging for Escada Born in Paradise…I cried, danced with the dog and prepared to get really busy!

 

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