Beirut’s Rising Talent Adorns Diet Pepsi Cans…And More to Come…

Illustration is one of those remarkable skills that we all wish we could have, but the talent required to create fantastic, and often fantastical, designs to captivate the imagination is rare. Lebanese illustrator Sandra Bakhamian is an artist on the rise, since 2012 her illustration career has been on the up and up and recently she’s designed illustrations which now adorn two limited edition Pepsi cans, with four others on the way.

A special collaboration between L’Atelier C by Cherine Khadra and Diet Pepsi gave way for Lebanese illustrator Sandra Bakhamian to share her creative talent with everyone… In our opinion, it’s the chance of a lifetime and we’re lucky to have Sandra be a collaborator on FashionRepublik – watch this space…

But now let’s meet the lady behind the illustrated talent…

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Tell us about you Sandra, how did your career in illustration start?

I studied hospitality management at AUST, but always adored drawing. So whenever I could, I would draw. I have been drawing since I was a little kid, and I’ve never really stopped. When I got older I discovered just how much I like to illustrate fashion.

It’s crazy how fast things are moving since 2012, when I first posted an illustration on social media, I never actually thought that I would be able to do what I love for a living.

Do you remember the first thing you sketched?

Three years ago, I drew the fashion blogger Lana El Sahely, and posted the illustration on Instagram, she loved it! And so the adventure began…

What does fashion mean to you? How would you describe a fashionable woman?

To me, it’s about creating something classic and timeless, it means also having confidence! Without confidence in your clothes, the clothes end up wearing you!  And a fashionable woman is someone who’s strong, sexy, confident, yet sophisticated and classy: A woman that has attitude!

Who do you work with?

Today, I dedicate all my time to drawing fashion illustrations for bloggers, fashion designers and luxury boutiques. I work with L’Armoire de Lana, Une Libanaise a Paris, L’Atelier C by Cherine Khadra, Santiago, which is one of the biggest billboards I’ve ever done, CityPages Kuwait magazine where every month illustrations of different cities are printed, Abir Achkar Fashion House, Beauty Slip Kuwait, Pearl and Rubies and Trend de Moi by Nermine…

 interview red and fuschia

Is fashion illustrated in different ways? Can you tell us how?

Many techniques are used for fashion illustrations, but the most important thing in this business is to have your own style. I have some trouble in finding my own style (I’m still evolving, after three years), but I noticed I’m getting better at it. Illustrations can be drawn on Photoshop, Illustrator, 3D programs, and sketching by hand. And yes, I do things old school! I think an illustration looks much more interesting with less tinkering on Photoshop. Did you know that Karl Lagerfeld still hand sketches everything?

I like to experiment with different styles and different products such as mascara brushes, lipsticks and so on, but I also like to keep areas white in my illustrations. That’s one thing that’s clearly my own style. But I’m still swinging between black and white sketches, which is what I do best, and a more realistic style.

interview black and white

One creative must-have is a pencil and a fine liner. I draw everything with them! They’re definitely the most important things on my desk. The latest addition to my toolkit, are Copic markers, they have changed the way I draw.

Inspiration can be unexpected at times, but my work is mainly inspired by vintage finds, old photographs, Parisian streets, magazines and loads and loads of coffee!

 interview pepsi

Your recent collaboration with Atelier C and Diet Pepsi. Tell us how that happened…

Diet Pepsi, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, teamed up with a designer for the first time. I’m so happy to be part of this amazing project and I’m proud that it started in Lebanon, and especially with L’Atelier. C.

When it was published a couple of weeks ago I cried tears of happiness!

I met Cherine three years ago, we’ve done many collaborations and I love working with her. One day, she rang me in the middle of the night and told me she just came up with a new idea: A limited edition can for Pepsi!  We worked so hard on the illustrations and since it was the 50th anniversary of Diet Pepsi, we wanted to celebrate it in a glamorous way. The character illustrated is Cherine, the dresses are by L’Atelier. C and even Gaston (the cat) became famous! We’ve been working for more than two years on this project. The launch took place two weeks ago during the inauguration of L’Atelier. C.

Last but not least, four more designs will come out next month!

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What’s next on your plate?

2014 was a phenomenal year for me! 2015 is here now and already some amazing things are happening! Some projects that I have been working on from last year will come out this year and I look forward to the many opportunities that are coming my way. I’m working on a new range of products, from scarves to lingerie and more.

And this is just the beginning…

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