ABOVE: Michal’s work as a travel, fashion and lifestyle illustrator

INTRO BY NICKY SUMMER: “London based artist Michal (pronounced Michelle) Kedourie first came to my attention when I spotted one of her lifestyle illustrations on social media and was struck by how similar it looked to a snapshot I’d had taken at the same place, in the same spot, at the same time of year and at exactly the same angle (see below). The perspective, colour and tone all demonstrate how Michal can precisely capture the ambience of a theme – whether it’s a palatial chateau, gourmet delicatessen or gorgeous designer label dress. I got in touch, we chatted, I interviewed her and the following is the result! Here’s the background to a very talented artist…”

ABOVE: Michal’s interpretation of La Maison Rose in Paris; Nicky Summer at the same spot

NS: ”I love the delicate approach you have to your illustrations; it seems to capture the vibe exactly. Are you self-taught or did you study art?”

MK: ”My older sister is a genius in art and as a child I wanted to be just like her, so naturally I was always drawing and creating; I took art for GCSE and A-level and continued on to an Art Foundation course at The Art Academy London. From there I thought I needed to be a bit more practical so I actually pivoted slightly and completed a BA in Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Art, UAL. I graduated right in the middle of the pandemic and was lucky enough to land a job as a Junior in a marketing agency. The job was so not for me… I guess it didn’t help that I was working remotely, everything was being done from home in tandem with people I’d never met before, and all of us working across different time zones. I realised that I had gone down the graphic design route for all the wrong reasons… I was trying to fit myself into the wrong shaped box, so it just wasn’t working…”

ABOVE: An illustration titled ’Versailles’; the Palace of Versailles at dusk

MK: “Around this time I finally caved in and got Instagram, which is when I discovered the world of illustration. We’d had a course on illustration running alongside ours at uni, but I didn’t realise the scope of it at the time – seeing successful illustrators on Instagram really opened my eyes to what I could achieve as well. This discipline suits me perfectly because it fuses everything I love about fine art with everything I learned about Graphic Design and branding. So ‘officially’, I’ve only been an illustrator for about a year to one year and a half…”

My illustrations are used to accompany magazine articles, social media content, personal stationery and for live event work…”

Michal Kedourie, illustrator

ABOVE: La Duree, Paris; a fancy gateau illustrated by Michal

ABOVE: Michal illustrating a dress by ‘Needle & Thread’

NS: ”How do you choose your topics?”

MK: ”I follow quite a lot of photographers/visual storytellers that showcase their cities in a beautiful way. My camera roll is full of screenshots! Whenever I see something that calls to me to draw it, I save it for later. That can be a storefront that has a brilliant floral arch, a delicious looking cake, or a dress that I find gorgeous and I know will translate well into a painting. I usually follow the seasons, and my aim is to keep more up to date with current events, and put my own spin on them…”

NS: ”Which season inspires you the most creatively, if any? Personally, I love Spring/Summer in any major city – when everything is coming back to life and there’s warmth in the air…”

MK: ”That’s a tough question! I would say anything that showcases that special thing about the season…. so, that may be a snowy scene, or a general festive vibe; autumnal reds and oranges that come off the page; blooming florals in spring and summer. If I did have to choose just one, I do have a soft spot for a good floral arch and anything pink – so to answer your question – like you, I’d choose spring and summer! Plus the lighting is usually good in order to capture my process. As for locations – it doesn’t really matter – beautiful architecture calls out to me wherever it is! Often I’ll go somewhere in real life and then later I’ll find a photographer’s version of it and draw it half from memory and half from a reference image…”

NS: ”What is the market for your work – is it event organisers or fashion brands that make up the majority of your client list?”

MK: ”I’d say it’s a 80-20% split between private clients and brands; I’m commissioned for anniversary or wedding portraits, house portraits, wedding stationery, and for decorative art around the house. My first ever brand commission was for ‘The Covent Gardener’ magazine which felt like a full circle moment, because their editor-in-chief gave us a talk in my first year at uni and since then I’ve been interested in everything they did. To create for them has always been a goal, and they were so lovely throughout the whole process! For the privately commissioned work, the illustrations are mainly ordered as gifts for family and friends, or to enhance a happy occasion such as weddings and festive events. I love the fact that I get to be involved in someone’s special day in such a visual way – yet I’m anonymous… sometimes it feels a bit like being an undercover spy/superhero – I’d like to think so anyway! Getting positive feedback, not only from the client but by the end recipient as well is the best feeling and just affirms that I’m meant to be doing what I’m doing, and that knowledge carries me through the days when nothing seems to be working – because they definitely do exist!”

NS: ”You have a very light-hearted demeanour and sensitive approach to your work, and you’re also great with people so I’m sure live event work would be a good angle for you…”

MK: ”Wow, that’s so kind – thank you! Yes, I would love to develop live event work – so, that would mean 15 minute portrait watercolour paintings of the guests at any event; I’ve had some work in this area recently and I would like to do more – perhaps for store events, weddings, etc. In general, the wedding market fascinates me and I love the thought of my work being used for a full wedding suite ie invitations, thank you cards, menus, place settings and more…”

CONTACT MICHAL: Instagram @michal.illustrator

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