“I have been drawing since I was about 4 or 5, at least, that’s her earliest memory and I often got into trouble for drawing on the insides of book covers! I moved on to portraiture at age 16, branching out into fashion by 18. My illustration idols were George Stavrinos, as well as Maxfield Parrish, Erté, Gruau and Alphonse Mucha.
I’ve been an advertising layout artist and an art director for 2 major department stores and a full-time illustrator for a publishing company. I’ve done illustrations for books, magazines, web sites, religious candles, posters and clothing. I draw both digitally and traditionally and often combine the two.” – Susan Tait Porcaro
What should everyone know about you?
STP: It has been one, fabulous long and winding road. I’ve drawn everything from fashion to zoo animals!
How would you describe what you do?
STP: As a fashion illustrator I bring the designer’s vision to life. I also see fashion illustration as an art form and have some framed on my walls.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
STP: I’ve been drawing since I was a small child and drawing fashion since about 14-15, fascinated with the way fabric folds over the human figure.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
STP: Drawing all the time, went to school for fashion/commercial illustration. BFA Commercial Illustration. Keeping portfolio updated, trying new styles and keeping up with designers.
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
STP: The best part is a happy client and the most challenging
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
STP:A genealogist – I’m a huge family history buff.
How did you get started in design?
STP: After art school I worked at an ad agency as full-time illustrator and i really did draw everything under the sun.
What do you like about what you do?
STP: I love the creative process: when something I’m not so sure of suddenly clicks and I think “YES”!
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
STP: I just sit down and draw a perfect illustration in 10 minutes. Its such a process. That’s a whole other conversation about service fees and why illustrators deserves to be paid fairly for what they do!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
STP: Drawing, drawing…i’m also a fine artist and exhibit my work
What sparked your interest in design?
STP: See answer to question 3 : )
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
STP: I had one hyper-realistic style back in the day. As time passed, I discovered I also loved to create sketchy styles and it took off from there. Letting my imagination run free is a liberating experience!
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
STP: socks/sandals, leggings are not for me. Personally, I try to dress comfortably…but with style
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
STP: Technology has added such so much to my work – I’ve worked in Photoshop for over 20 years and have expanded to Illustrator, which I love. I enjoy learning something new each day.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
STP: I was afraid to ask for advice or help – for some reason i thought i should know what to do already. I’m not afraid anymore. No one is born knowing all the answers! That took a long time to sink in! I also discovered i work really well under pressure! ?
What advice would you give to young designers?
STP: Go to a good art/design school or at least one with a great program. Do your best, if you don’t know, ask questions, get answers. Don’t wait for the answers to come to you. Watch and be inspired by other artists. Don’t copy, create YOUR work. Keep drawing!
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
STP: Just to keep drawing. I love my work.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
STP: No, not really superstitious. Rules to live by: be honest, do the right thing, be kind – the industry can be brutal but don’t lose who you are.
What’s your motto?
STP: It’s never too late to do what you love. Sparkle while you’re here!
Other (feel free to tell the readers anything about you that we didn’t ask)
STP: My fashion illustration career was put on hold while I did commercial illustration for advertising and publishing companies for many years and then being home while I raised my 3 sons. Just when I had convinced myself no one wanted fashion illustration anymore, about 6 years ago, a friend saw that a designer was looking for one. What a revelation! I had to update my portfolio and I’ve been going non-stop. I’ve had some incredible client gigs and look forward to each and every one!
I created the Art of Fashion Illustration group on Linkedin in 2008 thinking I’d get maybe a couple of hundred members….we’ll reach 10,000 members by the end of the summer!
Learn more about Susan at StylePortfolios.com