In-Focus: Poli Lovi Fashion Portraits

POLI LOVI is a Costa Rican designer and illustrator, producing pieces inspired by fashion, photography and portraits.

Using a signature duotone aesthetic, Poli Lovi has been commissioned globally. We interview her to uncover the secrets behind her craft and her advice for producing captivating portraits.

How would you define your style – you appear to use a mix of techniques to create your handmade digital artwork?

I would describe my style as a bubblegum ice cream with dark feelings insight, and although I really enjoy digital illustration I’m constantly exploring other techniques, mostly using bright colors and combining them with moody portraits. Rather than the techniques or the beauty, for me a portrait is all about emotions, and how you get to express them through an image of a person.

For you, what defines a portrait?

Illustrations let the artist go beyond the physical characteristics of the subject and therefore we are able to create beautiful images that express the essence of the portrayed person. Maybe the biggest difference between an illustrated portrait from a photograph is that you don’t depend on the mood of the subject, you can always give it your own feel.

What tools or techniques can you share about the process of building up layers of colour / tonality to evoke specific atmosphere, mood or emotional response?

When I’m making digital artworks I tend to use very few brushes, usually just two, or three tops. I do this because it gives a different character to the illustrations through rougher brushstrokes that generate an important difference from hyper-realistic portraits.

Additionally I like to use high contrasts in order to make important features stand out from the composition that helps me to attract more attention to the eyes and sight of the subject, which for me is the most important feature. I’m really attracted to bright and pastel colors and my color pallet is usually composed with duotones which help give a specific mood to the portrait, mostly to evoke femininity.

Facial features, specifically the eyes can capture a mood, a feeling – revealing depth within the subject of your portraits – how do you use facial expressions for dramatic effect to connect with the viewer?

I like my illustrations to have deep expressions, that each portray a personality, a glance can tell a whole story and I really enjoy when spectators can see this in my illustrations. I like using high contrasts to generate a more dramatic environment in my work, just as film noir used to do.

Finally, please offer a working tip on how illustrators can use specific tools or techniques to create a portrait with impact?

My recommendation would be to find your own style, your voice, your own way to express what it is you want to communicate and this often goes side by side with finding the technic the you feel the most confortable using. It is important to keep in mind that this is a long, yet very enriching, process. It is also important to always keep exploring and renewing yourself in order to keep getting great results.

Always keep exploring and renewing yourself in order to keep getting great results.

As you might already have heard, eyes are the way to the soul, and that’s why I like to start my illustrations by making the eyes first, which is the key part in generating an interesting mood in the portrait. Once that’s done, the rest of the illustration is easier to create. Get your hands dirty; experiment and get out of your comfort zone in order to find your voice.



Posted on Aug 8th, 16 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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