A tennis legend meets a fashion illustrator, and this is the result!!! Above is a private commission, recently completed, for my friend Carl. Whilst chatting over a coffee back in the summer, Carl decided now was a good time to invest in a Sarah Fuller Original. Alas it was not to be a straight forward, traditional fashion illustration. Carl wanted tennis; and Rafa Nadal (a hero of his) was the subject & the medium was to be a large, painted canvas. End of brief. Carl trusted my artistic endeavors. We decided upon the main pose/Rafa figure together, and brainstormed visual references in regards to the tennis player. Then I was flying solo. I knew I wanted it to be very masculine, and the colour palette was to be warm, to reflect his country of origin. I proceeded with a very graphic, block colour background, which allowed the figure to push forward. The strong lines compliment the more painterly and sketchy lines of the figure, which creates a pleasing aesthetic dialogue, and also showcases my two distinctive illustrative styles.
I really wanted to sneak some leopard print in the painting, but settled for a detailed black and white check stripe instead, to break up the two dimensional palette. More of a Grand Prix reference than tennis, but it works. It creates an awkward stripe of movement, away from the sketchy figure. I love a bit of the awkward or the uncomfortable in an illustration. The faded fleur-de-lys are a nod to Carl, and seem slightly out of place in the picture, but yet the overall idea, of introducing pattern fits in well. Reproducing an image of a popular figure, is always a gamble, but I feel I achieved the likeness spot on, with young Rafa. I am pretty pleased with the finished piece, which stands proudly at approx 40 X 60 inches. I will miss Rafa now he has gone, and thank you Carl for pushing my boundaries… Happy Tuesday X