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Sarah Darby creates dreamy fashion illustrations.

“I have always loved fashion – so I thought if you are going to draw, then draw what you love!”

Welcome to Mamamia’s art endeavour, the Voulez-Vous Project. Every week we celebrate emerging artists, designers, illustrators, creators and cats who dress like their owners (not joking). Our aim: to help the internet become a slightly more beautiful, captivating, or thought-provoking place by making art accessible.

To find out more about the Voulez-Vous project, click here. Click here to see all the previous Voulez-Vous posts.

Until a couple of years ago, Sarah Darby worked in Marketing. She loved her job, but after having her second daughter, she wanted to keep a career going, but felt the need to pursue something different. And that something different has resulted in beautiful, bright and bold fashion illustrations, which are quickly gaining a loyal following.

“I used to love drawing but stopped when I was about 16 as I was trying to focus on good grades at school. I had been afraid to pick up a pencil for years, for fear of not being quite as good as I remembered! I did a half day fashion illustration course that I found at CAE, and it just felt right,” Darby tells me.

“I have always loved fashion – so I thought if you are going to draw, then draw what you love!” Darby explains.

From there, Darby enrolled in artist Angie Rehe’s ‘Patsy Fox Drawing School’ for evening classes, and was inspired by Rehe’s talent for putting pen to paper and creating magic. Rehe taught her about fashion illustration, and introduced her to different media and how different artists interpret illustration.

“But more than anything I think my biggest out take from her lessons is that there is beauty is everything. She will walk around the room and celebrate the difference in each person’s work and she has taught me to do the same. I have learned to trust myself and learn how to draw my way. Like anything, it’s not for everyone but if you are true to yourself then you are on the right path,” she explains.

“It has been practise, grit, determination and learning to be brave and put yourself out there! I’m finding that the word ‘no’ does not scare me in quite the same way I thought it did in my twenties,” she says.

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Darby is equally inspired by the clothes on runways at Fashion Week as she is by jeans and a white tee.

“I have been told that my style is very ‘accessible’ and I take that as a compliment. I think that it probably comes from my belief that fashion should be for fun for everybody. Everyone deserves to feel like a work of art. My other influence would be my girls. I think my drawings subconsciously tends to be sweet rather than provocative. Maybe that’ll change when they have all grown up and are shocking me!” Darby says.

Darby tells me that her process is quite fast, and prefers to work with pencil and water soluble crayons. I can see why too, they suit her dreamy aesthetic to a tee.

“It’s a battle to keep my kids away from the crayons – they are expensive. But a five and two and a half year old couldn’t tell the different between them and set of Crayola. I have learned the hard way to put my work away at the end of the day. I have had to redo a few commissions as the girls like to ‘finish mummy’s pictures’.”


As for her dream project? She would really love to illustrate a jacket for both Kate Moss and Margaret Zhang.

“I think they are both incredible. I loved Zhang’s personalised leather jacket that said ‘ Go Zhang Yourself’ at NYFW. I’d love to see Kate Moss with an awesome illustration of her across the back of her Burberry trench! So if Burberry read this… I’ve got the paint, if you’d like to bring the trench?”

But for now, Darby is working on her collaboration with Shoes of Prey (a brand where you can literally make any shoe you like), by illustrating a series on Instagram posts for them. She has some exciting projects coming up, all of which are hush hush for now. So watch this space.

You can follow Darby on Instagram, and find out more about her and her incredible work on her website.

Do you know an artist (or are YOU an artist) who creates beautiful or thought-provoking work and whom you think should be featured on Mamamia’s Voulez-Vous Project? Send an email to [email protected]mamamia.com.au.

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