On Friday, I was lucky enough to meet with Katie Rodgers, the fashion illustrator behind the wildly popular blog Paper Fashion. I first found Katie through the gorgeous watercolor drawings of gowns at the Met Ball she did for Refinery 29 this past spring. When I went to her website to look at more of her work, I realized that about half of the pins on my “Illustrations” board on Pinterest are by her.
I dream of painting like her someday. I love how she takes delicate subjects and renders them in such a beautifully loose, organic way. Her work strikes a balance between dainty and bold that really strikes at my heart.
Drawing by Katie Rodgers for Refinery 29. Photo from Pinterest, @michellephan.
We met at Cafe Sabarsky, a wood-paneled gem on the Upper East Side. The handsome room for ladies-who-lunch was a perfect spot to sip drinks–her a latte, me oolong tea–and talk about our mutual love of fashion illustration, blogging, and working as an artist in a rapidly changing creative market.
Today, Katie is at the head of a quickly growing Paper Fashion empire. Beyond the pretty paintings and whimsical Instagrams is a tech-savvy businesswoman who’s utilized quickly growing online platforms to build a massive following. The key to being successful online, she explains, is maintaining a consistent, genuine voice across all platforms.
Like her work, Katie’s online voice is whimsical and luxurious. Through her posts, she aims to give readers a glamorous escape from everyday life. That got me thinking. What’s my voice? What do I aim to do with it?
A lot of bloggers like Katie are successful at creating an escape. Fashion Toast and Peace Love Shea come to mind as two other examples–awesome blogs whose authors don’t give a single care about looking as if they live in the same world as the rest of us.
I need that inspiration, and I have so much respect and appreciation for the girls who can create it. But I can’t. Young adult/college life is hopelessly messy, I’m an anxious person, and some weeks I’m lucky if I get myself in the shower three times. I just ate a large order of McDonalds fries all by myself and I’m currently trying not to look at a mountain of laundry lurking in the corner of the room. There’s no way I could convince people that I make green juice smoothies for breakfast or that I’ve washed my hair recently.
I’m hoping that the “realness” on this blog will be an asset (?). The clothes will always be affordable, the DIYs doable, the advice applicable, the stories relatable: in short, my voice is one who doesn’t quite have her shit together, and is kind of okay with it. I think there’s a place for a voice like that, because there must be other people who are just as lost as I am. Maybe they want to talk about it, or at least see that there’s someone else out there who has no freaking clue how to be an adult.
That mix of voices–mine, Katie’s, Rumi’s, Shea’s–is what makes the blogosphere so amazing. We’re all lucky to have so many creative, intelligent, unique voices to look up to, and lucky that every voice can be heard.
What’s your “role model” blog? If my blog could be any blog, it’d definitely choose Paper Fashion!