With influences like Lisa Frank, Super Mario and My Little Pony, you know you’re in for a colourful ride with the young Australian illustrator Fionna Fernandes. Based in Sydney – the city where she grew up – she draws distinctive portraits for clients in fashion, editorial, advertising and more. Each work has a touch of fun to it as she selects a key detail to highlight, such as the lips on a model, or her eyelashes. These extra flourishes of pattern and colour lend Fionna’s work a style of its own.
Fionna’s career in creativity started back when she was little. She doodled all over her schoolbooks, and when she couldn’t do that she sculpted little animal characters out of Blu-Tak. The 90s, Japanese culture, and the artists Laura Callaghan, Hattie Stewart, Kelly Smith, and Kelly Thompson are just some of her influences. At the moment, her dream is to go to the original Disneyland in California.
Fionna has a bachelor degree in Design in Visual Communication from the University of Technology in Sydney. All the elective courses she took were focused on illustration.
Using Photoshop to add colour, shading and distinctive highlights to the images she draws, Fionna also combines digital and hand-generated marks. She uses an Artline pen for her line work, and acrylic paint to come up with the light-hearted patterns that she often uses as backgrounds. Recently, Fionna has been experimenting with collaged backdrops and adding stickers to the compositions, enhancing the mixed media feel.
Playful, fun and energetic, Fionna’s work usually features female models in fashion scenarios, but she’s just as adept at depicting men, and animals too. There’s a youthful flavour to her aesthetic, and she enjoys drawing attention to certain aspects of the female face – the eyes, lips and hair – using brighter colours and patterns. This gives her portraits a unique feel and some extra punch.