Dominic Evans – “Freelance Illustrator, Part-time Model and Full-Time Fabulous” and I caught up to chat about his newest book ‘MAP MY STYLE’, inspirations, relationships, Quiffs and of course, fashion.
Gents listen up! ‘MAP MY STYLE‘ is the perfect gift for the fierce ladies in your life who have a passion for all things fashion. Valentines Day present? BINGO! Exam treat for your sister? SORTED! Glam Gran’s Birthday Present? BOOM!
Visit the DOM&INK website to have a look at his amazing illustrations and treat yourself in the shop to a few gorgeous things!
Hi Dom, first question we’re taking it back to the very beginning – Is drawing something you have always enjoyed or is it a talent you realised later in life?
I’ve always loved drawing since a child! I drew every single day and always wanted to develop it. I used to photocopy drawings at my school and sell them for 20p each. One was a Spice Girls one which was a bestseller! Made at least £2.40!
Entrepreneurial from a young age, I like it! I definitely would have bulk bought your drawings…I was OBSESSED with the Spice Girls. My friend and I used to learn the dance routines and make our parents sit and watch us twirl around in the living room. Who was your favourite? Mine is a tie between Posh and Baby!
No way. Ginger ALL THE WAY!!
When did you settle into your unique illustration style?
I think it kind of naturally occurred. I have a lot of different drawing styles but the one I use the most and am asked to use is my more fashion one. I think when I lived in Brighton and studied my MA it kind of happened over the year and the style became more, erm, stylised!
Do you know what the first thing you drew was? Apparently mine was my family (Oh what a darling child!) which quickly developed into anything and everything to do with The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid.
Mine was Cinderella. I was obsessed with her up do and her glass slippers. I remember drawing her with loads and loads of shoes. She had like 20 feet and looked like a centipede. She was a Cinderellapede.
This sounds like the strangest and most wonderful version of Cinderella ever. Copyright it QUICKLY. It’s destined to be the next Sharknado type film. With gorgeous shoes, LOTS of gorgeous Lucite heels and a leggy blonde.
Who needs ‘The Human Centipede’ when you have Cinderellapede!?
Your first book “Map My Heart” helped me massively through a difficult break-up , by giving me an imaginative and creative output rather than crying and gorging on Ben & Jerry’s (my thighs and I thank you!). How did you come up with the idea for the book?
Wow thank you. That means a lot! I’ve always been fascinated by relationships and dating and wanted to explore that in a more creative way. I really wanted to do something interactive and it all really came from there! I drew and wrote things I either overheard off friends or went through myself.
Have you completed the book yourself?
Yes, both books I planned, illustrated and wrote. My publishers Huck & Pucker are very helpful though as they go through each draft I submit and tell me what works and what doesn’t. I think it’s really important to have ‘fresh eyes’ as sometimes you work so long on something you’re not sure if it’s turning out ok?!
That’s great you’re able to do that with your publishers. I know what you mean; sometimes you really are your own worst critic. The amount of times I have drawn or designed something and it hasn’t seen the light of day! It’s great to ask someone else to take a look and make suggestions.
What is the best advice you could give someone going through a break-up?
For me my best advice was to take each day as it comes. One step at a time and remember you’re not gonna feel this shite forever!
Very true. I would say try to keep occupied and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and love you. It’s ok to feel upset but it isn’t going to get you anywhere – Dry your eyes, back comb your hair and pull on the shiniest pair of shoes that you can find!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
REJECTION IS GOD’S PROTECTION. I flog that quote like no tomorrow but it’s SO true. My mum told me that after an awful break up, and to this day I say it to myself when it comes to anything that goes wrong in life. Everything happens for a reason.
That really is great advice. Thank your Mum for me; I’ve never looked at it in that way.
I think the two best pieces of advice I have been given, one you mentioned is ‘EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON’ – The older I get, the more I see this happening. Nothing is ever wasted, there is always a lesson to be learned in and from people and situations you find yourself in.
The second best piece of advice from my Mother is ‘IF YOU BUY CHEAP, YOU GET CHEAP’ – Again, this applies to all sorts of things (mainly clothes) Like, you can’t expect to buy a £10 pair of jeans and expect them to be hand crafted in Italy and last you 10 years. It just doesn’t work that way…
Exactly! However due to budget I am totally a buy cheap, wear cheap, wreck cheap, buy cheap again…
What are your thoughts on Social Media’s presence in a relationship? Do you think it’s a good thing or bad thing?
See this is interesting as I deleted all social media for about 3 years. It used to make me feel anxious logging on and seeing pictures. No matter how many times to ‘unfollow’ a person you’re bound to look at a profile. I love social media for the fact I can promote my books and work to friends and contacts with my official Dom&Ink pages but I do like to keep quite private. My timeline is mainly book photos, photos of me with the book, photos of the books in shops, me wearing sassy clothes, photos of the book, dinosaurs.
I have gone through purges on Social Media. I’ve had two relationships break-up with Social Media playing a large part in that. I believe that it really is a wonderful thing for people to be able to connect for work, blog, get inspiration etc but it’s when it starts to take over your life and you can’t go for a meal with someone without them checking their phone every 3 minutes. That’s just pretty insulting. I quite enjoy letting all my notifications build up overnight and then check them on the train in the morning and look EVER SO POPULAR flicking through 200 Instagram likes…
I totally agree. For blogging and connecting it’s great! I like to mix my Instagram up a bit to show pics of my work and me as I learnt in a social media seminar last year to show more of yourself as if not you can alienate your audience a bit. Other than that ‘airplane mode’ is my favourite thing, I love turning my phone off and just picking up a pencil to draw or a good book!
What has the general response/feedback been from your readers of ‘Map My Heart’?
It’s been really positive. I wasn’t sure how readers would take it, as to be honest when it came out in November 2013, there wasn’t anything really like it. I wanted the book to be dark and tongue in cheek but also be that best friend you need when you go through any relationship or dating drama. I still get readers email, tweeting or messaging me saying that it’s helped them! And it means a lot! Makes me want to go all soppy and give out group hugs.
Your latest book ‘MAP MY STYLE‘ is out now and is part fashion journal, part style guide and part outfit dilemma-solver. How did you make the jump from matters to the heart to matters of a women’s wardrobe?
It’s weird because Map My Heart was still kind of in my brain after it had been released and I had a lot of further ideas. Huck & Pucker and I came up with ideas for a second one; I don’t want to name them because if there’s a third it could be one of those! Map My Style came quite naturally. I’ve worked in women’s wear retail for over a decade and have experience in visual merchandising so I understand the need of a good statement jacket teamed with a good pair of jeans. You hear me sister?
Where do you begin when coming up with the idea for a book and making it a reality?
It’s quite a quick process. I normally do some demo spreads where I pencil out ideas and get some writing down. Then I’ll share these with the publishers. They’re very good with me because, to be fair I just then go off and write, plan and do the whole book and come back to them with it! It is tricky planning pages though, there are 144 pages and I had a whole wall covered in thumbnails so I could remember which spreads went where! I’d wake up at 3am and be like ‘SHIT I FORGOT A CONTENTS PAGE’
Would you ever do a men’s fashion journal?
Absolutely! I think it’s something I’d look at. Originally MAP MY STYLE was both men and womenswear. However, it’s difficult to do a book on both and I felt I had more experience with women’s styling to fill a book with. I would love to develop something with menswear in mind!
There’s a section on ‘Fashion Themes’ in the book, I would say I am part Clean-Cut and part Queen of Rock. Like a Librarian by day and dancer in a bar by night. What theme/s do you identify with?
I’m probably more Queen of Rock by day, then Geek Chic at night where I go home, put my Star Wars jumper on, read comics and doodle on commissions all night. NERD ALERT!
Is it wrong in the ‘Want and Need’ section of the book that all of my wants are actually needs? Like, I really need transparent boots from Hunter… What’s on your Want/Need list right now?
I share this same problem Michael. Everything is NEED, NEED, NEED. But then I find checking your bank balance and seeing how far off pay day is , is always a good reality check. Okay so I really WANT more suits. I just bought a premium streetwear suit from Topman that has a collarless blazer and tailored joggers. I teamed with brogues, slick back hair and a white tee and I literally want to wear it every day. So now I WANT that same suit in another colour and more suits in general. However I really really realistically NEED…..new shoes for work and jogging clothes. yep.
That outfit sounds slick. Put up 20 selfies immediately #BusinessBitchRealness
You’ve chosen an array of 16 key-pieces for every woman’s wardrobe. How did you come up with this edit?
I found that having worked in visual merchandising, that helped inform me on my go to pieces. For example when I’d style mannequins or window displays I’d think about what I’d use most often to put outfits together. It is a bit of a different capsule wardrobe to what you would find normally. I wanted it to be stylish yet not too on trend as fashion can date easily!
What are your ‘Oh now, wait a minute honey’ don’ts?
One word: CROCS
I have another: UGGS
What are your key wardrobe pieces for men? (Maybe 5 styles?)
1 – DECENT SKINNY JEANS – Ones that fit your leg. I have chicken legs and mine are super skinny, but I think a good pair of skinny or slim fit jeans can take a guy places.
2 – BIKER JACKET – If I ruled the world everyone would have to own a biker jacket. They dress up any outfit. want to marry my biker jacket. Honest!
3 – A GOOD SUIT – Like a stylish, directional one. Not a boring C&A number, like a good suit you can dress down with boat shoes and a tee or up with a waistcoat and an oxford shirt.
4 – STATEMENT HAT – A good fedora can do a lot for an outfit. You can keep it the outfit super basic and have it all about the fedora, or pork pie hat, or trill by. Actually no, maybe not a trillby. But I do love a good pork pie hat!
5 – CHECK SHIRT – A good check or tartan shirt. I find Topman and H&M do decent ones. A shirt you can have open with a vest in summer with short shorts or buttoned up, fitted and teamed with those slim fit jeans you wear 24/7.
All fantastic choices! I am with you on the Biker Jacket. I had an amazing one from ALLSAINTS that I had for about 6 years and I wore religiously. Sadly, it ripped under the arm one day as I leant over to pick up my bag. I have never gasped so loudly and thrown such a tantrum. I have reluctantly purchased a new one, but I still feel the loss…
You never get over your first biker!
Who are your style icons?
Princess Leia as she’s awesome. Definitely James Dean and Marlon Brando. I love the way their hair was perfect, I loved the biker teamed with skinnies all that vibe. I’d try to emulate them but I’d be a hot mess!
It would be interesting to see you translate a look that is part Princess Leia and part James Dean… Metallic Bra and 501 jeans. VERY 90’s!
How many ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ lines have you drawn on your Trend Graph. I think at the moment I have about 6 from what I can remember of trends gone-by. I went through a stage when I was about 16 of wearing waistcoats and rosary beads with v-neck t-shirts. Don’t judge me, I’ve learnt my lesson!
SO MANY LINES! Do we have all day? White skinny jeans, DUNGAREES (not on trend ones, gross ones), TIMBERLANDS, Deep deep deep V neck tops and really bad fake leather coats. Not good fake leather, like SHIT FAKE LEATHER.
We’re both a firm fan of the quiff, what do you use to get yours so perky?
I use this amazing pomade called Sweet Georgia Brown. I swear by it! It’s a wax with a sticky hold and smells like honey. Sometimes I am tempted to eat it. That, a blow dry and some Silvikrin and I’m disco ready baby!
Thoughts on quiffs on a lady?
Why not! The best quiffed gal I’ve seen is defo Pink. Pink’s hair is always good, also J-Law ala Oscars 2014.
That quiff was faultless! I also quite enjoyed Rihanna’s little stint of the quiff.
I love Topman as it’s right near my work! ASOS and then mainly charity shops. I get all my jeans from Primark women’s mainly as because I doodle all day they get covered in ink and crap. So I buy posh ones elsewhere for other occasions. If money was no object I’d shop at The Kooples and Whistles as some of their stuff is so dayum fine. Other than that I do love charity shopping as you can find great key pieces in some of them!
The Kooples is just gorgeous. Their suiting options are perfect in every sense, cut, finish and style. 10/10. I LOVE Whistles too, their SS15 collection is a dream in Navy for me. “Get in loser, we’re going shopping!”
You mention how charity shops can be a hidden goldmine of treasures. How would you convince me to try charity shopping? All the ones we have here are full of garish jumpers, flat caps and oversized ‘Burberry’s’ jackets from the ’40s. Perhaps London isn’t where it’s at?
Hmmm I find smaller towns have great ones. For example, Bolton, Bury etc. Those are small towns near me that have some great steals. Don’t get me wrong, you have to go through a lot of crap! But take a list of what you’re looking for, that will make it a lot easier!
Where are your recommendations in Manchester to:
Shop – Manchester Arndale has everything under one roof. The NQ for great craft shops like Fred Aldous and also awesome comic book shops!
Eat – There’s so many at the moment. Dogs ‘N’ Dough on Cross Street does amazing gourmet hot dogs which are so. freaking. good. Then there’s Reds True BBQ that does burgers but on a donut bun. Has to be seen to be believed!
Drink- Guilty By Association is my favourite place, the staff are brilliant, the cocktails are mind blowingly good and they have a Stanner Stairlift inside. Amazing.
Stay- Hilton? Or if not, how about renting a flat for a weekend. There is a great selection of them to choose from and all in the city centre.
Stripes or Polka Dots? Normally I’d say polka dots but at the moment, I’m feeling me some stripes!
I look like the Love Heart Eyes Emoji right now.
Colour or monochrome?
Colour! Though I have been experimenting with monochrome recently.
Interesting… I have noticed you’re a big fan of colour. I’m tempted by colour, I have a few pastels in my wardrobe and that’s as far as it goes. I think this Summer I just need to dive straight into the deep end and go full-on neon raver.
What inspires you?
Graphic novels. Saturday morning cartoons. Weird old soundtracks from films. Action figures. Amazing weaves.
When you come back to London, I’m taking you on a trip to Weave World at Hackeny. We are gonna look so pretty with our new ‘dos.
Yes I love me some good weave!
Who inspires you?
I’d probably say my Mum, Dad and sister. It’s super niche as a reply but they genuinely do inspire me. They listen to me and bounce ideas off with me too and after a good chat I feel like I know what I need to do!
If you won £10million on the lottery, what would you do with it? (Apart from buy your parents that hoover!)
Okay, so I owe them a hoover AND toaster now. I think I’d give a lot to charity. I’d also go on a holiday AND get myself a little studio in London. I would LOVE a London studio. And of course, buy shitloads of clothes!
What’s next for Dom+Ink? Map my Holiday, that’d be fun to do by the pool with a mojito in hand… Imagine the doodles after the 9th glass. (It is a holiday and I deserve it!)
You sure do! I have one idea of where to go next with the MAP series if we do another. It’s different to STYLE but I want to see how it goes. I also have a number of other books I’ve planned that I want to submit proposals for! I really need to pull my finger out and do it. I’m also completing commissions for a number of different clients at the moment so 2015 is REALLY exciting. Oh, and hopefully move back to London!
Dom, thank you so much for taking the time to chat – it’s been LOLs. All of the luck in the world to you with ‘MAP MY STYLE’ and everything else you pursue in the future. Until next time!