Claire Idera: Illustration in Colours
Claire Idera is a multi-talented Nigerian who is a freelance fashion designer and illustrator with a BSc in architecture and a Masters in fashion. Claire’s work is mostly mixed media using watercolours, acrylic, pencils, and ink. She sometimes creates digital art depending on the concept. The light-hearted illustrator, who currently teaches at a college in Lagos and wishes she was born in a different era, talks to the magazine about her art and what makes her unique.
How would you describe what it is that you actually do?
It is a little confusing for some people. I am an illustrator and design tutor. So basically, I create illustrations for brands and this could be used for adverts or publicity for a collection. Also, my freelance design career just allows me to work with individual fashion brands in areas of design and sometimes production and creative direction.
What inspires you to keep illustrating?
I love what I do and there’s so much satisfaction and fulfillment in knowing it inspires people. I love to create and see a final outcome.
How did you get into what you do?
I have been illustrating since I was in my first year of my architecture degree and I realised I could make it a source of living. I then found a niche for myself and I have extended my expertise into design education. My work also depends on research, so I can educate properly.
Can you tell us the difference between illustrations and art?
Illustration is art!
So why don’t you say that you are an artist?
Well, I guess I am an artist because every form of creativity, in my opinion, is art. The only difference is that illustration is a division in art.
How did you finally decide what you wanted to do with your life?
I did not decide per say; it just happened. I know it’s my purpose and I follow it. There’s a lot I want to do. There is always the drive to do more and expand.
So, how important is fashion illustration in the design process and the industry?
Illustrations are the quickest way to see what your ideas would look like. It is a draft of what is yet to be made or what has been made.
You recently completed your Master’s degree, what is the next step for Claire?
Yes, I did. Right now, I am teaching art and design in Oxbridge College. There’s a lot on my plate now and it is really exciting to know what Lagos has in store for me.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from photography, movies, exhibitions and everyday life.
What brands have you worked with and which commission was your best?
I’ve worked with Zashadu, Hugo Boss, Kene Rapu, Grey Velvet and Vane Polish to name a few. Every project is different so it’s difficult to say which my best is.
How do you handle creative block?
It’s been a long while since I really experienced this “creative block”. I have gained so much knowledge and I’m aware of how my brain works and what keeps my juices flowing so the goal is to always be excited about learning new and interesting things.