Monday, July 20, 2015

Pop Princess 2015 Illustrator Contest: The Semi Finalists!

Welcome back, ladies, gentleman, and all citizens of the royal Candy Kingdom to this year's Pop Princess Illustrator Contest! Last month, Coffeshere (who brought you such prints as Starry Garden and Bright Star) and Pop Princess decided to team up to host another illustrator contest in hopes to find another artist to create beautiful fabric prints with us!

We went from 30+ contestants who submitted their portfolio works to us to review from all over the world and had the difficult task of of narrowing those down to just 8 artists! We were so grateful by the response and enthusiasm from each candidate who applied! There was a range of unique talent from all of these talented contestants and it was a task that both Flor and I found very difficult, but as a team and a lot of discussion we made our decision!

Our remaining finalists are 6 very talented artists who come from every corner of the Earth! Each was asked to go through an interview process which was overseen by both Pop Princess and Coffeshere, with a series of questions from both the designer and artist perspective, and a few questions just for fun to get to know each of the candidates on a personal level.

We were very thrilled to find how serious each artist took the interview, answering both passionately and professionally, allowing us to get to know them on a more personal level as artists and friends. Each had answers unique to their own taste, experience, and feeling! This not only helped us get to know them, but for them to display their passion not only for their illustration and art, but their eagerness and desire to be a part of the Pop Princess team to create unique works and grow with us. It was touching to hear how much they cared about us as a brand, taking the time to really get to know us! It showed a lot of character and heart, and we really appreciated that!

So what was the theme challenge this year for our artists? What kind of fabric illustration would they create with it?

The Challenge: Tell us a story. This can be literal or figurative. Perhaps you are inspired by the fairy tales of old? Or rather you prefer the more modern tales from the pages of a book? Or the works of the poets are more your style, or a symphony of Mozart resonates with your soul? Perhaps this story is one that comes tumbling out from your own head, either from a fantastic daydream or something that is more personal, closer to your heart. 

With that challenge, our candidates spent the next 3 weeks coming up with their inspiration, creating their fabric design, and then were asked us to tell us the story behind it! 

These semi-finalists will now be going through a round of elimination, and just like last year only a few will move on to the FINAL round which will be voted upon! Whoever receives the most votes in that round will become... the next Pop Princess illustrator!

So without further ado, meet our 6 very special, very talented artists! 

Feel free to peruse their gorgeous portfolios, read some of their answers to their interview questions, and most importantly gaze into their beautiful semi-final fabric illustration submissions! Get to know them, after all you'll be the ones deciding who wins the final round!

Name: Angelique

A Little About Yourself: I have been illustrating for as long as I can remember. I taught myself how to digitally enhance my illustrations through looking for tutorials at DeviantArt in the early 2000's and I have been using a mix of traditional and digital mediums ever since. Though I fell in love with the works of countless artists such as Makoto Takahashi, Audrey Kawasaki and even Suehiro Maruo, Imai Kira will always hold the number one place in my heart.  

What is your main job?

My job title is Overseas Marketer. Basically, my job is to write descriptions and specifications for several clothing brands in Korea that would be posted on a blog that handles their promotions. I just started last June 1 but so far, I am having a great time. You can check the stuff we post there at, the clothes we feature are really cute! ^^

What does Lolita fashion mean to you?

Lolita fashion is the physical manifestation of every girl's whimsy. For me, donning Lolita fashion is one way of celebrating life and looking at this world with the childlike innocence and wonder we used to have as children, It's a declaration of who you are and what you feel inside. It's like a feminist movement with the message that girly girls are just as cool as any kind of girl. I'm not speaking for everyone, but there was a phase in my life where girls have to "man up" and girly girls are considered sissies or immature but I say with Lolita fashion, let's embrace and celebrate our girliness! Fight like girls! :D

What is your favorite (artist/illustrator) technique and what is your process?
I have always been in love with Imai Kira's works (illustrator for Angelic Pretty) and I could say that her technique greatly influenced my works. 
My process is I sketch out on paper with a pencil till I come up with a form I like, I then finalize this with a fine-tipped pen. I scan the lineart and color it in Photoshop.

Your goals or wishes?

My goal and wish is to fulfill my dream to become a professional illustrator or character designer. :D

 What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food?

For tea, I love Earl Grey and Peppermint tea with cream. I really really love cheesecakes. No matter what flavor. But blueberry cheesecake takes the cake for me ^_^  I also like matcha green tea flavored desserts.

 What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator?

I think I could make some prints for the classic pieces of Pop Princess (like Ms. Flor said in her assessment ^^), If Pop Princess would venture into making accessories with illustrations or printed items like notebooks and posters, I would be glad to make illustrate for those too ^^

Which is your favorite Pop Princess print, and why?

My favorite would have to be Bright Star in white. I just love how the memory of someone so loved was turned into something so beautiful despite the tragedy that took him away. It's like one of the wonderful evidences of his meaningful existence and Flor really captured the wonderful time and memories Mr. Kyle spent here on earth and didn't  focus on the impermanence of life but rather the permanence of the love and connection that transcends beyond the physical realm.

Favorite Lolita or other street fashion brand?

My favorite brand is Innocent World :)

Could you tell us the story behind your print?
  I wanted to create something creepy and cute so I made the Dollmaker print.
I found a quote by Warsan Shire:

“You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, someone not everyone knows how to love.” 
I wanted to make something that showed that you can take your broken parts and put them together; the end result will be something so tragic and beautiful. People would wonder what kind of things you've been through. The scars and cracks you so hate will be the untold stories that would mesmerize those who behold them. I like the thought of a dollmaker, putting together broken parts and turning them into one beautiful doll who stands out because of how imperfectly she was made. 


Name: Merenlha

 A Little About Yourself: I'm a graphic designer from Chile who loves and wear lolita fashion for 10 years. I paint girls in dreamy landscapes and concepts I'm interested about, like innocence and being young. But my style range from cute/kawaii to guro/creepy cute, so I'm quite versatile.

What is your main job?
I'm a graphic designer and work doing ui/ux design for websites in a retail shop in my country.
What does Lolita fashion mean to you?

I started lolita a long long time ago (2006). I was very depressed and lonely in that time, and i could say that Lolita gave me a new hope. I meet new people and made friends though Lolita so is very special to me.

I often say that Lolita to me is related to art, because you look like a walking piece of art or like you belong in a dream.

When i wear Lolita i feel like i could do whatever i want, i can make all my dreams come true, and i feel strong and cheerful! So when i have a difficult day i try to wear Lolita to feel confident and strong! <3

Your goals or wishes?

I love animals and i want to have a house near the countryside so i can have goats, chickens, lambs, and lots of dogs!

In the artistic side i want to keep working and painting, one of my goals is to exhibit my work in a local gallery. I have exhibit work on USA but not in my home country aside for some fan arts, so i would really like to have more confidence to approach art and illustration galleries and see what they think of me.

What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food?

I love tea, my favorites are the ones with berries, any berry! i also love rose tea. I also love sweets and cakes and can not choose one as favorite, since i loveeee sweets!!!!<3 

What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator?

I love painting sweet things and i would love to work with you to bring to life new prints.

My personal work is very bright colored/dreamy/naked girls but I'd love to make dreamy prints with you, specially cute animals, flowers and cute insects :)

What are the stories behind these two important Pop Princess prints?
One is about one of your pet rabbit and i remember when you held the first illustration contest because i wanted to enter but i felt i wasn't good enough. I loved Flor's design because it not only have cute bunnies but she also read the Lolita trends in adding the constellations in the sky.

Bright Star was made in memory of the boy you loved and was going to get engaged but he had an accident. I remember the idea was to have little domes with important moments of your relationship and i find that so cute, like a fairytale.

What do you feel are your strengths as an artist? What are your weaknesses?

I'm very good at bringing to life concepts or ideas, but my main weakness is my personality, I'm very shy and don't have enough confidence to promote my work or show it.

Favorite Lolita or other street fashion brand?
I love BTSSB but i mostly own Angelic Pretty. I have an issue here! i love unicorns and AP is the expert here! :P I mostly wear sweet and hime style, maybe that's why i own mostly AP hehe!

Could you tell us the story behind your print?
I chose "The ugly duckling" because is a very beautiful story about courage and finding your place in the world. Most people think the ugly duckling is about changing to become a beautiful swan, that's why it's been an inspiration for extreme makeovers in tv, but it is not. The lesson behind the story is about finding who you are, and how by knowing yourself you can become a better version of yourself. The ugly duckling was always a swan, but he didn't know it. We all are in some way the ugly duckling, scared of the world because we don't know who we are, but we all are a beautiful swan deep inside of us. We only have to know ourselves and appreciate all the good things we have.

Name: Alejandra

A Little About Yourself: I am a visual artist of Chihuahua. Currently I am teaching at university and am a freelancer. My hobby is drawing, reading, exercise and travel!

What is your main job?
That's a hard one! Just kidding, but no, really. I work as a professor at a local University of Visual Arts, when I started out I had the subject of Illustration, but after a few years I have several new subjects like Campaigns Design, Exposition Design and even Grammar (I totally have fun with this one).

 I also work as an external designer for a local supermarket that's quickly growing up in other states. It's called Alsuper. I do mostly design. Other of my job is as a freelancer working for a company called 4DE where I do illustration for an upcoming web comic, and also bits of package design.

 I also (I like to keep busy) work for free doing a local anime convention once a year that has around 3,000 per day. Although after 8 years, this is the last one we do! And in between I do freelance work for illustration an design from various costumers.

 What does Lolita fashion mean to you?
Since I am almost 30, when Lolita fashion started out on my city I was intrigued by it, I mistaken it for cosplay at first, but because I was curious on the subject I started reading about it, where it came from, the divisions it had, and os much more that I tough it was wonderful. A way to express yourself trough fashion in such a unique and amazing way. Whenever I hear people telling that all the Lolita fashion is the same, I am quick to explain them that thinking Lolita fashion is the same, as thinking that ALL fashion is the same. If it's a t-shirt, it's the same everywhere in the world. So for me, Lolita fashion is a way to express yourself inside a community, which allows you to meet people that share the same taste for fashion.

Your goals or wishes?
My goal is to keep improving my illustration skills and work for different companies, and be able to see m work out there in the market.

 What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food?
My favorite sweet is TiramisĂș but I'm also head over hills for cheescake. And because I don't drink coffee I have tried loads of different teas over the year, and so far I don't have a favorite one, I just really like them all so far. But I do have to admit my favorite food is seafood, I just love it so much.

What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator?
Because of the many styles of illustration I do, I am sure I can bring variety to reach even further to appeal more Lolitas out there. Also I am a great team player always willing to pitch in, but be able to stop and hear out what the others have to say. Also, I think I can help out more than just by drawing but helping out where it's needed, if it's thinking out promotions, or a new banner, or how to reach even further into the market.
 Because I do so much different work out there, and have worked with all sort of different people, I like to think I am able to adapt where and when it's needed and make any project reach it's fullest potential.

 Which is your favorite Pop Princess print, and why?
Bright Star. The first time I saw it at Flor's Facebook I was astounded! The amount of detail and cuteness was perfect. I was amazed on how many things the print had and still everything worked out with each other in a perfect balance. I have always loved Flor's work, but this one was my instant favorite.

And as a plus fact is that precisely when I saw this particular design, it's when I started going even deeper into Lolita's fashion, and loved to see how much it had changed and grown since early years when I first heard about it.

 What are the stories behind these two important Pop Princess prints?
 First of all I love that both of this have back stories, when you have a story in mind you can really out your heart into the design and think in more and more details to help fill even more that story through the illustration.

Bright Star: This story touched me, even tough the first time I saw this design and loved the cuteness of it, when I heard the story, it made me feel nostalgic. This print is about preserving memories of a dear friend of Annika that was killed during a car accident after serving in the marines, and meeting up with her. I do love that even tough it's a sad story, the inspiration itself focuses on the good memories, which is what we have to preserve after the people we love is gone.This design took 9 months to be completed, and I love how you both worked out the idea as a team. Great job. My favorite, you can feel that love that was placed on this making.

Favorite Lolita or other street fashion brand?
Well I do like a lot of the stuff I see at Baby The Stars Shine Bright. Alice and the Pirates. What I like from this brand is that they have a really wide variety of accessories and different kind of clothing.

Could you tell us the story behind your print?

How are stars born? Well yes, there is a scientific explanation, but many years has the man wonder where those beautiful shining stars come from, and there have been many stories surrounding it.

My story is about fireflies; fireflies have actually a small amount of life, so when they pass away, they continue shining in the sky. But it's not like a automatic thing that happened. Once they die, they are reborn into fruit stars, that grow on the heavenly trees, guarded by the night goddess. Once the fruit stars are in full bloom, they are released into the skies and all the heavenly creatures reunite to see that happening, which is the part that is represented on the fabric.

And after the stars are done with their lifes, they fall back once more into earth and turn into fireflies, so that light is never gone, it just keeps changing over and over, but the light is always there, in the skies or in the forest, always leading the way into new things.

Name: Nanthanit


 A Little About Yourself: I am second year student at architecture faculty, communication design. I want to become Illustrator after I graduate. Lolita is my most beloved fashion, I often get inspiration from it.

What is your main job? I am 3rd year student in Communication Design in Faculty of Architecture.

What does Lolita fashion mean to you? It is my most beloved fashion. I think of every Lolita clothes I own as my children. Lolita fashion can express myself and gives me plenty of inspiration. The world without this fashion would be very boring.

Your goals or wishes? I plan to become illustrator. I am now trying to gain experience and building up portfolio as much as possible so I could try sending it to some publishing house within this year. I would love to to have experience with designing fabric print as well because I want to see people wearing my illustration.

What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food? I like fruit tea, less-sweet hot chocolate and any kind of coffee . I love all kind of food and sweet but my favourite must be any dessert that has strawberry.

  What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator? Astonishment. People who see my illustration will be impressed and will fall in love with the brand and no matter what design your brand deliver, they will follow and become loyal supporters.

 Favorite Lolita or other street fashion brand? My favourite brand is Innocent World, Mary Magdalene and BTSSB. I am into classic and sweet-classic style. I love the elegance of MM and their used of colour. IW and BTSSB are mixed of elegance and playfulness. 

Could you tell us the story behind your print?
I choose one of my favourite fairytale 'Red Shoes' by Hans Christian Andersen as my theme. I like how this fairytale is different from any others, it has dark theme but the story is told very beautifully. It also contains many metaphors, so I can enjoy thinking about it after finished reading. And I like red shoes :D  

First Name: Suzette

A Little About Yourself: I am 23 and I live in Mexico. I loved illustration since I was in highschool and since then I’ve practiced a whole lot experimenting with different techniques both digital and traditional. I am currently studying graphic design. I’ve worked making illustrations online for different products like joysticks (online commissions by order), t-shirts (eighty-sixed clothing) and I’ve made illustration designs for local anime conventions (CAF 2014) . I know Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

What are your hobbies, your passion? I love to draw, its the only thing I want to do with my life and make art! Lately i've been doing different types of hobbies like, making ribbons, resin, and doing sweets with polymer clay, and making collages. I like to experiment with different forms of art or things I can use to make it, that’s my passion! Finding new ways and techniques to make art!

What does Lolita fashion mean to you?
I haven’t wear lolita in my life, but I like lolita. I used to sell ribbons and polymer clay sweets to lolitas in my community. You know, here in the desert is really hard to find cute and inexpensive ribbons that's why one time I decided to do sell them and by doing that, I think I helped the small community here. I like lolita because I love art, and I think this form of showing art is really cute and amazing.

Your goals or wishes?
I want to work as an illustrator, doing experimental stuff and creating new and interesting things no one has done yet. I want to work on fashion, games, animation , books, and creating art to one day put an exhibition to put in my city's museum. Right now I am focusing on fashion, and I might not now yet what I will accomplish so I am just having fun and doing my best!

What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food?
I like iced lemon tea! ( I live in a desert) I love every sweet ever but my favorite one is ice cream! Regarding flavors for any cake or ice cream my most favorite one is the one I haven't eaten yet! ( I love tasting new flavors every time)  

What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator?
I can bring new types of stories, colors, and textures. As you know, I like sarcasm and humor, my pieces might look sweet but there will always be something dark or weird hidden underneath.

Which is your favorite Pop Princess print, and why?
That might be bright star! Your most recent one! And that's because I know the process to make such a really big illustration it might've took like months in order to complete it! The other one might be starry garden! Both I know were designed by Flor, nd that's what I like about those prints! Having an illustrator making them really is special!

Favorite Lolita or other street fashion brand? I like casual, country, sweet and bittersweet. Lately I've been into fairy key and 80's fashion. You know, fashion in which you use old or new cartoon prints. I like the brand galaxxxy though I've never shopped oversees. I dream to sometime be able to buy lolita and galaxxxy clothing.  

 Could you tell us the story behind your print?
My inspiration for the dress is the poem " A boat beneath a sunny sky"  by Lewis Carrol.. This poem is my favorite ones so I really had fun making a dress out of it!

For this dress I used different textures, like crayolas for the raindrops,lines, and boat and ocean. I used watercolours for the flowers and the sky on the mirror and notes. and I used one real scanned paper boat.

This poem is about growing up and forgetting how it is to be a child, which is something I want to really never forget.

First in the first layer we can see alice sleeping dreaming with boats, however right now alice is crossing the border of "child to adult"  so she can't decide whether to dream a real boat (the scanned one) or an imaginary boat (the crayola one).

In the book we know that alice enters a mirror in order to go to another world, we can see this mirror has a REAL boat on the other side, now we are inside this world.

I like to think, the "forget me not" flowers carry our childhood memories (raindrops) and send them to a place no one can forget how it was to be a child....Wonderland, which is represented by the crayola drawn ocean.
 The piano ballad on the top is "row row your boat" in which Lewis Carrol was inspired to make this poem.

First Name: Molly

A Little About Yourself: I am a 21 year old artist who loves doing art of all kinds. I have been using illustrator for over 4 years now. I am really excited about doing this because for my final show at college I plan on creating a Lolita Brand myself, with a print already in the works.
What is your main job? My main job right now is being a student. I am going to be doing an internship at thinkgreensburg in the fall doing their design work. I also am a gallery/ gallery artist for the gallery at the college I attend( Seton Hill University) 

What does Lolita fashion mean to you? I am fairly knew to the Lolita world but the fashion to me is being your own unique self. Girls may have the same dress but girls let there creativity and fashion sense show in how they coord their outfit. Lolita means a lot to me. I am able to express my girly self. Lolita allows for me to be me.
Your goals or wishes? My wishes is to inspire others with my art. Artists of all kinds have seriously inspired me. I want to do the same for someone else. I want someone else to be like hey she made it, so can I. 

Do you see yourself in the Lolita industry/fashion for a long time? Yes I do actually. Though I am new to the fashion I want to create my own prints so  I can see others wearing it. I love fashion and I think this would be fun to continue with making cute and girly prints! I also want to just wear the fashion more too! It's totally me and suits my style so yes I do see myself doing this for a long time! 

What’s your favorite tea and sweet or cake? Or just your favorite food? Do I just have to name one! I love sweets, I may not look like it but I could eat sweets all the time. If I had to pick a favorite sweet I would say chocolate chip cookies! I can eat a pack in like 10 minutes. 

 What do you feel you could add to or bring to the brand as a Pop Princess illustrator?  Well I think I can bring a fun and bubbly atmosphere. I am super positive and always ready to learn. I love pleasing people so I typically aim for the stars. I think I can bring a fine arts aspect to the brand too. I am a digital artist but I'm also a fine artist. So I think that having a fine artist could bring so many new and colorful things :) 

                                        Could you tell us the story behind your print? 

Once upon a time a young maiden was given a challenge of creating a print that would tell of a story of a times past. The young maiden was inspired by her long hair to create a print that would illustrate the story of another young maiden with extremely long hair. The young maiden, Molly, designed the print lass dein Haar Herunter, which is inspired by the Brothers Grimm original story of Rapunzel. The name lass dein Haar Herunter is German for Let your Hair Down, which is the line the prince calls out to Rapunzel. All fairy tales have dark and sad beginnings so I decided to feature not only the happy ending but the dark beginning as well . The prints main color is purple based upon the color of Rapunzel’s dress from the Disney's animated film. The print features miles and miles of hair, pearls, and flowers. The dresses last panel ends with a happily ever after, which to me is important. All girls deserve a happily ever after. I've got a dream that with this print all girls can feel free to live out their dream to be a beautiful princess and leave their tower.

A round of applause please for our talented artists!

We would like to thank them once again for all their hard work!
Flor and I will now be taking some time to think, deliberate, and discuss who will move on to the final round.

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