The artist who draws pretty black girls on Instagram.
Montreal based fashion illustrator Tatiana Poblah is building a following on social media thanks to her captivating illustrations of pretty black girls. Take a few seconds to scroll her Instagram page, and you will see her craft come to life with hundreds of pictures of normal to celebrity black girls. Her art is honest, feminine and above all real. From her work as a landscape artist to her obsession with luxury designers, here’s what the fashion illustrator has to say about why it’s important tot draw familiar faces.
Photo Credit: Tatiana Poblah website
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Canada, I spent my teens in Florida, and now I’m between Montreal and New York. My background is Haitian and Beninese
What made you start illustrating young black women on Instagram?
The women that inspire me are not only from Instagram and social media, but they’re from everywhere. I’m really inspired by cool girls I see on the street, women who have a lot of style, and my sister who is my biggest muse. Unless I’m doing custom work, I don’t draw anyone in particular but instead might take particular elements from someone I see. It might be a hairstyle, accessories, a different way of wearing clothing, pretty makeup, etc.
How long have you been practicing your craft?
I’ve been drawing girls since 1998 but I think I’ve been practicing my craft all my life. My mom saw that I was talented as a kid and she pushed me towards that path. I attended a magnet design high school, have an Associates in fashion design, and hold both a Bachelors and Masters in Landscape Architecture.
Is landscape architecture your FT job?
Not anymore. I decided to dedicate myself to my art full time last year so now I only do freelance landscape architecture work until I reach my financial goals.
What kind of work do you produce under that umbrella?
I work in the private sector, creating outdoor spaces, small parks, and gardens for schools and offices. My work includes designing, drafting plans, and overseeing the construction. I’ve also created various public art projects (the subject of my Masters project), combining my art and the landscape.
Are you drawn to any particular fashion designers?
I am a 90s kid so my biggest fashion influences were designers that had longevity or disrupted the fashion industry. They include Yves Saint Laurent (for his absolute genius). Gianni Versace (for his use of color and pattern), Miuccia Prada (for her intelligence), Valentino (for his mastery of beauty), Marc Jacobs (for his youthfulness), and Armani (for his business acumen).
What tools do you use to create?
I use markers and pen 99% of the time and will use china ink and/or pastels the rest of the time. I learned to paint with watercolors before I perfected markers but had no patience to wait for the pieces to dry so I switched. However I draw how I would paint.
What inspires you to choose someone to draw?
Most of the girls I draw are from my imagination but very specific elements inspire me. I love people with style and a strong sense of self, I pay attention to future trends, I love beautiful fabrics, bright colors, and big and bold patterns. I’m also a big sunshine girl so I get a lot of inspiration from how girls look and dress in tropical weather.
Why do you think its important to depict us on social media?
I think it’s important for us to be depicted everywhere, not only on social media. In business, politics, design, science, in life in general. As someone of West African background I would always cringe when I heard people talk about Africa. But the internet changed everything for everyone. People are affirming themselves, their beliefs, their culture. And although I have always and continue to draw women of all colors, to me it only makes sense that as a black women, I use my voice and this platform to represent and portray beautiful black women.
How many people have you illustrated so far?
I started a portrait project last year so I could work on perfecting features and expressions and I have about 100 portraits completed. My goal is to have 225 by the end of the year. For the past 3 years I’ve also drawn or sketched everyday, but I’ve also been drawing these girls for almost 20 years so I have loads of sketchbooks and notebooks filled with fashion illustrations.
Any favorite black models?
I’m not into celebrity culture, so I don’t have any person in particular that would be my favorite. I get happy when I see any gorgeous, intelligent or talented black woman representing us.