The personal touch brings new meaning to brands in fashion marketing’s latest evolution.


It’s no longer enough just to throw a PR dinner, send out a few product samples, or even  make a sale. More and more, it’s a sense of personal relevance that gets a brand talked about.

Live illustration is seeing a huge surge in demand as a way to make this happen.

From customised packaging to seven-minute sketches that tie in current campaigns, on-the-spot art is bringing a new sense of the bespoke to both niche and mass-market brands.

For the last three years, the artists behind Live Illustration London (or LiL) Collective have been at the forefront of the trend. Customer by customer, the Collective’s three illustrators have sketched portraits and brushed lettering onto shoes, lipsticks, drinks bottles, jewellery boxes, tote bags and campaign cards.

‘As an ice-breaker, live illustration is proving absolutely invaluable’,  says xxx, [Head of Marketing] at xxx.  ‘It’s a great way to get the conversation going - both on and offline.  Because the images are so shareable, they get picked up by bloggers and social media. Because they’re so personal, they really drive emotional buy-in to brands.’

In demand for store launches, fashion shows, product promotions and VIP parties, LiL Collective works closely with clients to create concepts that will surprise and delight. ‘We can set up anywhere - from shop floor to catwalk’, says illustrator Willa Gebbie. ‘But more importantly, we push the boundaries.

‘There’s all sorts of ways we can combine product and portrait - and almost nothing we can’t customise. We want every event to be unexpected - so people can’t stop talking about it!’  

Not every illustrator is confident or flexible enough to draw in public. An adaptable, sociable approach is almost as essential as the production of quick, quality work. Digital portraits which can be emailed or projected are growing in popularity, alongside interactive workshops, mural painting and window displays - the perfect selfie backdrops.

According to Willa, the classic line-and-colour painted portrait will always remain a customer favourite. ‘Linked to a campaign or pulling in signature brand elements, the portraits do important messaging work. But they’re also very personal pieces of art. And that gives a brand real meaning in people’s lives.’


LiL Collective


The illustrators



Click here to download image file.



Quotes about LiL Collective


Someone from a brand marketing department


“Having a live illustrator at the event meant that everyone was busy social media-ing themselves which amplified the event publicity tenfold!”

— Emma Parlons, Digital Media Director - PUSH PR



A customer / guest who’s had their portrait done



Someone else from the Collective