Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Effortless Grace

Two things were clear to me after I talked to Rosemary Fanti.

(a) I want to hire her when I renew my wedding vows.

(b) I want to be her when I grow up.

Now for those of you who know me, (b) is a really big statement .. because I'm very happy with who I am.

But Rosemary is just that kind of person.

Beautiful inside and out from what I've gleaned over the past couple of months of following her work. And she would have to be in order to pull off what she does. Which is capture the fluidity and emotion of life's special moments in a few strokes.

I had the greatest time listening to the story of her life. Hearing how her talent was discovered as she painted on any wall she could find as a small girl; about her studies at the American Academy of Art; and her experiences as an Art Director in New York City.

And make no mistake - she brings all of this into play as she celebrates her love of drawing people.
As we talked about how she came to wedding illustration, she laughed and told me she'd been the 'designated artist' at friends' parties for years. It just needed to be taken to the next level.

The chance to go freelance didn't come her way until she answered an ad on Craig's List for a wedding illustrator, however.

That was in 2005.

After that she placed a quarter page ad in Chicago Social Brides magazine, did a few bridal shows, and worked steadily on building momentum.

She still retains her day job as Creative Director for a firm in Chicago, but looks forward to the day when she can give herself over totally to her art.

So what does having an illustrator at your wedding translate into?

"Your average wedding is at least three hours long," Rosemary explains. "In that period of time I usually manage 10-15 illustrations on archival-quality paper. In either charcoal or pastels. Couple's choice."

"There are so many moments worth capturing," she said. "The bride being made up, the groom waiting for the bride, key moments in the ceremony, the reception, speeches, cutting the cake, the bride and groom in the car. It's complementary to photography in so many ways - and really helps capture the essence of the day."

A really nice element to this kind of art is that the couple in question get instant gratification. The drawings are photographed for Rosemary's records ... but the artwork doesn't doesn't go home with her to be mailed out at a later date.

It stays with the couple.

They can take their memories home instantly - and derive pleasure from them forever.

The incredible (and fun) aspect is that none of it is a literal impression.

Rosemary's background in fashion means she fuses all sorts of elements into her drawings. There's a certain amount of stylization that makes the figures look like fashion sketches, but at the same time everything is totally fluid. "I sit somewhere discreet and watch people as they move around a room. It's all about capturing their true spirit."

"People love that," she explained to me. "You hone in on something unique about that person and maximize on it. And everyone looks incredible. It's as far from a caricature or a cartoon as you can get."

While perusing photos for this feature, these drawings caught my eye.

A wedding with a masquerade theme - where guests were masked and the ceremony began at midnight.

Rosemary told me that she has loved every single event that she has covered - because of her passion for learning about people - but this one was an illustrator's dream.

Although Rosemary will travel wherever she is needed to immortalize your special day, she also offers her couples another wonderful service.

Send in a treasured photo after the wedding and she will make a portrait for you.

Ready to find out more?

You know you are.

Contact Rosemary through her website, her Facebook page, or call her up on 815.341.3340

Tell her I said hi!


  1. I love this lili! This is the epitome of personalization!

  2. I came to you via linkedin. Just wanted to take a moment to compliment you on your very creative, beautiful, blog. You are very talented and it shows in everything you do..kudos!!



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