How George Stavrinos Captivated Fashion With F Lead Pencil

The National Herald

Mechanical pencil lead spilling out. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

You likely haven't heard of him but the late George Stavrinos (1948-90) was a legend in the world of fashion illustration, working almost always with an F Lead Mechanical pencil to produce super-fine arts combining drawing, photography, and super-realism.

In a feature, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini wrote of his genius, noting that Bradford Hamann, an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Shepherd University, West Virginia wrote Stavrinos revolutionized fashion illustration, proving that it could be “imbued with dramatic content, it could be monumental in feel, and it could stand as ‘Art’ in the truest sense of the word.”

He was to fashion illustration what Jorge Luis Borges was to surrealistic writing, using his talent to draw with pin point accuracy and painstaking detail that was incomparable for the genre.

His process began with hundreds of photographs of his model in various poses and at various focal lengths using a Polaroid SX-70. We would then create an environment around the model that included a variety of shapes and materials, such as pottery, fans, lights, and various geometric designs. The Massachusetts-born artist was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.