Eris Tran is a freelance fashion illustrator with 230k followers on social network Instagram. Skillfully sketched and artistically conceived, rich, and diverse color palette, realistically rendered textures, and several layers. His multi-dimensional drawings and paintings exhibit his ability to conceptualize his illustration. Eris's artworks caught the attention of the media and featured on Elle, L'Officiel, Basic Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Wow Vietnam, Alchemist Magazine. Also, he has collaborated with fashion companies and clients such as Dior, Versace, Burberry, BVLGARI, Alberta Ferretti, Ralph & Russo, Iris Van Herpen, and more.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and career?
I was majoring in marketing at my school. I spent a lot of time drawing outside the classes- I was especially passionate about fashion drawing. After that, I found this is my true passion and decided to follow this path as a lifelong career. I have been in this field for more than seven years so far.
You were studying marketing in the beginning.
Yes, correct. I had spent four years studying marketing and graduated from university. I kept drawing along the way - Even after I graduated. Then I followed a career in the field of fashion illustration. I had never attended any fashion schools. So, I tried to learn drawing through the internet and various illustrators in the world.When I was a sophomore student, I started to invest more time researching, not only learning. Also, I seriously tried to find a way I could draw better. That was my turning point.
You changed your career path from marketing to fashion illustration; what attracted you to the field of fashion?
In the process of studying marketing at university, I was researching fashion, and I was very intrigued by the different designs and details of each famous brand, which aroused my curiosity. Also, when my younger brother was getting married, I looked up various stores to choose the best dress for my sister-in-law. It was very inspiring to me! I loved the materials used in the wedding dress, the silk in particular. Perhaps that's how I got into fashion illustration.
Looking at your Instagram page, I can see that you have worked with clients from famous brands such as Dior, Versace, Burberry, and many more. I thought it would take more than 10 or 20 years to build a career in fashion illustration, but, amazingly, you accomplished it in just 7 years, and now you have become very famous. How did you manage to achieve this and gain so many opportunities?
Fashion illustration is a novelty for the Vietnamese. In general, Vietnam is just a developing market in the fashion illustration field. Fortunately, I found out about this field, and I started researching, training, and improving my drawing skills. That is one of the reasons why many famous brands from all over the world came to Vietnam. They tried to find some top fashion illustrators. Then, I sent an application as a portfolio to those brands. There are a few famous fashion illustrators in Vietnam as well, but fortunately, the brand representatives sent my portfolio to their headquarters in Paris or European countries. They felt I was one of the top fashion illustrators in Vietnam. So, they chose and invited me to join exhibitions and supported them in many marketing events. And I was also delighted to be the preferred fashion illustrator from Vietnam at that time. Even my students in fashion design and fashion illustration school felt the same as I did.
When did you start teaching fashion design at the school? Do you have your school in Vietnam?
I am not running a school but teaching at a fashion vocational school. Besides that, I also held private lessons, like personal training, both offline and online.
Are you teaching in several schools, or just one?
I started teaching drawing to students at a fashion academy three years ago, and I am working there now. That is the only place where I am teaching.
What motivated you to start teaching?
I felt so burned out after spending so much time alone researching, studying, and drawing. So, I decided to teach younger students because it has become impossible for me to research with only my perspective. There were times when I would take a subjective view. However, when I teach students, I can feel that I can communicate and interact with many different people who have different perspectives. That helped me realize that there were new and various sources I could refer to for more inspiration.
Do you have any memorable episodes when you were teaching?
For me, the most memorable moment in my teaching life was when I got done teaching practice. I received a big present from students when I finished practical training at school. They gave me a local fruit and Vietnamese fish sauce. That was very special to me; I felt their love and care. That is why I enjoy teaching because I can feel human caring and sharing in each present I have received.
Eris, why do you think so many world-famous brands choose you? What do you consider to be the best thing about yourself?
It is difficult to say because it is a brand decision, and they will never tell you why they choose you. In my case, as a fashion illustrator, I feel it is because I put a lot of effort and passion into all drawings and sketches. I focus on the traits of the material, the cloth, and every detail on the dresses. Somehow, I feel that my illustrations met the requirements of the brands and solved their problems. I think that makes me stand out from the crowd. So, I guess the best answer to your question is: my illustrations fit the requirements of the brands.
When did you use Copic for the first time, and how did you feel about our products?
I started to use Copic markers when I was in my third year at university. At first, I just wanted to know what kind of markers are in the market. I did not know much about Copic at the time, so I researched on Instagram to see what markers are famous and well-used for fashion design. Copic was the most widely used marker among all the brands. However, there was only one store selling Copic in Vietnam, with a limited color selection. Copic was not commonly used in my country at that time. So, I had to use a combination of Copic and other brands of markers. I could feel the differences from other brands; comparing the color shades, Copic tones are very lively, vivid, and give the feeling of the actual material. When I draw a dress with Copic, it is no longer just paper and ink, but it seems like real silver. And I also really liked the pastel shades of Copic. However, I was just a third-year student at university, and I could not afford the whole Copic collection. That is why I had to pick up other markers to use along with Copic.
What is the difference between Copic and other brands? Is Copic available to buy in Vietnam now?
Two things make Copic stand from other marker brands. First, the marker shape is so easy to handle. First, it is very smooth and easy to move markers when using Copic to draw and sketch. When I use Copic, I get the feeling of "Kimochi-ii" (“feeling good” in Japanese).
The second point is the Super Brush nib. It is soft and can sketch smoothly as well.
Now more than 2-3 shops are selling Copic products. There are more colors and more collections now. However, contrary to our expectations, there are still not enough Copic available in the stores. In fashion illustration, artists must use different shades, but there is still a shortage. It would be nice if we could buy directly from overseas. Of course, the opportunities for reaching Copic have increased much more than before. I hope that it will be easier to buy Copic in the future.
Why did you choose Copic markers as your first art medium?
I also use watercolors besides Copic. But with watercolors, you have to prepare several things at first, use water, and mix colors. That takes a lot of time. Markers, on the other hand, can be used at any time and are much more convenient. Moreover, you cannot just bring watercolors everywhere. For example, I do not bring watercolors to events unless there is a special request. Copic markers are an ideal art material because they do not take much time to prepare, and the ink dries quickly.
What is your favorite Copic color?
There are two shades I particularly like. The first is blue shades, and the other is pastel shades. When I draw fashion illustrations, I need to create a see-through effect, like the skin showing through transparent silk. Usually, you would need to choose many colors to obtain this kind of effect. However, you can achieve it quickly and easily with Copic pastel colors.
Do you ever create works digitally as well?
I sometimes draw digitally using an iPad and a digital pen. But I continue to use Copic markers to be a real fashion illustrator and maximize my emotions and inspiration.
At last, could you please give a message to Copic fans around the world?
Hello everyone, I am Eris.
I am a big fan of Copic, and I use them a lot in my fashion illustration work. I hope people can enjoy using Copic products and keep using them because the quality of Copic can bring many things to us. I hope everyone can stay safe and healthy during this pandemic.