Avon Called.

Sarah J Coleman
5 min readFeb 23, 2023

Cosmetics, jewellery and perfume mail order behemoth Avon asked me to create illustrations that worked with and around the model for their new fragrance range last year, in a campaign which has just gone live.

The ‘Eve Become’ quartet of fragrances consists of Truth, Privé, Confidence and Eve; each created to reflect a different aspect of the wearer. Taking their cue from womanhood and everything the word can mean, and presented in beautiful, contemporary glass bottles, the scents offer alternative vibes depending on your mood on the day. The company needed a collection of images that spoke to the changeable nature of femininity.

Working with UK-based One Production, I went to London on the day that the PM resigned — definitely the topic of the day while we had our introductions — to be present at the campaign’s photo shoot. Peering ‘behind the curtain’ of the hours-long process was a thrilling treat — I’ve been on site for all sorts of ad and photography-based things, but not a shoot quite like this. After a coffee or two I got to work sketching live on my iPad as the models went through their day, having makeup applied, hair tweaked and clothing pulled into place around them (with two very appealing dogs to entertain us in between takes — see below). Those girls were impressively professional — young, skilled and infinitely patient!

Surrounded by a team that included photographer, stylist, lighting team, director, photo editor and a catering and logistics squad, I wove my way in and out of the action Procreating spontaneous sketches. Not intended to form part of the final ads, these were made to capture a vibe that would inform the work later, back in the studio:

(Her name was Margeaux, and she was enormous!)

Back in the office week or so later, the selected photos were sent over to me and the work began. We’d already explored some ideas — two sets of suggested looks, one digital and one ink-made — so we had an array of looks to base the final pieces on. Here are some of the analogue tests:

And here’s a handful of the digital pieces. These ones I absolutely loved, because they’re very much in the realm of the kind of work I’m really into at the moment — free, energetic, and with a delightful amount of spontaneity!

One of the things I’d offered to do as part of this job — in fact, something I offer all my clients now — is capture the process of making the work. This is a brilliant thing to do for two reasons; first, the client gets to see the process, which can not only help to shape the final outcome but can be really useful for communicating how long something might take, and what’s involved in adjustments, and second, small snippets of film can add incredible value when it comes to social media and passing those ‘peeks behind the curtain’ into the client’s audience and customers. So the pieces for this campaign were captured at almost every stage, in closeup, for integration into the final ads:

The process of developing final pieces was a delightful sequence of back and forth between myself, art director Rich Gent and the Avon creative team, wrestling with the edges of ink, line quality, and just how organic the art should be. In the end, the final pieces were a mix of real sloppy ink on paper and digital work — maybe you can see which is which, maybe you can’t!

This little gif was a tidy example of how the team blended my live capture with video and stills from the shoot.

Thanks to Rich, Lottie, Lesley and Melanie for involving me, and to my agents at CIA through whom the job arrived. It’s become one of my favourite jobs ever!

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Sarah J Coleman

Artist + illustrator of over 800 books and owner of the same amount of pens. Enough to write you a picture AND paint you a story. inkymole.com / inkstagram.ink