Rebel Spotlight: Donna Adi

Rebel spotlight is a series where we talk to creators, trend-setters, artists and those with something exciting to share. We find out how they started and where they're going. 


Rebel Spotlight: Donna Adi

Donna Adi is a mixed-media artist that takes fashion photography and adds her own illustrations to it. We interviewed her about her process and how she's developed her craft. 


What got you into this?

I come from a background of working in fashion for over ten years. I eventually transitioned into doing fashion photography for a while. I’ve always been taking illustration and animation classes on the side, ever since high school. One day I started doodling on my photos  and adding another story to the images that I take or find online. I really really liked it.As soon as I started posting it online It got a really strong reaction from people whether it was just laughs or happiness. It encouraged me to want to do it more, because not only do I love doing it but my viewers also love it.

How do you get inspired?

It can happen anywhere. I can be scrolling on instagram, pinterest or on google. Someone wills send me a photo that strikes something in my imagination. I’m very picky in what I want. There are specific things that speak to me. Once I find that photo an idea comes to my mind.  I sketch that idea and I do a few illustrations until I find the one that works. I do a rough Illustration and go over it several times until I get the final product that you see on instagram. 


What is your background in fashion?

I have a background in fashion design and fashion marketing and merchandising. I have been sewing since the age of ten. My mom sews and my grandma sews. Its something that is very much in our family, sewing your own clothing. So I have  a really good understanding of fabrics, how they work, how they fold. When I was 17 I opened up a graphic T-shirt line with my illustrations. Later I opened an online boutique with a business partner. I ended up leaving that company and working for a haute couture designer. It's where I learned that I really have an eye for photography and composition. 

What inspires your illustrative style?

I’m in love with storybook illustrations and folklore. I love fun Monster doodles. I love Disney Animation. I also love fashion illustration and I tried to combine my loves of fashion illustration, storybook illustration and animation all into one. I follow a lot of artists, passed or still living, I try to combine what I like from each person into my own platform. 


Who are your muses?

First of all, I think its really evident that I love the Hadid's. I draw them all the time. I love their confidence, their wardrobe, how they carry themselves. I love to draw a strong confident woman. I also really love old hollywood images like Bridget Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Lauren. I find so much inspiration from their images.There is a fashion illustrator, Edith Head. She was a timeless fashion designer making the most extravagant kind of costumes for all the old Hollywood movies. She made Grace Kelly’s classic blue dress. She makes me want to keep drawing. 

What’s next:

I’m looking to work more on albums covers, movie covers, more fashion labels. I’m hoping that I will be able to share soon the project that I’m working on....