Janaury 2020 Issue
About the Cover Artist
by Meredith M. Deal
Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Ilene Robinette loved her Barbie dolls. “I especially adored the inside catalog small illustrations I found packaged with Barbie’s outfits. I wanted her glamorous city life, too, which was a far cry from my little girl life in Wisconsin!”
By age 10, Ilene knew she wanted a career as a fashion illustrator. Always drawing women figures and models, at age 18, she chose the Ray Vogue Art School in Chicago, where she learned to draw fashion. After graduation, in the mid-1970s Ilene worked in department store retail advertising in the Chicago Loop. “It was a good place to start as I got to draw all fashion ads.” Next in 1974, she landed a fashion illustrator position at Chas A. Stevens & Sons, a well-known women’s clothing store. “My ads were featured in the Chicago Tribune, various magazines and other publications. It was a big deal for me, and I loved that job.” As an apprentice illustrator she drew from models. Ilene also gained expertise with art forms other illustrators had no desire to draw. “I drew accessories such as jewelry, shoes, scarves, cosmetic bottles and sunglasses, so I became good at that, too!” This led her to becoming head illustrator. She worked until 1981 in Stevens visual merchandising department and fashion office developing the right “look and attitude” for garments and ads.
Additionally, as a free-lance artist, Ilene finished artwork for various scholastic publishing companies, children’s retail, “how-to” books, shopping bag art, street banners and catalog layout. She also worked over 15 years with ad agencies producing storyboards and presentations.
Using different media tools, Ilene likes drawing with pencils, pens, markers, brushes and with computers, which she finds ideal for filling-in watercolors.
It was in Westchester, Illinois, while attending scheduled fitness classes, Ilene first spied Pink Magazine. Her fitness instructor, Lonnie Alwin, would bring back a few copies from her time-share vacations on Hilton Head Island. “I saw a 2016 issue, noticing right away the magazine’s special vibe—so savvy and fashionable, the fresh bright covers. I felt a kindred spirit to the publication.”
And, here she is on our first 2020 cover. “Sassy and Short” is part of Ilene’s 2018 hairstyle art series created for the cosmetology industry. Combined from two separate artistic ideas, the model’s off-the-shoulder cowl-neck sweater lends interest to her face, hair and slightly sassy attitude.
Now a new retiree, Ilene admits she’s never bored. In her pursuit of maintaining happiness and in giving back, she volunteers serving women and their families fleeing domestic violence. She has also turned her interest to learning the art of gardening and dabbling in numerology. She is married to her best friend, Bob LeGros. And Ilene’s art continues with her creative fun personal projects and new watercolors.
To see more Ilene Robinette illustrations and artwork: