Nina Edwards, Fashion Illustrator and Pratt Professor, Discusses Her Inspirations, Passions and Career Achievements

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

Nina Edwards is a fashion illustrator based in New York City. She currently teaches Introduction to Fashion Illustration, Portfolio and Special Projects, and Creative Careers at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). She earned her BFA in illustration from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and her MFA from California State University, Fullerton. Nina has been active in the fields of graphic design, editorial illustration, greeting cards, and social expression for over 20 years. Her expertise includes digital and watercolor illustrations and the integration of opposing elements such as traditional and modern, Eastern and Western, and art and technology into illustrations and designs.

Nina’s work has appeared in numerous publications, book covers, books and magazines editorials, licensing products, and art galleries. Her portfolio of clients includes: Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, New York Garment District Alliance, Scholastic, Bridal Guide Magazine, Girls’ Life, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan Magazine to name a few. Keep reading to learn about Nina’s inspirations, passions, career achievements and her journey as a Professor at Pratt Institute.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in the fashion world and where do you draw your inspiration from? 

Nina Edwards: My passion is to inspire and empower myself and others to live the best version of ourselves. I use fashion art as a vehicle to develop and elevate for excellence. I get inspiration from everything in life. Movies, music, museums, art galleries, other artwork, fashion shows, flea markets, magazines, internet posts, my children and husband, friends, nature, people walking down the street, my dreams, etc. I believe we don’t go looking for inspiration. It will come to you on its own, like happiness.

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

Pratt SCPS: What has been your greatest professional achievement and what would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in order to achieve it?

Nina Edwards: I was working full time as a senior graphic designer in a mid-size San Francisco advertising agency in the beginning of my career. My great professional achievement was to art direct and design collateral for huge brands including Starbucks. My biggest challenges in that position were my communication and presentation skills. To overcome my shortcomings, I joined a Toastmasters club where I learned and fine-tuned my public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, and gained many opportunities to network with professionals in the design and art licensing industries.

Pratt SCPS: When did your Pratt journey begin and what do you enjoy most about being an educator in this field? 

Nina Edwards: My journey at Pratt started in the winter of 2015, when I was invited to conduct an art licensing and intellectual property law workshop at Pratt. It was well-received and about 40 people attended. I enjoy sharing my professional experience with students from different countries and backgrounds and teaching and inspiring them to be better artists and designers. As a teacher, all my illustration, design, and communication skills are put into practice while I am teaching and guiding my students. I was born and raised in Taiwan and speaking Mandarin is an asset for me when teaching students from China and Taiwan.

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for creative professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers in the future? 

Nina Edwards: Know who you are, develop clear art styles for your brand, think outside the box, networking constantly in person and online, and never stop learning. Know who you are, develop a unique art style for your brand, think outside the box, network constantly in person and online, and never stop learning.

This fall Nina will be teaching Intro to Fashion Illustration in the Creative Careers program at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Make sure to follow Nina on social media to view her most recent portfolio work and to learn about her upcoming events and projects.

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Around the City: Online Galleries and Digital Collections

Courtesy of The New York Public Library, The New Natural History

At Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, we believe your art and design education isn’t complete without taking advantage of all the incredible art and cultural resources available to you in New York City.  Although we may not be able to currently visit museums and galleries to view exhibitions in person, there are many digital resources available to the general public at no cost. Whether your interests are in motion graphics and sound design, or fashion illustration and metal art, check out our list of must-view digital collections available online from a few of New York City’s most prominent cultural arts institutions.

1. The New Natural History by Richard Lydekker

The New York Public Library (Digital Collections)

The NY Public Library has an extensive digital collections archive featuring the work of prominent and historic writers, poets, photographers, architects, illustrators, painters and designers. The New Natural History digital collection is one of hundreds of digital exhibitions which features over 100 illustrations of wildlife from around the globe that includes pieces from John James Audubon and Mark Catesby to name a few. It’s an impressive collection of historic artwork. To view the complete archive of digital collections: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

2. Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Brooklyn Museum (Digital Collections)

The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum presents a dynamic collection of feminist art work from the last forty years. This digital collection includes over 200 pieces of work from feminist artists, painters, and sculptors featuring work from Faith Ringgold, Hannah Wilke, Dread Scott, Judy Chicago, Ruth Orkin, Dara Birnbaum and more. Selected pieces from collection include artist’s profiles and details about the art work and the artist’s inspirations and aesthetic. An example of this is Faith Ringgold’s piece, Early Works #25: Self Portrait which gives you the feeling of being at the Brooklyn Museum taking in the exhibition in person. To view the complete exhibition and more visit the Brooklyn Museum: The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Courtesy of The MET, Costume Institute Fashion Plates

3. Digital Collections: Costume Institute Fashion Plates

The Metropolitan Museum of Art  (Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library)

Fashion lovers and enthusiasts, if you’re yearning to view an astounding  collection of historical to modern fashion art pieces from the comfort of your home, make sure to check out the Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library digital collection at The MET. Included within this the digital collection is an extensive library of fashion plates, photographs, illustrations, and sketches, organized by date that goes as far back as the early 1600s. If you’re interested in learning more about early 20th century fashion take a moment to view the collection of costume fashion plates from the Women 1922 collection or the Menswear 1930s – Italian collection. To view the complete digital collection of costume fashion plates at The MET Costume Institute:  Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library.

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum, Russell Wright, Bowl

4. Decorative Arts

Brooklyn Museum (Digital Collections)

The Decorative Arts collection includes an archive of decorative pieces acquired by the Brooklyn museum over the past century. Featuring work from artists that include Edward Lycett, Peter Muller-Munk, and Vladmir Kagan. The collection, according to the Brooklyn Museum, provides a reflection on the evolution in “domestic life and design from seventeenth century to the present.” The more than 17,000 objects showcased in this digital collection include decorative pieces made from a range of materials such as silver, glass and ceramics. To see the complete collection visit the Brooklyn Museum’s website: Decorative Arts.

5. MOMA: The Collection

Museum of Modern Art (Digital Collection)

Indulge your love of contemporary art by perusing through the digital collection available at Museum of Modern Art. Their digital collection features digital versions of many of their current exhibitions which aren’t open to the public. A must see is their 1940s – 1970s collection which includes twenty three galleries of artwork focusing on individual themes and genres. This specific collection features digital versions of the following exhibitions: Action Painting II, New Monuments, and In and Around Harlem. Action Painting II is a fascinating exhibition which showcases the work of abstract expressionist artists like Helen Frankenthaler. View this collection and more on the MOMA’s website: MOMA: The Collection.

6. Sounds Collection

The New Museum (Digital Archive)

The New Museum has an extensive digital sounds collection which features a host of audio and sound recordings that includes artist interviews, performances, lectures & discussions, artworks, oral histories, and audio guides dating back as far as 1975. One of the most recent additions to their digital sounds collection is an interview with artist Carmen Argote who recently exhibited her work at the New Museum: Carmen Argote in Conversation with Curator Margot Norton. Explore and listen to the complete collection of sound types available online at the New Museum: Sounds Collection.

For information about digital art and design archives at Pratt Institute visit the Pratt Libraries website.  Subscribe to DESIGNTERRA to stay up-to-date on all the latest content.