Fashion Illustrator: How to Become, Career and Importance

Fashion Illustrator: How to Become, Career and Importance

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India


What is Fashion Illustration?
In general terms, fashion illustration is defined as the art of drawing clothing (or maybe accessories, like handbags or shoes), either on its own or on a figure. Some fashion illustrators use digital compositions, while others follow traditional mediums, such as pencil, pen, watercolor, or marker. However, within that definition, fashion art illustrations can be seen very different from artist to artist, based on persons interests or skills. Fashion Illustrators are professionals who expertise in the art of sketching and drawing fashion ideas, concepts, designs, which helps to visualization of a garment. Fashion industry is very huge but specializing as a fashion illustrator is a rare and unique combination which will have more value when added with graduations and expertise certificates. In simple words, fashion sketching is an art via which fashion and design can be explained, demonstrated, and communicated.

Fashion Illustration
Fig: Fashion Illustration

Skills Required to Become a Fashion Illustrator:

  1. The very basic skill to become a fashion illustrator is drawing either l by hand or on computerized design (CAD) software.
  2. A sense of color, texture, visual perspective, lines and shading is important, as per personal style and creativity is concerned.
  3. Also, one needs to have good knowledge of fashion design and merchandising. In this career, one has to consistently meet deadlines and work under some pressure.
  4. If want to choose to be self-employed, one will need an enterprising nature for approaching potential clients, which may include magazine and newspaper publishers, advertising agencies, pattern makers and fashion designers. The ability to handle many business matters yourself would be a helpful skill as well.
  5. Once graduated from a fashion illustration program and built the portfolio, one might find work in a variety of organizations.

Importance of Fashion Illustration:

1. Visualization of the ideas:
With the help of fashion illustration designers can put down his/her ideas practically. This, in turn, helps in visualizing the ideas and concepts surrounding the design. The visual support such as diagrams and images are self explanatory and become a communication medium for the designer. Illustrations highlight the important details that need more focus and attention. It is seen that, the fashion design sketches have detailing regarding the apparel design, the fabric flow, cuts and pleats wherever necessary. This is considered as a foundation on which the entire planning and approach for the design of a particular garment or accessory are based upon.

2. Primary step of fashion designing:
Any path to deliver a fashionable product starts with a fashion illustration. Without it, nothing can happen. It is the initial picture of the entire process of designing. The sketch design is one of the initial process in the step-by-step procedure that leads to the final design. With this, it is possible to make changes related to the design on these figure drawings, and also be able to see if the design idea is working alright when put together in an outfit.

3. It promotes and generates an entirely new trend:
Through fashion illustration process, designers can practically put down their ideas on paper or computer. They can freely explore their thoughts and ideas. Due to, fashion design illustration helps designers to new concepts by introducing their unique and authentic ideas practically. This gives life to new fashion trends. The fashion illustration ideas help in propagating a new sense of fashion. The fashion croquis is an empty canvas for a fashion designer, which they can play around with and let their wild ideas run free. As this is the brainstorming process, you can minimize the wastage of resources as you can correct your design before starting!

4. It showcase the creative skills of a fashion designer:
Fashion designers need a place to explore their unique thoughts and ideas to public. A fashion designer illustration gives them space to showcase their creativity. They also help judge how the designs of a particular designer stand out from the rest. Fashion drawings make the potential of a fashion designer easily recognized. One can see where the designer is going with their thought process by looking at their fashion sketches.

5. It helps in finding new customers:
Clients are always looking for something new when it comes to designer wear. So it’s a given that when a new collection drops, they are expecting something they haven’t seen before. Fashion sketches and fashion illustrations can be released prior to their collection to build the suspense. It keeps the customers interested to see the actual product, while also giving a sneak peek into the collection.

Careers in Fashion Illustration:
A motivated fashion illustrator can select and build a career from numerous job roles mentioned below.

1. Fashion Illustrator:
The primary role of a fashion illustrator is to communicate through ideas that generates with drawing, painting, illustration, sketching etc.

2. Fashion Designer:
A fashion designer uses various designs to bring out aesthetics and natural beauty of various aspects such as clothing, footwear or accessories.

3. Graphic Designer:
The job role of a graphic designer is to manage photography, typography, illustration and iconography to communicate visually.

4. Textile Designer:
A textile designer has to follow a creative and technical process to create a design for fabrics.

5. Artist/ Painter:
An artist or a painter are very creative in nature and expresses his/her creative tendency through an art form. They are likely to sketch/draw/paint etc to communicate ideas and thoughts.

6. Jewellery Designer:
The responsibility of a jewellery designer is to design jewellery in a manner that attracts the client.

Advantages of Becoming a Fashion Illustrator:

  1. A fashion illustrator needs to be very creative, innovative and artistic all the time. The job of a fashion illustrator never gets boring or monotonous.
  2. A fashion illustrator gets an opportunity to experiment with his/her work a lot. There are no much boundaries or restrictions involved in this job. The uniqueness of an illustration gets appreciated.
  3. The job of a fashion illustrator involves a sense of satisfaction. After seeing the work getting accepted, used and appreciated an individual gets recognized.

Disadvantages of Becoming a Fashion Illustrator:

  1. A fashion illustrator had to work for long time to finish the work before the deadline.
  2. The pay scale or income extracted by a fashion illustrator is difficult to analyze.
  3. Sometimes, this job does not have financial stability as the income is directly proportional to the number of projects.
  4. Dealing with a client can often be challenging as they might come up with unreasonable requests.

Fashion Illustration is statement of fashion that is created with the help of drawing, illustration and painting.  These illustrations are often used in making of prototypes, clothes on the production line, editorial features, department stores, advertisements or fashion magazines. In the modern days, fashion illustration has played a significant part in history and culture; it has evolved over the centuries. Fashion designing and fashion communication has come a long way since the advent of fashion illustrations.


  1. Career as a Fashion Illustrator,
  2. The Importance of Fashion Illustration in Fashion Design,
  3. The future of fashion illustration in the 21st Century, September 20, 2014
  5. Drake, Nicolas. (1994). “Fashion Illustration Today (Revised Edition),” Thames & Hudson Ltd., London. (p 7).
  6. Paton, Elizabeth (15 September 2016). “Fashion Returns to the Drawing Board”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2020.

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  1. What are the Duties and Responsibilities of A Fashion Designer
  2. Scope of Fashion Designing Jobs in India
  3. 11 Tips to Become a Successful Fashion Designer
  4. Fashion Stylist: Types, Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Fashion Communication: Types, Trends, Strategies and Importance
  6. Fashion Journalism: Skills Requirements and Career Opportunities

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