Get Started with Fashion Illustration

It can be difficult to identify what makes a good fashion illustration. It could be the confidence of a line, an unexpected approach, a bold color scheme, or even a fascinating background. Whatever your style, try these seven suggestions to improve your fashion illustration skills.


1. Get to know the materials 

Most specialised art supply shops allow you to try the different materials on paper. We all have preferences when it comes to materials. Pencils, fine liners, watercolours, charcoal, pastels and ink are the most common, but use what works for your vision. Your choice of paper is also important and will depend on the project you’re working on. Grainy, absorbent, transparent, heavy or smooth are just a few of the paper options you can consider. The quality of the materials do matter. But your budget should not stop you from creating wonderful work. It is possible to illustrate with post-it notes or anything you can draw on - get creative! 


2. Try life-drawing classes 

A great way to develop your skill in a fun and informal setting. Don't worry if you're surrounded by accomplished artists, use it as an opportunity to gain the skills you need. Take your time and learn to enjoy your own development and the simple act of making a mark on the page! Try to find local groups online, or in your local resource centre, library or notice board. Some classes supply basic materials like paper and charcoal, but if you have preferred materials bring them with you.


3. Follow illustrators on social media 

Take a look through Vogue or Dazed and Confused websites for their list of fashion illustrators to follow on Instagram. My personal recommendations are: the Unskilled Worker, Julie Verhoeven and Cecelia Carlstedt. Do some research to find the ones that speak to you and learn from them.



4.Try some mixed-media approaches

Collaging is a creative and engaging. You can create magical work by combining textiles with drawings, photographs and anything else that inspires you. Do not be afraid of mistakes and failures as they can lead to genius.


5. Go digital

Try editing your illustrations or creating a unique pattern using Adobe Creative Suite. Don't worry if it seems overwhelming at first, there are loads of online tutorials to help you get started. It's worth investing the time to learn these skills as they will be useful in your future design work.


6. Visit galleries and keep an eye on trends

It is important for any designer to be aware of and follow trends in other art mediums eg. fine art, music, theatre, graphic design and film. These all form the cultural fabric of the world to which we can contribute. This visual culture is one that you will both draw inspiration from and contribute to through your own work.


7. Have a sketchbook on the go and draw, draw, draw 

You can practice your drawing skills everywhere and anywhere. Doodle, draw from observation, draw figures, fabrics, buildings - it all helps! Keep a sketchbook with you wherever you go and draw whenever inspiration strikes.

The greatest illustrations are those which tell the story of the designer’s own ethos. While it can take a time to achieve that as a beginner, it is possible with a little determination and a lot of practice. Keep your illustrations to follow your development and recognize how far you’ve come. Tell us your tips for developing a fashion illustration style.


The links included here are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site or for any content on subsequent websites, nor does the inclusion of these links constitute our endorsement or an approval of any products, services or opinions stated.

Add new comment

Written by: Diana Todorova

We're here to help

Our experienced team can answer any questions you have about our courses and the payment options available. We can also advise you on the materials you need to get started. Whether you want to change career, upskill, or simply learn the basics, we have the right course for you.

Just contact us and we will arrange to call you back.

Contact Us

American Academy of Fashion Design ©2024