Fashion Illustrator

A fashion illustrator is an artist who is well-versed in graphic design, as well as traditional drawing. Fashion illustrators combine their passion for art with their love of fashion in an exciting, high-demand fashion job. As a fashion illustrator, you will work with designers and art directors to create designs for apparel and layouts for product merchandising. Your work will not only help the designer to create garments, it will also appear on Websites or print publications to present products to the general public. In this respect, you will play a key role in the fashion design process.

Fashion Illustrator Training & Education

Sketching | by Martin Howard via Creative Commons.orgBeing a skilled artist alone may not be enough to land you a job as a fashion illustrator. You will need to have advanced technical skills with programs like InDesign and Photoshop, it is important to seek higher education through fashion school or other institutions that offer relevant training. Either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in the following areas could qualify you as a fashion illustrator:

  • fashion illustration
  • fashion design
  • graphic design
  • visual arts
  • fine arts

Fashion Illustrator Job Opportunities

As a fashion illustrator, you will work closely with other industry professionals- like fashion designers and art directors—to produce artistic, unique, and creative visual images with the aid of traditional and digital media. Your primary task is to develop eye catching drawings with the goal of boosting the interest of the buying public in a particular brand or line of fashion accessories. Your creations are used in print ads, television commercials, and online ads.

Although your primary tasks are to create sketches, layouts, and images, you are still expected to fulfill other duties. To give you an idea of what this looks like, the following are all components of working as a fashion illustrator:

  • Create designs for garments, shoes, fashion accessories, and other apparels with the use of imaging software programs like Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Bring the vision of the fashion designers to life through the illustration of the actual design plan
  • Sketch drawings using various mediums including paint, charcoals, colored pencils, and computer software programs
  • Produce drawings and layouts that will be used in catalogs, magazines, brochures, flyers, commercials and other advertising media
  • Communicate fashion ideas through sketches, layouts, drafts and drawings
  • Select the appropriate color, sound, and animation that will go well with the existing fashion concept
  • Develop fabric patterns and designs that will be used for manufacturing garments and wardrobes
  • Maintain open communication with the fashion designers, art directors, and buyers 

Fashion Illustrator Salary

A fashion illustrator is a great career for highly motivated and creative people. Like most other professions, the amount of money you earn depends on experience and level of education; in many cases with the fashion industry, the more respected your school, the better. On average, fashion illustrators earn anywhere from $29,806 to $63,104 annually. The lower part of this range tends to be occupied by entry-level positions, while the upper end is taken up by professionals with more experience under their belts.

If you are an experienced, top-level fashion illustrator with a fabulous fashion degree from a top fashion school, then there is a good chance that you can earn $60,000 or more each year, it really just all depends on how long you have been doing your job, who you work for, what your educational background is, and how gifted you really are.

Fashion Illustrator Schools

Pursuing a career as a fashion illustrator means not having a specific educational path to follow; however, the most eligible candidates for fashion illustrating positions are those that have completed an Associates or Bachelor’s degree in fashion design, fine arts, visual arts, graphic design, or fashion illustration. Individuals with highly developed drawing skills in addition to knowledge of computer aided design are the ones most capable in this type of role. Aspirants should also be creative and innovative with their ideas.

Beneficial coursework for fashion illustration are:

  • Fashion Interpretation and Life Drawing
  • Illustration of Live Models
  • Accessory and Figure Composition
  • Fashion Image Drawing
  • Anatomical Life Drawing
  • Advanced Media Color Rendering

With these courses you will be able to develop the necessary skill for success in the role as fashion illustrator. It is also highly recommended that you gain some work experience through an internship or apprenticeship prior to pursuing a professional role in the field. Fashion illustrating jobs are highly competitive and few in number, so the more experience you and the better the education, the more likely you are to land your dream job.