Fashion illustrators are professional artists who create illustrations of apparel and accessories for advertisements, catalogs, Web sites and other media. Depending on where they work, fashion illustrators might work with designers, buyers or marketing and adversiting executives. Their goal is to render fashion designs on paper to match the client's desired aesthetic.
Fashion illustrators often work closely with designers and stylists to transfer a vision to paper. They may work as freelancers or have full-time positions at design houses, department stores, advertising agencies, magazines or catalogs.
Fashion illustrators can work in several different media, including paint, colored pencils or charcoals. In recent years, fashion illustration using computer software, such as CAD, has become increasingly popular.
Fashion illustrators have been around for hundreds of years and were commonly used to help translate a designer's vision to paper before photography. Vogue magazine used fashion illustrations on their covers exclusively until the late 1930s, when photographs began to appear on the cover of the famous fashion magazine. Today, photographs have taken the place of fashion illustrations in many cases.
While there is no educational requirement for becoming a fashion illustrator, a bachelor's or associate's degree from a fashion school may help you get ahead in the industry. Additionally, classes in art and design are helpful, as is experience using illustration software.
Fashion illustrators must keep apprised of fashion trends and have a firm grasp of how to accurately portray an artistic rendering of a garment based on a designer's particular aesthetic. Additionally, for freelancers, courses in business management may be helpful.
Fashion illustrators often enjoy a high level of flexibility as they work, particularly if they freelance. This is an excellent position for those who are creative and interested in fashion and design, and it often offers a competitive salary. Fashion illustrators can expect to earn about $60,000 a year annually once they are established within the industry.
Famous Fashion Illustrators
Perhaps one of the most famous artists to work in fashion illustration is Andy Warhol, who created fashion illustrations for Neiman Marcus as well as the magazines Glamour, Mademoiselle and Harper’s Bazaar.
Other past fashion illustrators of note include Paul Iribe Christian Bérard, Irwin Crosthwait, Lila De Nobili and Rene Gruau.
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