Fashion Illustration: Behind the Desk


Fashion illustration has become a popular profession, as well as a growing interest in the art community for years now. Fashion in general has shifted from New York and other leading capitals, and has been spreading to other cities where fashion was never seen before. Being a college student in Boston has introduced me to new sites where fashion is slowly making a statement and place here in Massachusetts. All it takes is a round-trip train ticket on the MBTA line and I’m on my way to new inspirations, from the outfits of college student streetwear, to the new haute couture collection in a Chanel store window.

Explaining the process of illustration can be a little complex now that it has become so natural to me. I remember sitting at my desk for hours trying to think of something to draw and at times, I would get nowhere. I think what most artists struggle with, is trying to conform to the art and styles of other succeeding artists around them. In reality, what makes one successful is their creative touch on something they can only create themselves. It took me to realize this to finally produce artwork that not only came to my mind quicker, but has my own unique style written all over it.

For this piece below, I was inspired by the transition of Winter to Spring. Recently in Boston, we experienced the weather finally shift, which is a huge deal here in New England. I instantly smelled Spring in the air. The thought of beautiful pastel flowers blooming and flowy sundresses had me obsessed and instantly made me think of a floral-printed dress. Off-the-shoulder tops and dresses are in right now and I incorporated ruffles at the seam for added detail. From there, I just created another one of my models, and styled her makeup and hair as I would a real model. Looking at the finished product, I instantly pictured Mother Nature appearing like this on a beautiful spring day, and Mother Nature she was named.

As for the more technical process end of fashion illustration and its production, it all depends on the piece. I am familiar with and have used a variety of mediums: acrylic paint, watercolor paint and pencils, gouache, colored pencil, and markers. I start all of my sketches with pencil, I prefer mechanical, but can use any pencil in sight. I would then go in with my choice of medium, in this case, marker (Copic and ProMarkers), and fill in every detail I want colored in. After that, it’s time for outlining and refining any lines and smaller details, like highlighting and shading. If I think I want to add more, I’ll go in with a second medium until I am satisfied. From there, I would scan the piece and upload it to Photoshop and fix anything I think is necessary to complete my work. This is a general outline of what I specifically do, but there is no right or wrong way to art!

Speaking from an artist’s perspective, fashion illustration is a beauty to look at and therapy all within itself. Growing up, I’ve always loved fashion ever since I could remember picking up a pencil for the first time–I swear I was already drawing clothes at the age of five! Illustrating has always been my method of relaxation and escaping the world. Ultimately, you can draw anything you want and that right there is a lot of freedom…

This is my best advice for aspiring fashion illustrators: Don’t stop. Don’t stop exploring the world and don’t stop sketching. Let your mind control the pencil, and don’t become apprehensive if you mess up a million times; it’ll come to you when it’s ready.


Lianne Almeida

Fashion Content Writer

Fashion Marketing & Management Student