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5 Must-Haves in Fashion Illustration Classes

Presenting a design idea is the basic step in realizing a garment design. The blueprint of a collection’s design shall be presented in illustrations that depict how the attire looks and the detailed features too. Making such illustrations is one of the first set of skills that a fashion designer needs to acquire so that his/her ideas are best presented and used as the guide for fashioning the dresses that go on the display.

Every fashion designing course has a module dedicated to fashion illustration. It is meant to train the drawing skills, enabling the student to effectively illustrate his/her ideas for fashion wear. Many who learn fashion designing take up fashion illustration as their exclusive activity and excel at it. World famous fashion Illustrators like Paul Iribe, David Downton, Laura Laine and Anna Halarewicz are examples.

No craftsman can put forward the best work without quality tools. In illustration, tool selection is a matter of choice backed by experience. The more the features stand out in the illustration, the better.

Let’s look at 5 of the most important and commonly used tools in fashion illustration, used in any of the fashion design classes. The relevance of each tool lies in the details created by them.

The Sketchbook




The sketchbook is part guide and part canvas for fashion designing students to draw figures and add attire to it as per the conceived design. A standard sketchbook shall have in almost its first quarter the reference material on details like measures, cuts, fits and couture jargon. The balance portion has templates of body figures to be outlined upon, making it easy to work on the garment design overlay. The sections are categorized as for men, women and children.

Drawing & Sketching Materials


sketching materials


The choice of drawing and sketching materials will depend on the design and details of the illustration. Distinct styles of presentation will take form in the students over a period of time. The drawing tools include pencils, colour pencils, fine black pens and markers. Besides, good quality erasers and sharpeners will be needed handy.

Pencils are basic and chosen from a variety of darkness standards viz. H, HB, 2B, and 4B. These help the artist draw outlines smoothly and effectively. Feature enhancement is a subjective activity that is realized by a combination of different types of pencils. The H pencils works for thinner lines and progressive grades of B are used for darker accentuations and smudges. Brands like Faber Castell have a range of very dependable, quality pencils.

Developing a colouring technique will be a consequence of frequent sketching activity. The artist may begin to choose between markers and pencils as the sketching skills advance. Markers can give a smooth ink flow and could make sketching more convenient. But students would perfect basic sketching mostly with pencils.

Fine Black Pens


black pens


Fine black pens are used for outlining. Outline illustrations are often done with fine black pens and the same applies for fashion illustration too. The accentuations can be done perfectly with this drawing tool. Fine black pens are used extensively for its waterproof feature.





The colors and shades of the garment are portrayed with artistic detailing using watercolor. The purpose is to give a creative feel that is beyond the capability of sketch pens. Many fashion illustrations are enriched with watercolor detailing. Using watercolor, students can achieve definition for better presentation of their garment design.





After creating an outline, the artist can choose to work with ink or paint to make up the illustration. The use of a variety of brushes and brush-tip pens will be needed. Thinner brushes shall cover the smaller areas of the artwork and wider brushes can color broader areas of the illustration. The brush edge shapes differ too. Painted illustrations show class and expressiveness.

Putting creations on paper is an important part of fashion and design courses. Once presented on paper, these creations could be scanned and edited in an image editing software to be presented digitally. It is a progression in the stages from the raw idea to the final presentation.

Fashion illustration today is a hot career in itself and artists good at it are in high demand.

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