Where Art and Advertising Meet
How is fashion drawing different from other kinds of drawing? Many forms of drawing are simply for pleasure or for show. However, some illustration goes beyond this and can actually become part of a career that requires some technical skill.
Fashion illustration is a good example of this as it is the art of literally drawing the latest fashions and designs. It is the first step in designing a piece of clothing that the world has never seen. Fashion drawing is also featured on packaging, store displays, and other public spaces.
What makes fashion illustration important?
First of all, the saying that "art imitates life" is very true. In this form of drawing, you are actually copying the view of a model wearing certain items of interest, interpreting it in a specific way. Therefore, everything you draw for this purpose has to look realistic. This means the person in the drawing who is wearing the design has to look like a person or mannequin, and the clothes have to fit in a realistic way.
However, other elements can be combined with the realistic qualities of fashion illustration to make the drawings creative. For example, you can focus on a particular application of the clothing, drawing your model in action to advertise the versatility of the clothing. You could be whimsical with your work, making the model and clothing appear longer and leaner, even sleek, with long, thin marks on the paper.
It's important to remember that the model and fashion should still appear as they are and should not cross the border into abstract art, fashion illustration does involve a good deal of improvisational skill. While the model and fashion should stay true to their actual forms and not cross the border into abstract art, fashion drawing does involve a good deal of improvisational skill.
You'll rarely want to draw your model in a simple static pose. What you will draw is that same model, staring down at the river under the bridge, leaning on the fenced edge. To say this in another way, you'll never simply draw a dog in the latest pet sweater for the winter - the dog will be featured in a parade or maybe working in an office with his new threads. With fashion illustration, there are many possibilities for interesting topics to include in your advertisement.
For example, if you are drawing an ad for golf shoes, you could choose several topics for the fashion illustration. You could show it on the step side of a golf cart as the wearer climbs in, or you could show it on the putting green as the golfer knocks the ball in. You could show the golfer walking through the field or even taking them off for protective purposes before wading into a pond to fetch a lost ball.
The idea behind fashion illustration is to sell the subject of the drawing. In other words, your artwork should be unique enough to catch the eye of a potential buyer. Any time you can get creative in the presentation of the subject, you should, as it adds that extra punch to your already fine work. Always remember that fashion drawing is still art, and it requires just as much - if not more - innovation than many other forms of art in order to stay in the business.