"I became a fashion designer by accident. I loved to make portrait drawings when I was a teenager, and from that came the interest in what people were wearing and why they were wearing it." -Ann Demeulemeester

Becoming a fashion designer for fame and fortune is not a wise decision. It is important to state that the greatest designers of all time become prominent figures because of their love for the industry, their raw talent, and inspiring vision of what haute-couture should look like.

Money is a secondary thrill for the grand majority of fashionistas; the talent to create beautiful garments comes before everything else.  

To become a hard-working fashion designer in today's world, perseverance, outstanding abilities, and diligent work ethic is needed.

How can success in the fashion world be attained? 

It is very important to mention that fashion sketching is the foundation of a successful career in fashion; individuals who possess the ability to illustrate awe-inspiring garments are one step closer to seeing them become a reality.

Therefore, in today's article, Superprof will analyse the best fashion illustration resources currently available to help aspiring designers become skilled in their domain.

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The Best Books to Learn Fashion Sketching

ultimate fashion designs
There are loads of helpful books that help fashion sketchers become skilled in their domain. (Source: Unsplash)

Experts in fashion design were not necessarily born with an enviable talent; their designs are the result of hard work and determination. For many fashion illustrators, years of practice sketching coquis and different clothing items are necessary to possess any type of abilities.

Nevertheless, it is essential to state that skills can be learnt by consulting reputable books about fashion illustration. The following are some of the best books backed by experts in the fashion industry:

  • 9 Heads: somewhat of a classic amongst fashion designers, 9 Heads is a reputable guide to drawing fashion. It was written by Nancy Riegelman, and it is considered to be a "Fashion Drawing Bible." Beginners are always very pleased with this book since there is essential information about all types of fashion sketches. The most updated version contains all the necessary information from the previous editions plus new features such as learning how to use Photoshop for fashion drawings and how to master the art of drawing technical sketches known as "flats." Also, by the way, in case you were interested in starting with the best fashion sketching book, 9 Heads has the highest rating on Goodreads when it comes to fashion illustration books with an average score of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
  • Illustrating Fashion: Concept to Creation: published in 2010 by Fairchild Books and written by Steven Stipelman, the Illustrating Fashion book is a must-read when learning how to sketch different clothing items. It is beautifully illustrated and provides a step-by-step approach to drawing basic fashion figures known as "coquis", correctly identifying the distinct elements of a garment, and analysing the unique skills that must be honed to draw fashion illustration successfully. By consulting this highly recommended book written by Stipelman, aspiring fashionistas develop their own unique style.
  • Advanced Fashion Drawing: many students claim that this book, Advanced Fashion Drawing, provided them with more useful knowledge than their many years of studying at a qualified institution. Why's that? For example, after all the basics have been mastered and you are a "good" fashion illustrator, it becomes more challenging to become a "great" sketcher. Therefore, the Advanced Fashion Drawing book written by Bill Donovan helps intermediate fashion illustrators become experts; it's definitely not a book for beginners!

While other fashion illustration books such as Fashion Sketchbook, Illustration Now! Fashion, and Fashion Rendering with Colour are all highly recommended reads; the previously mentioned books will take you from zero to hero in no time!

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Helpful Software to Become a Skilled Fashion Illustrator

using software systems to create fashion sketches
Software systems such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW help fashion illustrators create marvellous pieces. (Source: Unsplash)

For those who prefer to draw virtual images that can be printed rather than study books to become a better illustrator, there are many software programmes that help fashion illustrators hone their skills to become experts.

Nevertheless, with the wide variety of software systems currently available on the market today, it may seem almost impossible to find one that suits your designer needs.

However, there is no need to fret considering the fact that when consulting reputable online resources, quality is guaranteed. Therefore, without further delay, the following are the best software programmes for fashion illustration and sketching:

  • Adobe Illustrator: used by professionals in various artistic fields, adobe illustrator has gained a reputation as being one of the best software programmes on the market. Boasting a 5/5 star rating from over 5000 reviews, Adobe Illustrator is best suited for students, photographers, and small business owners. Adobe Illustrator can be purchased off the Adobe site for £49.94/per month. Some of the features of Adobe Illustrator that make it perfect for fashion design include the use of CAD tools, fashion illustrations, pattern layout/cut/print, presentation tools, and colour matching. Can be installed on PC or Mac without any complications.
  • CorelDRAW: a proud competitor of Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW is another recommended design software that is very affordable, built for Mac and compatible with PC, and features integrated applications. Professionals using CorelDRAW can create signage, logos, illustrations, and of course, textiles. Fashion illustrators love CorelDRAW for its easy to use software and additional applications. For fashion design, CorelDRAW features attractive characteristics such as textile pattern design, design export, and pattern, colour, and art storage. A free trial version can be downloaded off the Corel website on any suitable Apple product.
  • PolyPM: literally designed and programmed to help individuals working in the sewn-goods or fashion industry, there should be no list that doesn't feature PolyPM when talking about highly recommended fashion design software. The polygon software systems are designed to help ensure that clothing is designed and manufactured in an efficient manner. Boasting fantastic reviews from past users, PolyPM includes unusual solutions such as ERP, PLM, WMS, PDM, CAD, Cut Planning and Production Scheduling. Available for use on Cloud, SaaS, Web, and Windows, PolyPM is very helpful for fashion illustrators who want to see their plans realised into something tangible and beautiful.
  • Autodesk Design Software: last but not least, on our list of highly recommended fashion design software systems is Autodesk. It is essential to mention that Autodesk is a distributor that features helpful software such as AutoCAD and Sketchbook Pro to allow designers to create art that can be eventually worn by others.

By purchasing one of the previously mentioned software systems, tech-savvy fashion illustrators bring the designs they feature in their portfolio to the next level.

Vital Websites to Browse When Learning About Fashion Illustration

the best sketchers
There are many websites that can be consulted to become a better fashion sketcher. (Source: Unsplash)

When learning to become a better fashion illustrator, there are three things that must be done to become more successful.

What are the three magical things that should be done? 

  1. Practice, practice, and practice
  2. Take classes to hone your skills,
  3. Consult the works of other fashion illustrators.

While it comes as no surprise that frequent practice and regular art classes are essential to becoming a better fashion sketcher, some might be confused as to why it is vital to research the work of other illustrators.

Isn't copying a huge lack of originality? 

Looking at other fashion illustrators work is not copying at all; instead, it's a source of inspiration for future projects. 

Therefore, without further delay, the following websites are worthy of visiting to acquire new techniques and admire the sketches of other fashion illustrators:

  • Fifi Lapin: recognised by Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle, Fifi Lapin is an intriguing blog featured on Blogspot. Most of the sketches are of Fifi, a rabbit, in Haute-Couture designs. The sketches of Fifi wearing some of the season's most delightful fashion might inspire amateur fashionistas to sketch clothing items in a more original manner. Also, it is worth mentioning that after viewing Fifi, coquis do not have to be only humans!
  • Teen Vogue: frequently posted articles on the Teen Vogue website about makeup, clothing, celebrity style, and movies make it an interactive online resource; however, it is also worth stating that the informative articles written about fashion sketching or illustration are outstanding. For example, an article about four famous fashion illustrators giving their advice on sketching clothing items is a must-read.
  • Fashion Illustration Guide: the Fashion Illustration Tribe website is a fantastic resource that features free tutorial videos about fashion sketching. Laura, the website owner, also offers online classes and a wealth of information on her blog that is frequently updated to provide all with more information about how to become a professional fashion designer.

We also suggest checking out the profiles of various fashion sketchers on Instagram to learn more essential tricks of the trade.

By consulting recommended books, fantastic software systems, and reputable online resources, the skills needed to thrive in fashion illustration are acquired. Remember, practice makes perfect; you won't become Karl Lagerfeld overnight!

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