How to Become a Fashion Illustrator

by Helena  - June 29, 2016

First of all, if you are wondering if you can become a fashion illustrator at any age or life stage, the answer will always be yes! Don't ever give up on following your dreams even if they seem unreasonable or impossible at the moment. Hard work, persistence and moving forward will get you anywhere you want and help you reach your goal. Even if it seems there are just too many obstacles or like it is millions years away, don't quit because there is a solution for every problem, you just have to be creative and find it.

There are two ways to start with fashion illustration:

  1. Attend a school for fashion illustration (formal education)
  2. Be a self-taught illustrator

Schools for Fashion Illustrators

There are many great art programs, schools, colleges and universities that can give you high quality education, hands on practice and a degree that will help you with your job search. Enrolling into an educational facility can be very motivating and rewarding. You get to learn from great mentors in person, see the process in real time, have access to high quality written resources and have a chance to provide and get feedback from people around you in order to get better.

fashion school

An art school or program will offer you classic art courses and art history as well and this can be useful to discover early if maybe you are interested or better at some other fashion or art division.

You will be able to learn different techniques from different teachers and find your own unique style. The wonderful thing about being a part of an art program is that not only you will be guided each step of the way, but also you will have lots of encouragement, motivation and feedback. Another great thing about attending a school for fashion illustration is that you will be able to find work in the fashion industry easily when holding a degree/diploma and have the chance to do an internship.

The downside of becoming a fashion illustrator through formal education is that it can be very expensive to pay for art school or program. Not only the tuition are very high in this field of education, but also you need financial resources for art materials and equipment required for different courses.

Another problem could be that maybe there are no schools near your home and you are not ready or you cannot afford to travel across the country/world to enroll in one. This can be easily surpassed by enrolling in an online program that you can follow and finish wherever you are but at the same time have most of the benefits of formal education.

Become a Self-Taught Fashion Illustrator

1. Benefits

Although this seems as it could be an easier path to working as a fashion illustrator, it is most definitely not. There are many benefits of learning on your own such as low cost, flexibility in regards to time management, you can do it from wherever you want or wherever you live, no deadlines or constraints, you can go at your own desired pace, focus on the things that you find the most interesting instead of general knowledge.

2. Down Side of Being Self-Taught

But there are also many downsides of being self-taught, like having no exterior motivation or a deadline, so it is very easy to just give up or procrastinate. It is also harder to find a job when you don't hold a diploma in your field. This means you have to be better than your competition because you can only offer your talent and hard work when you have no formal education or experience.

become a fashion illustrator

Most self taught artists work as freelancers as it is easier to find short term projects than a 9-5 job without diploma. You wont have a mentor or colleagues for support or feedback, but you can find a teacher online that will provide a constant source of knowledge and become a part of an online community of like minded people.

It can also be very confusing to decide where to start when beginning with fashion illustration when you don't have a curriculum to help you learn quickly and effortlessly. Best you can do is research, find a good teacher with quality tutorials, read a lot and most important of all - practice.

Art Supplies for Fashion Illustration – Beginner Kit
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