Illustrating fashion

Follow Cybèle as she develops a sketch for a spring 2008 accessories collection into a completed fashion illustration.

When working on a fashion assignment, it's important to dress the characters not in what is being worn at the time you create it, but what will be worn when the illustration is published and afterwards. So it's essential for fashion illustrators to keep up to date with the current and upcoming fashion collections and street trends.

For this tutorial, New York based illustrator Cyble scoured the spring 2008 collections online. Her interpretation of the upcoming spring fashions is that they are heavily influenced by surrealism and the lines of the 1930s - especially the shoes, which were made to resemble a range of objects from wings to teacups to fish. Taking particular inspiration from one pair of shoes from Balenciaga with heels like a birdcage, Cyble did some additional research into surrealist art and photography to get a further sense of the time period. Once you've done your own particular research, keep a folder of files to look at while working on the drawing. Then create some very rough scribbles of your composition, and begin your sketch, either on paper or directly in Illustrator using a Wacom tablet.

The main thing to remember when working on a fashion image is to make it attractive. When you look at it, you should want to be that model, be in her space, be part of her world, not just because she is beautiful or interesting looking or because her clothes are cool, but because the entire image creates a sense of desire. Fashion graphics are the glamorous side of a product that needs to be sold within three to six months. And the great thing about fashion is that it's so ephemeral and broad in scope that there is room for every interpretation, from hard and edgy to Japanese-style Kawaii cuteness.

Click here to download the tutorial for free