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Become a Fashion Illustrator: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Should you become a fashion designer? Read the step-by-step process to start a career in fashion illustration to learn more about the job and its requirements. View article »

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 0:55 Get an Associate or…
  • 1:34 Compile a Portfolio
  • 2:01 Gain Work Experience

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Fashion Illustrator?

Degree Level Associate's or bachelor's degree
Degree Field Fashion design, graphic design, or illustration
Key Skills Artistic abilities; creativity; detail-oriented; computer skills
Training Apprenticeships and internships
Salary (2014) $46,460 (2015 median for all fine artists, including illustrators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fashion illustrators use their drawing, graphics and digital skills to create images for fashion magazines, newspapers, designers, and apparel companies. They work with editors, designers, and creative directors. Fashion illustrators create sketches, design images and arrange layouts, and the content they generate may be incorporated into television, print and online advertisements. A successful fashion illustrator is a good communicator who has the ability to visualize a concept, work with an illustration, and produce a cutting-edge design. As of May 2015, fine artists including illustrators had a median annual salary of $46,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Get an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring fashion illustrators seeking to enhance their career prospects may consider earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in a variety of design fields. These may include fashion design, graphic design and illustration. Students in these programs may benefit from courses in anatomical drawing, digital illustration, typography and Web design. Graduates of these programs enter the workforce prepared to execute a variety of professional skills, such as communicating design concepts to coworkers, merging different types of images and creating Web based graphics.

Compile a Portfolio

Potential employers, such as fashion magazines, newspapers and designers, evaluate prospective illustrators on the quality of work in a professional portfolio. Aspiring illustrators may compile portfolios through experiences such as apprenticeship and internship programs. These beginning experiences may lead individuals to entry-level jobs where they can expand their professional portfolios.

Gain Work Experience

Fashion illustrators typically need to enhance their skills over time in professional settings in order to gain greater individual recognition and increase their job security. Some tasks that prospective fashion illustrators may need to master include conducting research into different areas, rendering drawings with computer-aided design (CAD) technology, and cooperating with designers and editorial teams on page layouts.

Remember that fashion illustrators create sketches, design images, and arrange layouts for fashion publications and they can develop their portfolios while gaining experience to advance their careers.

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