Fashion Illustrator Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a fashion illustrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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An associate's degree can help the aspiring fashion illustrator begin their career. You'll also need a keen eye for design and a creative mindset in order to be successful.

Essential Information

Suitable for individuals with an interest in fashion and artistic ability, a fashion illustrator career involves drawing clothing and accessories by hand or with computer applications. An associate's degree or certificate program in fashion illustration may help students obtain the skills required to succeed in the fashion and advertising world. Aspiring illustrators should know how to use computer design applications, and possessing a portfolio that showcases one's previous work is very helpful during the job seeking process.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in fashion illustration
Other Requirements Computer design software skills and a portfolio
Projected Job Growth 3% from 2014-2024 (all fashion designers)*
Median Salary (2013) $63,670 annually (all fashion designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Fashion Illustrators

Fashion illustrators create sketches of clothing or fashion accessories for advertising and marketing purposes. These artists typically create drawings using computer-aided drafting programs, but some may create sketches and drawings by hand. Fashion illustrators can work at ad agencies, design firms, pattern companies and publishing houses. Their drawings may be used to promote the latest clothing and accessories in magazines, newspapers, TV advertising, retail stores or online.

Education Information for Fashion Illustrators

Aspiring fashion illustrators can develop their artistic skills and learn new techniques by enrolling in fashion illustration certificate or associate's degree programs. Coursework in these programs may include anatomical drawing, fashion drawing, textiles, garment construction, model drawing, digital layout, typesetting, fashion history and illustration concepts. Students may also learn to use design software, such as Photoshop, and take general art courses in areas like photography or sculpture. Students may want to assemble a portfolio of their work to aid in their search for employment after graduation.

Career Outlook and Salary Information for Fashion Illustrators

Prospective fashion illustrators can expect to face major competition in the field. Individuals who possess excellent artistic ability, strong networking skills and previous design experience may have an advantage in the job market.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for fashion designers will experience a three percent growth between the years 2014 and 2024 ( The BLS reported that the median annual salary for fashion designers was $63,670 in May 2015, but these numbers can vary dramatically, depending on the specific place of employment. During the same 2015 reporting period, the lowest-paid fashion designers earned $33,170 or less annually, while the highest-paid workers earned $125,270 or more per year.

Remember that successful fashion illustrators have both an eye for fashion and strong artistic skills. While the pay scale for this profession varies significantly, you can help yourself earn more through education, experience and exposure in the field.

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