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Fashion Illustrator - Fashion Career Profile

Written by FS StaffNovember 9, 2011
Fashion Illustrators

What do Fashion Illustrators do? Where do Fashion Illustrators work? FS takes a look:

About Fashion Illustrators

Fashion illustrators are part fine artist, part fashion designer. They create illustrations for designers, magazines, advertisements, and retailers using everything from pastels and pencils to oils and computers. Fashion illustrators may work for a design studio or retailer, or they may be self-employed.  

Fashion Illustrator Jobs

Fashion illustrators work with designers and art directors to create visual images of clothing, shoes, handbags, hats, and other accessories. They sketch, paint, and use computer-aided design (CAD) to convey the designers or directors ideas clearly. Some fashion illustrators work with animation, color, and sound to accompany visuals, while others actually develop the designs and patterns that they illustrate. 

Fashion illustrators may work for department stores, retail chains, clothing manufacturing companies, textile companies, designers, design studios, production studios, art studios, or academic institutions.

Fashion Illustrator Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaried illustrators averaged $42,650 in 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,230 and $60,650 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,410. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,780.

In comparison, fashion designers overall averaged $61,160 in 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,150 and $87,120 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,780. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,150.

Programs to Consider:

Becoming a Fashion Illustrator

Fashion illustration is something you just can’t fake. You need talent and solid skills to make it in this industry. The skills needed to become a fashion illustrator are tough to sharpen without formal training. As such, most employers require a bachelor’s degree in fine art, illustration, or fashion design with a focus in illustration. Fortunately, 300 NASAD accredited postsecondary institutions offer art and design programs. Most, if not all, offer internships that can help you gain valuable hands on experience as a fashion illustrator. In addition to experience and a degree, employers require a substantial portfolio of your best work.

Job Trends for Fashion Illustrators

Fashion illustrators can expect as fast as average job growth for the 2008-2018 decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of artists, including illustrators, is expected to grow 12 percent through 2018. The Bureau also reports that an increasing reliance on artists to create digital or multimedia artwork will drive growth.