Getting Started With Fashion Illustration

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way saying that I am 100% right and that this is the only way. I document my process in creating a fashion illustration as well as sharing the knowledge that I continue to learn everyday.

Sourcing Inspiration

If you are like me, there are times when nothing seems interesting and you end up staring at a blank page for a few minutes before deciding that your jar of creativity is completely empty. It'd be worse if you spent hours sketching up something that keeps messing up, whether it's the extremely wrong proportions, too messy or you just hate the image overall. Then there comes the time when you're filled with brilliant ideas but you're too occupied with other things to do and worry about. There's so much to do yet so little time. And then there's that time that has finally granted your long agonizing wait for the perfect timing. You've got an amazing idea and you also have enough resources to start the process and complete it.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to develop an idea for anything. May it be for a fashion illustration, a painting, or even for a school assessed work. It's hard.
Here are FIVE ways I gather my source of inspiration:

1. Watch movies, TV shows and videos.

This must be the easiest way of sourcing inspiration for me because I do this on a regular basis. I may not watch a movie or a TV show everyday, but I do watch YouTube videos. I watch art videos, music videos, DIY videos, fashion videos, anything that comes to my interest. This way doesn't give me the best ideas for an illustration, but it gets me thinking of concepts that I could possibly turn into an idea. Inspiration doesn't necessarily have to be a picture. It could be a word or a phrase that you could interpret into an illustration. This lets you be as creative as much as possible. So go watch a million movies, your favourite TV shows and random videos!
I have a lot of small sketchbooks which are still empty

2. Keep a sketchbook.

This is actually very hard for me. I can never maintain a sketchbook, nor can I draw in it everyday, which is advisable if you want lots of creativity flowing. The thing is, a sketchbook is for your own viewing and keeping. No one else has to see what you have doodled in the pages, however it is optional. I sometimes draw the same figure again and again from my imagination and I use that as an inspiration. In my head I'm thinking, "I must really like this pose or this image, which means there's potential for this to be an illustration."
My "What I like" list

3. List down what you currently like.

I am huge on the listing down things as a way of sourcing inspiration. Not only does lists summarise what's going on in your head, it also helps you keep track of things you could possibly use as an inspiration in the future. As an artist that has a lot of those day where I just don't feel very creative, I make use of lists. I ask myself, "What do I like right now?" or "What trends are cool?" List anything and everything. It can range from the current fashion trends you're loving to your favourite food, favourite object, favourite quote.
A wall in my workarea with inspirational quotes and images

4. Gather images from anywhere.

Usually, once I've figured out what my inspiration is, my first place to go to is Google images. Just search of the keyword and gather as much images as much as possible. Another place I go to is Tumblr which can be very inspiring, but at the same time if can suck you into the world of scrolling through pages of photos. Endlessly. It can be such a scary place, but none-the-less a great source of images. I sometimes print out the images I've found on the internet and place them on the wall. It's always great to surround yourself with inspiration, whether it's your favourite artist's artwork, your own artwork or a random image found on Google. Decorate your wall with things that scream "YOU."
My mini bookshelf with my chocolate stash

5. Learn from the great masters.

My art teacher cannot emphasise this enough. It's always nice to find other artists as an inspiration to you, whether it's a concept of their artwork or their style and techniques. Just remember: DO NOT plagiarise anyone's work. It's much preferable to use their artwork as a way of learning and developing your own artistic style.


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