Fashion Illustration - Four Ways

For this post, I thought it would be really fun to try doing a number of fashion illustrations, each in a different style. 

I browsed some fashion blogs and sites for inspiration, and formulated four rough ideas of different styles to try. Usually, all my drawings come out looking a little different depending on my mood, what materials I use, etc - this time, I really enjoyed consciously aiming for the four different styles.

Here they are:


This illustration was done with watercolours, which is definitely my current favourite medium. Watercolours can be unforgiving, but they're just so lovely to use (especially since I discovered a couple of years ago that watercolours come in tubes! and not just a palette... wow, such revolutionary).

The image this painting is based on comes from Vogue China January 2013. I was aiming for a really whimsical style, similar to Pippa McManus, with the sort of magical light that you can see in the magazine editorial. Although I didn't quite get there in terms of style, I'm happy with the result. 


This illustration was inspired by a Glamour France spread featuring this image. I was going for a gestural, fashion-y style with elongated shapes and that je ne sais quoi 'model off-duty' style. 

I just used a fine black drawing pen for this one, and made sure to add lots of detail with different textures .


This one is 100% inspired by David Downton - a legendary fashion illustrator with a style that has informed generations of illustrators. His work characteristically features simple, sparse lines with the perfect balance of light, shade and colour. His work can evoke a  detailed and complete picture, with relatively little close detail.

It's actually really, really difficult to express a whole, balanced image with just a few lines! I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to emulate Downton's style. I used watercolours (just black, shades of grey and red) to get those sweeping lines and shading, and added detail with a fine drawing pen.

This illustration is based on this picture for Fashion Gone Rogue


~Fashion illustration for the tech generation~ a gif! I really admire Zali of Miss Zali Blog, she's such a creative and talented young blogger. Her recent gif series inspired me to put to use my Photoshop skillz and turn the original illustration (below) into an animation.

I've been using Photoshop to 'colour in' my freehand drawings for a few years, ever since my computer-wiz cousin taught me a few tips and tricks. I really like the more polished effect you can achieve, and the ability to Ctrl-Z... *sigh* if only you could hit Undo when your real-life paintbrush casts a thick unwanted line over an otherwise pristine portait...

Fashion Illustration Tips (from a pleb, for the plebs)

  • All my drawings and paintings start with a pencil sketch.  Once I have the pencil sketch down, I erase the lines so they're just barely visible, and go from there with whatever medium I'm using.
  • Stylistic flaws and quirks are what makes art go from good to great - but for me, getting human proportions right (or at least, my intended 'right') is the most important initial step.
  • Each of these illustrations took me between one and a few hours each. But a great way to practice drawing is to get a photo you like and spend just five or ten minutes, with pen only, sketching it. I took life drawing classes last year, and seeing my own improvement was awesome. It works just as well on your own, copying from a photo. You might even get some fantastically quirky masterpieces!

~Giveaway time!~

If you'd like a print of one of my illustrations, just comment below which one is your favourite and you'll go in the running! I'll be giving away one of each style. I'll draw the winners at random in two weeks (Tuesday, 7th of October).

Visit our Instagram, @faithinfools, for another way to enter!

Reasons why this giveaway is far superior to any other blog giveaway:
  • We have very few followers. You have a very, very good chance of winning. 

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Hello there, we're Maddie and Ellen; two friends blogging about the things we find beautiful, fascinating and inspiring. We love DIY projects, fashion, food, art and music. Our aim is to never stop creating and learning.


  1. Oh my!!! Your illustrations are absolutely beautiful! You should be immensely proud! The third one is most definitely my favorite x

    1. Thankyou so much! Would you like a print of it? Since I ran my little ~competition~ and you are pretty much the only entrant... I am more than happy to send you one! You're in Australia right?

  2. Oh my!! Yes of course, that would be absolutely wonderful! I would cherish it forever! How would I go about obtaining one? I do live in Australia, Sydney to be exact!

    1. Awesome! Email me at :) Send me your address - or just say hi, and you can add me on FB etc first if you're not comfortable giving your address to a perfect stranger! We're from Adelaide, so it'll be super easy to pop an A4 print in the mail.