What Is the Salary and Job Description of a Fashion Illustrator?

A career as a fashion illustrator will allow you to combine aspects of fashion design and art. You can find positions where you create fashion illustrations for your own designs or those that can be used in marketing, manufacturing, and catalogs. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Your main role as a fashion illustrator is to convey fashion designs through a drawing. You will create these drawings based on your own designs or concepts developed by other fashion designers. Designs may include clothing items, accessories, and footwear. The illustrations can be used in a variety of mediums, such as magazines, catalogs, advertisements, websites, and newspapers. You may work as a freelance illustrator or work for a fashion designer, clothing manufacturer, or department store. The skills required for this the job largely depend upon the type of work you'll be doing, but generally fall under the fashion design or art categories.

Important Facts About Fashion Illustrators

On-the-Job Training Not required, but acquired through work experience
Key Skills Creativity, computer competency, clear written and spoken communication, good judgment and decision making, attention to detail
Work Environment Apparel, piece goods, and notions merchant wholesalers; apparel manufacturing; management of companies and enterprises; specialized design services
Similar Occupations Art directors; graphic designers; industrial designers; jewelers and precious stone and metal workers

Education and Skills

In order to work as a fashion illustrator, one must have a clear understanding of both fashion design and art. While both skills sets play a part in the illustration of fashion, the development of said skills from either category might come about in very different ways.

Fashion Design Aspects

If you want to develop skills in fashion design to create illustrations of clothing, accessories, and footwear, you may want to complete a formal training program in fashion design. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are the most common requirements for this career, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). In programs like the Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Design and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, you may study topics that include fashion drawing, sewing, pattern making, computer design, and types of clothing design. You may also develop a professional portfolio, which can be necessary when pursuing continuing education or employment.

Art Aspects

If you will be doing more illustration work than fashion design, then you'll likely need to focus your training in fine arts. You can find related programs, such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. These programs may allow you to focus much of your time on studio work and develop a portfolio while perfecting your artistic skills. Natural ability plays a powerful part in the successful development of artistic skills.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to fashion illustrators, it does publish data pertinent to both fine artists (including illustrators) and fashion designers. The BLS predicts that the employment of illustrators and other fine artists will likely grow by 3% between 2014 and 2024, while job opportunities afforded to fashion designers will also grow by three percent during the same time frame. Fine artists and illustrators were reported to have earned median salaries of $43,890 in May 2014 by the BLS; the same source indicated that fashion designers earned a median of $64,030 a year.

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