Introduction – Drawing Fashion Accessories


Illustrating fashion accessories can open doors into the fashion world you didn’t even know existed, as well as providing an avenue for art and style you never imagined your work might travel. This book will help you learn a variety of studio techniques while also showing you the applications within the fashion marketplace where you can apply them. Some might argue that a designer does not need to know how to draw, but I have never known one who didn’t go further and command more value because they invested time in learning the disciplines of illustrating their craft.

There will always be a need for editorial illustrations in print and fashion exhibitions. This is the type of imagery that grabs your attention and fires up your imagination about the styles or trends it is projecting, as shown with the alligator handbag in figure 1. It is art meant to inspire and attract with the sheer excitement of an idea. Then there is the ever-present need to sell that ready-to-wear accessory, as in figure 2, making it look as if it were the only couture piece made for that one special retail client. Fashion art used for commercial solutions has the ability to tell the truth about an item while still bringing an idealized fantasy to its character, stirring up the desires that make it a shopper’s must-have. Of course, none of this would be possible without a manufacturer bringing the designer’s concept to reality. To accomplish that task with accuracy and specific individuality, a blueprint must first be made, as the flat drawing in figure 3 demonstrates. These three types of illustration each hold their own value in fashion and will always provide a way for a designer or retailer to bring uniqueness and identity to their particular accessory.

It is the artist’s challenge to take a medium, a surface, add imagination and their personal flavor to the mix, and stir the viewer’s desires to want the fashion they draw. With the media introduced and the step-by-step instructions in this book, our goal is to give you the tools necessary to become the illustrator you are longing to be, or challenge you to reach beyond your current skill level to master your art. This text will walk you through the basics of observing and styling fashion accessories so you can avoid common mistakes and possible rejection of your work. The step-by- step demonstrations will also instruct you in media choice and texture rendering. This book does not aim to teach you a style of art so much as help you develop in the direction of your own choosing and give you the foundational skills necessary to evolve your work alongside developing cultural trends.

Figure 1: Editorial version. This is a loose, dynamic, suggestive interpretation.

Figure 2: The retail version is a bold, idealized, and stylized interpretation.

Figure 3: The manufacturing version. This drawing is clean, accurate, and descriptive.