Fashion Illustration Now : The Rise in Popularity of Pencil Illustrations

Fashion Illustration and Digital Art in the Noughties

When I first began working as a Fashion Illustrator, there was more of a demand for brightly coloured, digital, air brushed fashion illustrations. Adobe Illustrator was used a lot, and most illustrations featured widely seemed to be a little static, and had a very computer generated look about them. A very good example of this kind of work would be from  Jason Brooks, the master and pioneer of digital fashion illustration. A bad example would be, well, I used to see a lot of bad examples about, that looked traced and contrived, with no movement or flow to them. Its seemed as if everyone had suddenly cottoned on to the computer as a tool for creating illustrations, and so everything had to have this super polished digital look to it. Hand drawing was so out !

Here is an example of one of my more air brushed digital Fashion Illustrations

Here is an example of one of my more air brushed digital Fashion Illustrations

Fashion Illustration from 2010 onwards : The return of more organic illustration.

Around about 2010, fashion illustrations with a hand drawn look started to become more popular. Although I used to love creating those glamorous air brushed colourful illustrations, the trend just suddenly seemed to go towards any kind of artwork that had a hand done look to it, whether it be in water colour or in colour pencil, or graphite pencil. To be honest, I found that the air brushed super glam fashion illustrations used to take a lot of time to do, as there was so much layering and attention to detail in them. As time went on I started to get more and more requests from clients to do more work in the pencil illustration genre. I also noticed that other artists like Jason Brooks  were starting to return to creating hand rendered drawings.

An example of my pencil Fashion Illustrations often asked for since 2010.

An example of my pencil Fashion Illustrations often asked for since 2010.

Fashion Illustration now.

It does seem now that the trend is still continuing towards anything hand drawn. Clients no longer worship at the alter of Adobe Illustrator. Artists and clients have accepted and embraced that the computer is nothing more than a tool, that can be used along side the pencil, or the paint brush. The computer is not the be all and end all, and illustration should not just be done on the computer for the sake of it. Of course, after being hand drawn or painted, illustrations eventually need to be scanned in, in order to be sent digitally to magazines, websites and blogs etc. Often an illustration is hand drawn and then scanned in and coloured in Photoshop. With the rise of more organic looking illustration, I have also seen a rise in the popularity of Photoshop versus Adobe Illustrator. I personally find Adobe Illustrator not very user friendly at all, and could never understand how such a rigid programme could be of much use to an artist. I think its great for technical illustrations, but I personally love the flexibility and the creativity that Photoshop offers me as an illustrator.

A perfect example of pencil illustration mixed with digital media.

A perfect example of pencil illustration mixed with digital media.

Which is better, digital or hand drawn ?

So there you have it , a little brief history of the popularity of digital artwork becoming eclipsed by a more rustic, more organic look from about 2010 onwards. Its possible the resurgence of the grunge look, after 2010 has contributed towards this trend too.  So, which do you prefer ? I must admit I do love a full on pin up style airbrushed illustration in all its colourful glory, but I can also  appreciate the subtlety of a soft pencil fashion illustration with a hint of tint on Photoshop. Certainly the latter now has a more contemporary and  modernistic look to it. Which do you prefer, dear readers ? Let me know your thoughts ! Until next time ……

Simply Be needed pencil Fashion Illustrations for their 2015 blog campaign.

Simply Be needed pencil Fashion Illustrations for their 2015 blog campaign.

Alison

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