Projects can be very varied when you are working as a freelance fashion illustrator. If you were only to accept pure fashion illustration commissions, work would probably get a bit thin on the ground ! Fashion illustrations can be used for many things such as packaging, textile designs, websites and book covers among many other things. Most fashion illustrators have probably been asked at some point to create an image that is intended to be used on a fashion garment or a t shirt. Whilst the client could approach a graphic designer, sometimes they want a more illustrative approach, so they will turn to the services of a fashion illustrator.
Many kinds of illustration can make for a great t shirt design. Recently it’s become very contemporary to have a really cool fashion illustration on a t shirt. I was asked to create a line of t shirts designs recently for a new start up company called Feute de Mieux. Their main theme was very Parisian , using a monotone colour palette of black, white and grey, with a pop of red. One of the t shirt graphics in particular that I created was more of a straight fashion illustration. It was of a man walking along, sporting red sole trainers. As this was quite a figurative design, most of the skill sets needed to be a fashion illustrator were transferable.
For the red sole t shirt design the client wanted a mix of photographic images and figurative drawings. I purchased some background photographs on i stock for the car park scene, and then hand drew the silhouette of the man. I think this makes a great t shirt graphic. Its a good mix of photographic elements and hand drawing, and it works really well I think.
For the next two designs, the style of illustration itself became the theme. We decided to use a technique of creating tiny dots to make up an entire image. This was quite time consuming and a bit hard on the eyes, but I think the effect was very striking. I think definitely someone with a more illustrative hand would have been better at this kind of t shirt design than a straight graphic designer. This design was done entirely in Photoshop using lots of little dots. It was able to be screen printed onto the t shirt, using traditional techniques instead of digital. This is because we had used flat colour in the dots and no half tones or gradated shading which the silk screen finds hard to reproduce.
I was really pleased with how the above keyhole dot design turned out. It looks exactly like this on the actual t shirt too. We came up with another design in the same technique as we liked it so much. This next one was the face of a girl, smoking…. I agree that the smoking concept may not be very PC, but I do think that the end design looks very cool ! This one was a little easier to do, I think, as it was on a white background….. White backgrounds are far easier to create t shirt designs onto, than black backgrounds, as drawing with black onto white just comes more easily and naturally to most artists. Doing a white or grey t shirt design on a black background is always a little trickier.
I hope you liked looking at all these t shirt designs. And I hope I have given an insight to any up and coming fashion illustrators, as to how to expand their product base so it can be used for fashion illustrations. If you would like to have a look at the actual designs on the t shirts, go to the t shirt website, http://www.fautedemieux.co.uk/