Technical Sketches:A very useful kind of Fashion Illustration

When being commissioned any kind of fashion illustration, its tempting to always want to just do the fun, flowery, artsy kind of stuff : projects such as full length fashion illustrations, or fashion portrait illustrations, for example. But there is another type of illustration that is often needed by a client. Its a little less exciting, and a little less fun, but hey, it still  requires a skill and it can provide an illustrator with bread and butter work. This is the technical illustration. As a fashion illustrator I have been asked to do technical sketches for clothing sample packs, or for presentation boards, or for actual diagrams. Various things often need brochures to go with them that explain a bit about the product and how it is used, and that is where a fashion illustrator may be called upon.

Diagram Illustration for products.

Hair products, make up and beauty products often need illustrations to demonstrate to the customer how the products work. Here are some technical diagram illustrations  I did for LA based clothing company Bombshell Sportswear that were required because the jewelry features of the garment needed explaining in terms of how they fastened and unfastened.

A technical illustration for clothing

A technical illustration for clothing

Technical Clothing Illustration

Technical Clothing Illustration

Technical Illustration for Design Presentation Meetings

Sometimes a new product needs to be illustrated in a technical way, to be put on a design illustration board, to show a client in an important meeting. Often with new products that require financial backing or investment, a prototype has not been made yet and an illustrator is asked to do a sketch of the product. Here is one I did for a company called Pine and Grove that were developing some wooden sunglasses that had not been developed yet, but they needed technical illustrations to show to various people involved in the development of the product.

Sunglasses Technical Sketch

Sunglasses Technical Sketch

Digital Programmes to use for Technical Sketches.

When choosing the software to use for a technical illustration, it depends on what the illustration is going to be used for. If its for a beauty product, maybe you need to do a brush stoke hand painted line drawing, and scan that in and apply some water colour techniques on Photoshop. If its for a very technical drawing, or say a brand logo , which needs to be created in large sizes as well as small, perhaps a vector programme like Adobe Illustrator would be better, as that programme does not lose resolution as the artwork gets bigger. In general I find that Photoshop often give a more stylish, more organic and hand drawn or painted look, whereas Illustrator is very easy to use for diagrams, and really tight technical drawings.

An example of a technical garment done on Photoshop

An example of a technical garment done on Photoshop

A sportswear technical clothing illustration

A sportswear technical clothing illustration

I hope you have enjoyed looking at some of the technical illustrations I have provided for clients. I think as an alternative to more artistic projects, technical fashion illustrations can give an artist good experience working to a tighter, more prescriptive brief. I think its always good to do work that challenges you, so I would recommend taking on both types of projects, artistic and technical. Which types of illustration do you prefer to do ? I would love to hear your feedback !

Alison

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