bob book coverStorytelling, which is used extensively by artists in the Entertainment Design field, is something which is also in Fashion Art. It may be more subtle than an animated character but it tells a narrative just the same.

I have been attending The Drawing Club for many years and I am thrilled to announce the new book of work by 66 artists from The Drawing Club in Glendale, CA. My spread is on page 127 and the book is available through Amazon starting Aug. 15, 2014.


Look inside the book –


50's French Fashion - charcoal illustration
50’s French Fashion – charcoal illustration



Fashion illustration tells the story of the woman or man wearing the clothes. Who are they? Do you want to know them? Do you want to be them? These are many of the questions a really great fashion Illustration can elicit. Fashion is subliminal messaging. The customer is “told” a particular story to entice him or her to BUY the object…and the message.


  1. Body language – physical movement or action driven by the cut and fit of clothing
  2. Physical distance (hoop skirts)
  3. Touch – feel of fabric on skin (Bridal satin as soft as buttercream)
  4. Sound – (rustle of a taffeta ballgown)
  5. Smell – most primitive – connection between smell, memory & mood (fabrics like leather and wool have a definite smell that may elicit an emotional response due to a strong memory)



The most intimate of design forms. The wearer changes the clothing to conform to their body and personality. The designer’s vision becomes blended with what the wearer brings to it. Symbols & Signs with cultural significance have specific meaning to a group based on cultural identity

The Wearer – puts it all together to produce an appearance and may assign meaning to that appearance. The Observer – May or may not read the meaning, and may have his/her own interpretation.




–Protection – environmental

–Modesty – cultural

–Attraction – biological drive to find a mate

–Identity – age, gender, lifestyle, group affiliation



GEST003URE & MOVEMENT are everything in fashion illustration.

The counter balance of the angle of the hips vs the angle of the shoulders is at the heart of it.


LINE, the most important part of many fashion illustrations tells the story of the materials.



Drawing clothing is not just about accurate drawing of details.

It is also discovery of the sensual nature of clothing: the “hand” of the cloth, the drape, reflection, transparency or opacity.

All these things are important for the artist to express either as detail or a hint of what that sensory experience is.

A thin delicate line evokes a lighter than air chiffon summer dress.

A thick textured line can indicate the heavy, nubby wool of a winter coat.



1960's theme

1960’s theme

The wrong COLOR can date an illustration faster than anything else. Pink for example comes in and out of fashion but it is always a little different, more warm or cool, high or low intensity, and always associated with a particular time period.


SHAPE: FORM LANGUAGE & SILHOUETTE are also indicators of a time period. The graceful curves of the hour-glass shape, especially in the 20th Century, tended to alternate almost every decade with the straight line rectangle or triangle. The hour-glass of The 1950’s Dior New Look gave way to the straight line geometry of the 1960’s.



PROPORTION Elongating the figure in any illustration gives that person more importance, attitude, and dominance of the space around them. Fashion students do however have to be careful to distinguish between hyper elongated figures to sell the lifestyle message and the reality of the proportions of the real garment for a real human.



FASHION that becomes associated with a particular time period and aesthetic becomes COSTUME once it is out of date as contemporary style. When a person dresses in a way that disguises who they are, so that they become someone else, it is considered COSTUME

Marie Antoinette - charcoal - from a live model

Marie Antoinette – charcoal – from a live model

FASHION is a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing, etc.: the latest fashion in dresses.

COSTUME is a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, that are particular to a nation, region, group, or historical period.




To see class demonstrations or more fashion sketches FIND ME ON: INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK

Also look for my DRAWING FASHION E-books on LULU.COM


About Justine Limpus Parish

Associate Professor - Art Center College of Design apparel design - Product Design Dept. costume design - Entertainment Design Dept Fashion Instructor: Mt San Antonio College Workshop instructor: Disney Consumer Products
This entry was posted in Books & Publications, ENTERTAINMENT DESIGN, FASHION & COSTUME ILLUSTRATION, FASHION DESIGN, INSPIRATION, PRODUCT DESIGN/APPAREL, TEACHING and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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