How to Get a Job in Fashion Illustration and Make Money!

How to Get a Job in Fashion Illustration and Make Money!

From the Catwalk to the Red Carpet, FASHION is everywhere. And if you can draw, and you love fashion, then a job in fashion illustration can be yours. But how do you get started? What kind of jobs are there?  Fashion illustration, more than any other media arts field, requires a self starter. I always have great gigs, freelance and full time posted on my job site ( click the link and scroll down -) And yes you can work at home ( if that’s your style). Finding an internship or job in fashion illustration is a challenge, but not impossible. Here are my tips and suggestions to get a great start:

Educate thineself first. I actually MAJORED in, and got my BFA in Fashion Illustration back in the day from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia.  As a freelance fashion illustrator working everyday in Los ANgeles for global brands, you can trust me on this. While you don’t have to have a degree, I recommend studying.  I had great life drawing classes, as well as the opportunity to study techniques with amazing professors and professionals.  Learning about proportion ( nine heads long, people) and fabric draping while studying art history and current trending ruled.  But as soon as I graduated, fashion illustration was replaced with photography and seemed to disappear altogether.  What was a stylish student to do? I had to think (and draw ) fast on my feet (which of course were in fabulous heels)!  First stop was finding a fashion designer to work with.

Fashion houses and manufacturers are a great place to start.  Fashion designers need illustrators. From mood boards to style sheets, from flats to conceptual croquis, the big boss can use help making modifications and suggest changes to the original line design.  While established designers are a best bet, sometimes scouring the trades ( or even craigslist ) to find an up and coming designer to collaborate with can fatten your portfolio and marketing potential for future jobs.

Advertising agencies need creative people with artistic flair. If you’re great at drawing figures as well as backgrounds, you could cash in as a comp artist, roughing out print ads or perhaps tossing together a few storyboards. A good layout artist is super valuable.

The video game industry has been kind to me. These studios definitely have a place for people who can help conceptualize costumes and characters. If you have the flair for fantasy, this is a great idea for you.

Fashion websites need fashion illustrators. And fashion magazines need fashion illustrators.  Most fashion houses and fashion magazines are always on the lookout for other people who can contribute to the look of their website or publication. Scour the credits in magazines and send a promo card to everyone’s attention.  Read the about us on websites and use the contact us form to inquire and link to your samples.

That reminds me. you MUST have an online presence and portfolio.  I don’t care if it’s Behance, deviantart or even a Facebook page for your art.  Just get it going… now.

A great way to cash in, with or without having a full time career in fashion illustration is selling your fashion illustration online.  The little black dress you see here in the post sells really well on

So kids, study the masters, like David Downton and Antonio Lopez and practice.  Read ( er, i mean look at ) fashion illustration books.  Let’s get you out there!  And remember to check out my job board– you can even key in geographical areas if you want something close to home or leave it blank for a global search.  Check back in with me and let me know your progress!

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  1. So lets say you illustrate pictures of things off the runway and sell prints? Wouldn’t that be a copyright infringement?

    • Renee Reeser Zelnick |

      Intellectual Property, the law and peoples opinion are like shifting sands in the desert.
      It sounds like your sample point is an interesting one. I leave that to the lawyers 🙂
      Perhaps partnering with the fashion designer in an endeavor like this is the safest solution?
      Thanks for popping by Roxie 🙂

  2. And what if you live in a country without fashion culture? (like me)
    I´ve been working as Art Director in Advertising, but it´s like wasting my gift of drawing 🙁

  3. Yevgeniya Nagorna |

    Dear Mrs,
    I study Fashion at London College of Fashion and Im doing Fashion Illustrations, I was wondering were can I get a feedback from spetialist, weather Im doing well or I need to change something and maybe I can get work somewhere?
    Thank you

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