The Art of Fashion Drawing. Today we will discuss a brief history of fashion illustration…

The art of fashion drawing dates back to the sixteenth century. Way before Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and blogs, ‘costume’ books depicted regional and ethnic dress. From the seventeenth century through the nineteenth century, France and England produced a multitude of fashion magazines containing fashion illustrations. Among the most proliferate were Lady’s Magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book, La Belle Assemblée, Ackerman’s Repository of the Arts, Le Cabinet des Modes, & Gallery of Fashion. Within these early magazines, fashion plates depicted the latest fashion trends of the times. Popularized during the eighteenth century the production of engravings for the mass-market became more common as original engravings were more easily copied and water-colored using the latest ‘Couleurs à la mode’. The engravers were always craftsmen skilled in the art of printing or coloring. They were not fashion designers themselves and thus were left little room for personal style or creative vision.

It was not until the turn of the century that the illustration artists creating the fashion images began to recognize media attention and fame in their own right. The fashion figures they created were far less stiff in stature, and the image composition less forced. At the turn of the century, Charles Dana Gibson became well known for his light and airy ‘Gibson Girl’ pen and ink sketches. Paul Poiret used new colorful printing technology to add freedom of line and color to fashion illustration. Inspired by the ‘Art Nouveau’ movement, George Barbier was one of the greatest French illustrators of the early 20th century. By his 30′s, he held his own art exhibition and was a well-known figure in the art and fashion worlds, garnering jobs with theater and ballet companies as well as Haute Couture fashion illustrations.

It was around this time that the fashion magazines we know today came to the forefront, and there were some very influential fashion illustrators leading the way. Romain de Tirtof, known to the world as Erté is quite well known today for capturing the essence of the Art Deco period, having created over 200 cover images for Harper’s Bazaar, Illustrated London News, Vogue, & Cosmopolitan. It was also around this time that designers such as Coco Chanel, & Christian Dior began to commission specific artists to create their fashion sketches. Photography was becoming ever more prevalent as a method for which to disseminate the new ideas in fashion, but fashion art still dominated in the hands of artists and designers such as Cecil Beaton, Kenneth Paul Block, Andy Warhol, Antonio Lopez, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Francois Berthoud, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Tanya Ling, Ruben Toledo, Jennifer Lilya, and Kime Buzzelli.

At the University of Fashion, we have commissioned several fabulous figures and fashion illustrators to help you on your way to creating dynamic, stylized, and fashionably proportioned design sketches. Roberto Calasanz is a meticulous draftsman creating fine-art fashion illustrations that we associate with Alberto Vargas and Antonio Lopez. Roberto’s clients come to him for the disappearing art of the precision line-sketch and his flawless gouache illustrations. Fan Wu excels at teaching newbie fashion designers the art of fashion drawing. The fan brings to the table many years of experience teaching both at Parsons and the Art Institute in New York City. Fan teaches how to draw the female fashion figure in a variety of poses and in addition, demystifies the process of drawing hands, feet, and the face.

At the University of Fashion, our Illustrators Roberto and Fan make everything look easy! Once you’ve learned the basic rules, you will feel confident to experiment and later develop your personal illustrative style. Moreover, for inspiration, you can check out the Wholesale Plus Size Clothing that has a wide range of clothing articles perfect for learning more about the latest trends. 

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Chris Bennett is a travel enthusiast who wishes to publish his travel experiences someday. He is here to learn more about what people think about the different trends and happenings across the globe.