My favorite fashion illustrators
First of all, have done fashion illustration for a very long time. I started as a kid to draw girls in couture dresses or extravagant clothing. And, when my parents gave me a book about fashion drawing, I learned about techniques and proportions. I also collected some exclusive fashion magazines with designer drawings on the cover pages. In addition to that, I did a lot of research in fashion history. The work of the grand masters of Haute Couture like Dior, Lanvin, Poiret, and also Balmain, Balenciaga, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent really left an impression. Yet, many of you might think, fashion illustration is a shallow, superficial and not very significant section of art. Opposite to that, people who consider fashion and couture as art itself, see it as an artistic way to depict that art. Furthermore, the tradition of fashion illustration goes way back! The history of fashion illustration begins in the 16th century leading to a fascination with the dress and costume of different cultures. Read more about that in my post What is Fashion Illustration? The first fashion illustrator who really inspired me was Jason Brooks. Especially his colorful and for that time super modern CD-Covers for HedKendi caught my eye. On his website, I discovered a lot of amazing fashion illustrations. With this article, I want to show you my favorite fashion illustrators. They all have different styles and are very unique.
David Downton has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading fashion artists. His classically elegant, yet highly contemporary images have been a key factor in the revival of fashion illustration. David is a worthy successor to the great artists in his field including Gruau, Eric, and Antonio.
René Gruau was a fashion illustrator whose exaggerated portrayal of fashion design through painting has had a lasting effect on the fashion industry. Because of Gruau’s inherent skills and creativity, he contributed to a change in the entire fashion industry through the new pictures that represented the already popular designs created by designers in the industry. Gruau was successfully influencing fashion illustration for several decades.
Jason Brooks is noted as being among the first illustrators to pioneer and popularise computer technology in his field. His style has become instantly recognizable and although often imitated, the “Jason Brooks woman” has earned a distinct place in fashion illustration history.
Manolo Blahnik is a Spanish fashion designer and founder of the popular high-end shoe brand. In addition to that, his famous shoe illustrations became also very popular. When designing shoes, Blahnik creates colorful and detailed illustrations full of imagination! It seems he is an endless source of amazingly feminine shoe ideas. I own the book Manolo Blahnik Drawings and I still go through it very often.
Kareem Iliya is a New-York based fashion designer originally from Beirut. He is known for his beautiful silhouettes made of washed out tones and very simple shapes. The vibrant colors and combination of inks, pastels, textured papers give his illustrations a quite mystical mood. The beauty and grace of his subjects, women, men or accessories, often very close from runways are featuring in the most prestigious fashion magazines and brands across the universe.
Contemporary fashion illustrators to follow on Instagram
There are thousands of great fashion illustrators on Instagram and unfortunately, I cant share them all in this post. I am sharing four of my favorite illustrators. If you like them go to their profile and browse through their work!
Ekaterina Koroleva is a freelance illustrator based in Berlin. She is known for her distinctive female portraits and silhouette, layered expressively with a mixture of organic pencil strokes against colorful ink washes.