Article on Fashion Illustration and Fashion Storyboards
A few decades ago it seemed that fashion illustration would become less and less important. If you’ve tried illustrating in pencils or paint you’ll know why: it’s difficult to make changes with traditional media. Erasing pencil lines may leave marks. And changing the color of a sketched-out garment is nearly impossible. For this reason, fashion drawing often used to come at the end of the process, after the designer knew exactly what each garment was going to look like.
In the last ten years, however, modern computer technology has not only revived fashion illustration, but it has made it an increasingly essential part of the fashion design process. Probably every fashion company now uses fashion CAD. Fashion illustration has become so popular in fact that its influence can even be seen in magazine advertisements for everything from cosmetics to dating agencies – see if you can spot any next time you look through a fashion or lifestyle magazine.
More importantly for the designer, fashion illustration now comes at the beginning of the design process. Or it can be used again and again, while developing a collection over a few days, weeks, or longer. Harper Arrington’s Storyboard Creator along with Digital Fashion Pro allows designers to work and rework illustrations, just as they might rework fabric on the stand. Being able to quickly and easily change the shape or length of the skirt, body, sleeve, or neckline, etc., means that designers are able to ‘play’ with the designs, come up with new concepts, and refine their design ideas. Fashion is a serious business, but fashion drawing should be fun. Its main purpose is to get the ‘creative juices’ flowing.
Most designers will develop several basic shapes for each collection, while changing the fabrics, textiles prints, and length of garments. One T-shirt might have a round neck. Another might have a V-neck, while using the same body. Or the designer might want to adapt a pencil skirt, shortening the length and changing details such as using buttons instead of a zipper. T
Another important feature of The Storyboard Creator is that it allows designers to easily change the color and fabric of the garments they are illustrating or experimenting with. In earlier times fabric swatches were often stuck on the paper, alongside the illustration. If fabric swatches weren’t available to the designer, illustrations didn’t always convey what the garments would be made from. Today, designers can scan and drop in their own fabrics, or work with The Storyboard Creator’s Digital Fabric libraries – including knit, denim, leather, satin, and plaids. Unlike hand-drawn illustrations, those created with The Storyboard Creator give you a great idea of what the manufactured garment will look like.
The Storyboard Creator also enables designers to show their garments on posed male or female fashion figures, and as color or black and white flat technical illustrations. If a designer has one shirt style to be made in several different colors as well as with embroidery or textiles print, he can lay these out as different technical illustration, or ‘croques’, that show the front and back. For garments with a small detail such as embroidery, designers will also want a separate, real-size illustration. A jeans’ pocket, with digital denim fabric, stitching, and embroidery, will show exactly what the finished product will look like. Some large fashion design companies will print hundreds of croques per season. These might be used to show manufacturers exactly how each garment should be produced. Or so that the proposed collection can be discussed at design meetings. And they also help design companies catalog each season – something every designer should do.