Must-Have Materials Every Fashion Illustrator Needs
Updated: Oct 9
As a fashion illustrator, your work may end up losing all meaning if the designs in your head don’t translate into the paper the way desired. And, that is only possible with the right technique, creativity, and lastly, the necessary supplies. Let’s call this your very own fashion illustration kit, which is equipped with the most basic essentials you need to master your craft and render quality work.
Because let’s face it. You’re not simply sketching out drawings as a hobbyist, these sketches and colouring tasks are your job as a professional and they all need precision, tidiness, and a sense of liveliness. And, that is possible with your quality illustration kit that is curated especially for that very purpose. So, without any further ado, here are the must-have materials every fashion illustrator needs.
Source: Fashionista Sketch
1. A Mechanical Pencil
Yes, it is true. An artist can create a masterpiece with anything, but hey, these mechanical pencils are made for a reason. Designers and artists swear by these pencils and for good reason. As opposed to a traditional pencil that needs to be sharpened every now and then, a mechanical pencil is a god gift with its consistent balance and weight.
Secondly, its sharp tip serves as a boon for detailed and intricate sketches and drawings, making your designs a whole lot easier to enhance and neat to look at. Moreover, because all they require are the leads to insert, they are also more sustainable and hence, economical. Our top recommendations for a mechanical pencil would be by Staedtler, Camel, Carlin, or Faber Castle. Get them here: Staedtler Mechanical Pencil: https://amzn.to/3xPD0s0
2. Pen Eraser
This eraser has been a game-changer for our Designer Didi to get through the small, inaccessible areas while erasing any artwork. As an illustrator, your designs may have many details and overlapping lines and drawings. And, when it comes to erasing a part of it with a normal eraser, you may end up erasing a bigger chunk of your sketch. Not to mention, the many effects on the paper - the fading and tearing.
With a pen eraser like TomBow Mono Zero Eraser, you can easily highlight or erase the tiniest of detail without messing up the rest. Its pen-style lets you erase with precision and neatness, keeping the rest of your work undisturbed and hence, promising quality to you. Get them here: Tombow Mono Eraser: https://amzn.to/3d907G6
3. Paper Stumps
For those who are just getting started and are wondering what paper stumps are, well, to put it simply these are sticks of soft paper with pointed ends. These are essential for artists and illustrators as their blending tools. They are often used to soften sharp or rough edges, blend and smudge large areas or even smaller ones with the tips. These varying sizes of sticks are a must-have! They can certainly make blending a whole lot easier and hassle-free and also help in gradation and different textures. Get them here: Paper Stumps: https://amzn.to/35KEcAS
4. Water-Based Pencil Colours
As a fashion illustrator, your job is to design apparel, jewellery, or accessories. And, most of these require a great deal of detailing and precise lines, angles, and designs, which can get tricky to colour with paints. Sure, pencil colours are the way to go, but can they add as much vibrancy and life to your designs? Now, that’s where water-based pencil colours step in. Our top favourite and recommendation are the Staedtler Luna Water-Based Pencil Colours! Use the set of colours to fill in your designs and simply use a suitable water-dipped paintbrush over the stroke of pencil colours to bring them to life.
Source: Fashionista Sketch
5. Prisma Premium Wax Colour Pencils
Another must-have in the colour pencil department! Wax colour pencils are slightly on the steeper side when it comes to affordability, but they are worth every penny! Our favourite is the Prismacolor Premier Wax Colour Pencils. Why do we love them?
Well, besides giving a seamlessly smooth glide on the paper, these colours also give a rich and striking pigmentation. They work lightly on the paper while producing a buttery and saturated finish that is visually beautiful too. We say, these wax pencil colours deserve a space in your illustration kit as your go-to for those last-minute mixing, layering, and blending touches. Get them here: Prisma Premier Colour Pencils: https://amzn.to/3h4pXvO Staedtler LunaColour Pencils: https://amzn.to/3dbqrPH
6. Sigma Micron Pens
Consider this as a go-to as well as a must-have for your illustration hours. The Sigma Micron Pens come in varying thicknesses, sharp tips, and a fade-proof, that promise to be by your side and your designs’ side too. Use these pens for the outlines of your designs and the many intricate details in them.
The versatility of these pens makes them apt for every width of the outline. Not to mention, the lightness and the quality of the ink! All in all, you must have these pens in your kit to deliver finished, professionally done, and error-proof illustrations. Get them here: Sakura White gel pen: https://amzn.to/3zNHS2B UniBall fine line pen: https://amzn.to/2UyNE85
7. Alcohol-Based Markers
Alcohol-based markers are another stationery that needs to be in your fashion illustration kit. And yet again, we recommend our favourite, tried and tested Ohuhu Alcohol Based Markers! Firstly, alcohol-based markers take away the hassle of creating a base for your fashion illustrations. They are smooth, easy to glide, and relatively affordable!
These versatile markers come with dual tips that allow you to use them in multiple ways. When used, they dry fast, preventing smudging and they also blend seamlessly, striking utmost beauty. Their inks are refillable and they lend such bold colours on any paper. Safe to say, these are bound to transpire that design in your mind all the more beautifully. Get them here: Ohuhu 72 Markers Set: https://amzn.to/3j7HZQq Ohuhu 48 Markers Set: https://amzn.to/3zSLroa Brustro 70 gsm marker Pads: https://amzn.to/3qnFX0i
8. A Metal Ruler
This is one of those unsaid rules of illustrating. You need a good ruler for all your designs, and by that, we mean a metal one. In comparison to plastic rulers, these are a lot more sustainable and seamless to work with. So, investing in a good metal ruler and making it permanent in your kit is a must here! Get them here: A Metal Ruler: https://amzn.to/3gPMayY
9. All-Purpose Papers & Sketchbooks
Now, this one is a given! As an illustrator, this is your canvas, this is where your ideas and designs materialize and become complete. Consider all-purpose papers as your rough book for designs and ideas. Take them as a place where you can free flow and practice without needing to be neat, presentable, or perfect.
Secondly, consider your sketchbooks as your place of final work and even for practice if need be. There are sketchbooks of varied sizes. The large one can be your final one, where you finished designs and final ideas transpire. The small ones can travel with you as a place where you can jot down and draw ideas or inspiration for later.
Get them here: Rough practice paper: https://amzn.to/3xRAvFg
10. Tracing Paper
Use this one to churn out a perfect illustration until you are satisfied with it. Then, use it to deliver the final design onto a fresh paper.
So, these were our top must-have essentials for every fashion illustrator! These are the most basic goodies that you need to deliver your ideas on paper and do so seamlessly, efficiently, and beautifully. After all, it is a profession where visual appeal matters a lot more than in other professions. Whether you are an established illustrator or a beginner, make sure you have your illustrator kit ready before you begin your work or learning. Even as a hobbyist who likes to illustrate designs out of nothing but passion and interest, you can certainly curate your own kit and join a course in fashion illustration. Get them here: Maple Tracing paper: https://amzn.to/3j9aSf3
Nevertheless, you do you but whatever you do, make sure it is a fun and creatively stimulating process for you. Now, get illustrating!