Fashion Illustration As A Career

This is 2022 and a lot of creative skills such as fashion illustration are beginning to have a proper career structure. African fashion brands are beginning to appreciate and value fashion illustrators who do not only illustrate “western styles” but can also bring African styles ideas into paper or note pad reality. In other words, if you love fashion and you can interpret ideas into prints, then read this.

At this point, if you are still wondering what fashion illustration is, here it is; Fashion illustration is the art of communicating fashion ideas in a visual form that originates from illustration, drawing and painting and is also known as fashion sketching. 

Let me give you a little bit of Fashion sketching history. Fashion illustration began in the 16th century when global exploration and discovery led to a fascination with the clothes and costumes of people in many countries around the world. To help eliminate the fear of change, books were printed that illustrated the appropriate clothing of different social classes and cultures and the social unrest created by these discoveries. 

Types Of Fashion Sketching

Flat Sketch: These types of sketches are generally manufactured using software programs.

Spec: Specification is a type of fashion design drawing which is generally used for garment manufacturing. These designs include many details of the garment such as type of fabric used, estimated production cost, etc.

Fashion Croquis: Fashion Sketch is the drawing of the silhouette of the dress which can be used as a template on which to draw the garment by tracing it easily.

A Chat With An Artist and Fashion Illustrator

Speaking with Renike an artist and an illustrator who is very much in touch with her art she agrees that illustration in the African fashion industry is unique and profitable. She started her professional journey in 2020 having to be a graduate of visual art(majored in graphic design). She feels fulfilled being a full-time artist/ illustrator.

How To Monetize Fashion Illustration

One major reason we all work is to attain some form of financial freedom. It is possible to do what you love while skill makes money through it so how do you go about this if you ask me?

  • Carve your niche: The African fashion industry has a lot to offer because Africans are versatile with their dress style. You can be a master of ALL, but be a sensei of ONE
  • Create a portfolio:  You probably want to have a free website on wix to make your portfolio easily accessed by potential clients.
  • Have a price structure: Do proper market research, then create your price structure from there. You may also base your price range based on how skilled you are.
  • Be out there: this is quite related to the previous point. You should be “loud” about what you do. You can wear shirts branded with your sketches, have a social media page where you share valuable content based on fashion illustration etc.
  • Always improve your skills. 

You should check out some top African Fashion illustrators;

Claire Idera Akah Instagram: ClaireIdera 

Renike Instagram: iamrenike 



If you follow these steps, be sure of a wonderful time in the African fashion industry.


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