Fashion Illustration

Fashion Illustration – What kind of materials to have


Today is Friday 29 March, 2013. It is a blog day on my agenda. And it is also my holiday day. It starts from today. We are going our holiday to China for three weeks. At the time I am writing this post, our room is full of unpacked gifts and travel kits. I need to catch my flight in 5 hours time. I am so looking forward to this trip. I will keep on writing while I am on my holiday, because I think I have been off blog for so long. I am so ready to come back with the new energy and keep my promise to write each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We are going to many galleries in Shanghai and Hangzhou. One of the top list on my agenda is going to take Chinese Ink Painting lessons. Due to my very short trip, I can not enrol in any school. My dear friend Linda Gong and Xiao Hua Xu helps me to find a Chinese Ink Painting teacher in each city. As soon as I land in Shanghai, the very next day at 9:00 am, my strict Chinese painting teacher will wait for me at my hotel. Wow, how exciting and scary. I wish I can video some of my lesson and show you over here.

On Wednesday, I wrote about making a vision, today I would like to write about material for our Fashion Illustration. I will write about what Fashion Illustrator will need to stock their material list.


Black Pencil: I have a few different types of pencil. I have one graphite pencil. I met last week my friend Guy on the Amsterdam Fashion Illustration meetups, (it is an event I organize here in Amsterdam to draw Fashion Illustration together). He has a very nice tin box full of different types of thick graphite, he told me he had it for really a long time. I remembered the brand name is Cretacolor. It is really must have on your drawing material list. Besides that I have a box of Cretacolor Fine Art Graphite range HB, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B and 2H. Some people feel comfortable to draw with normal pencil, maybe this is what you hold in your hand comfortably. The last pencil I have on my list is Graphgear 500 Automatic Drafting pencil 0.5mm.


watercolor Watercolor. I love to use watercolor for my Fashion Illustrations. I love the beautiful translucentwash stoke on my paper. They are so subtile and the colour runs along the paper so vividly and has such an organic feeling. I highly recommend to use watercolor in your Fashion Illustration drawing. I am using two brands from Winsor & Newton and Rembrandt, both are fine material to use. Besides the watercolour itself, you can also buy bleding medium such as I have here. If you travel a lot, you can have one mini pack travel kit from Winsor & Newton. I got mine from my mother-in-law.

Marker: I started to use marker when I joined the course this year at London College of Fashion. During the lesson taught by Ana Stankovic-Fitzgerald. She used a lot of marker color rendering in her drawing. She is really a great teacher, I am so lucky to learn from her. Here is the brand what I am using. Promarker, Copic sketch and Tombow ABT. My other teacher Kate Van Harrelveld from from Vogue Akedemie Fashion Illustration class used markers on her drawings as well. She suggested me to try out. She draws so beautifully. Check her website here. I used these three for different applications. I used Promarker a lot, it has two sides which I feel very comfortable to use. One side is wide, and the other side is pointy. I like the wide side to apply on my drawing, it has to be applied very fast. Otherwise the marker colour will leave sharp and deep colour on your painting. I used a lot of Copic for my skin color rendering as well. For hair, shoes and other thick line, I apply Tombow ABT N15. For rough material, I applied uni POSCA black colour marker.

Colour Pencil: When you render the colour effect such as silk, chiffon, sued and lace, you would love to have the colour pencil to help you to achieve the effect. I used Conte a Paris Pastel 013. besides that I use the brand called Supracolor made in Swiss, and Royal Talens Holland Van Gogh watercolour pencil as well to achieve the effect.

Ink: If you read my previous blog article, you probably knew in many of my blogs I mentioned that I love to paint with ink. There are so many different types of ink. I have the traditional Chinese calligraphy ink which I sometimes used the traditional way to make the ink on the stone. Then you have Winsor & Newton calligraphy ink in bottle. It is much easier than my traditional hand made ones. Then you have India Ink, it is a very nice black colour ink. Then you have all different colours of Ecoline ink. Just try out a few of the colour, make a mix to make the colour which you are looking for. Do not buy so many colour at once so much. Just see what you use most, then you can always add them on your list.

Ink pen: I used these two ink pen to make outline.

Outliner: I love to use Faber-Castell brush outliner so much. Then I have all different sizes of Staedtler pigment liner and uni Pin fine liner.

Brush: For watercolour applications, you need to have really a few different sizes of watercolour brush. I will suggest to separate the coloured one from the black ones. After you used the black watercolour, the colour will stay in the brush a bit. When you used the same brush even though you have washed, the colour will have a slightly black hint. It does not look fresh and clean. So have a separate set of black and colours. I have a few different sizes for my calligraphy brush as well as from Marabu-Fino and Da Vinci. As soon as you finish drawing, please take care of your brushes, please clean them immediately. Because it is really not good to let it dry hard and then wash them next day. In order to keep them longer use, please clean them as soon as your drawing session is over.

Pastels stick: I got my pastels stick for almost 10 years, never get a chance really use it. I started last week to use them. It turned out surprisingly great. I will highly recommend to use it. When my digital portfolio is ready then I can show you my samples. I have here from PANDA brand and Conte A Paris Crayon. They are really handy when you want to have a quick and fast concept.

Paper: I listed everything I used above, almost forget about paper. Very very important to test paper first before you start your drawing in a large scale. You have different types of marker paper A3 or A4 size. I got Daler & Rowney, Van Beek and Letraset. I have also a lots of watercolour paper. Be aware of the hot pressed or cold pressed ones. If you want to have a smooth one, please buy the hot pressed one. I love the one from Fabriano 100% cotton acquarello watercolour 300g/m2 extra white. The materials are very important. You need to try out different brand first, then you choose the one suits your drawing most and stick with it. Besides that if you like Chinese drawing, I will suggest to try out on Chinese Rice Painting paper (XUAN ZI)

Are you ready to make drawings? I am going to write more about where to get these materials in Amsterdam. I will list the art supply addresses in my future article. Wish you a great day, and I feel so great that I managed to write and edit everything I need to do before I pack my luggage and get to the airport. I have a few hours left to do what I need to prepare. Hope to see you back soon. Monday I will be doing Chinese Painting in Shanghai.









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  1. Thanks for the info! 🙂

  2. Yasin Saiyad says:

    Hi Ping good blog with valuable information. You know I m student of Fashion Design, right now in 2 year from India. I have problem with Illustration and color rendering therefore would u share me some techniques which u learnt, so that may help me to improve my illustration skills. kindly mail me some of our illustration work and portfolio if u can, I will be great-full to u. Thank you. My

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