Drawing Material: Fashion Illustration Resources at Toronto Reference Library
Fashion illustration is a meeting place of clothing, costume design, pattern-making, art, drawing, illustration and graphic design. About half of the books in this article are available exclusively at the Toronto Reference Library and cannot be borrowed, but are great resources for fashion illustration.
Finding materials on fashion illustration is relatively straightforward. It's under Dewey number 741.672.
This is true whether you are looking for the history of the medium:
Or looking for instructional materials:
Even from a highly technical standpoint:
In addition to that Lynda.com – is available for free through our website with an active library card – has online video tutorials on how to use Illustrator and Photoshop for fashion:
It's probably a good idea to mention the origins of the contemporary fashion magazine in fashion plates:
The Dewey Decimal system deals with fashion in a variety of ways. When it's dealing with clothing historically it tends to go under the number for social customs: 391.
Unless you're dealing with photographs of period costumes, the history of clothing is told through illustrations.
Sometimes that applies to even later history:
Practical dressmaking and garment work is in our Business, Science and Technology Department on the third floor under 646. Illustrations are usually the first planning stages of pattern design. To the home sewer, they're a preview of the finished product. Pattern-making is a form of drawing...does that make it illustration as well?
When designers are treated like artists, especially if they are important names, they're back on the fifth floor Arts Department and fall under 746:
And sometimes illustrations by costume designers end up in the areas for theatre and film, 791:
Especially since the forties with the emphasis on gesture and the illusion of effortlessness, fashion illustration has developed a visual language all to its own. At the same time, a whole range of drawing techniques can inform it. The Vitamin D collections are excellent introductions to contemporary drawing styles.
There's still plenty of dialogue about unrealistic physical standards in fashion. Nevertheless, fashion is about clothing intended at some point to fit around actual bodies. A lot of contemporary fashion illustration owes a significant debt to the gestural drawing popularized by Kimon Nicolaїdes:
Most illustrations are designed for publication so it's important to know the basics of graphic design:
They're all part of a good stylist's toolkit:
The visual arts intersect with fashion in any number of ways. Elsa Schiaparelli's relationship with visual artists was so strong that her chief rival--Coco Chanel--dismissed her as "that Italian artist who makes clothes":
However there are lots of visual artists who are noted for their relationship with clothing and textile design:
That said, fashion has its own canon of classic illustrators, who sometimes can be grouped with illustrators in general, or as designers or even as painters:
Since American Vogue decided to move to photographic covers in the thirties, the relationship of fashion illustration to fashion photography has been contentious. Nevertheless, there have been plenty of photographers who were also illustrators and were sometimes were even prominent designers as well:
Like Antonio Lopez, Richard Bernstein often did covers for Andy Warhol's Interview. His seamless blending of illustration and photography was often confused with Warhol's own work.
All of this is just a small slice of the fashion resources available on the Arts Department of Toronto Reference Library. For example we have a Picture Collection with over a million items including folders on fashion designers:
On regional and historic costume:
And on fashion illustration decade by decade (pssst! Look under "Fashion Drawing")
Happy Valentines Diana Vreeland!