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Ten Steps to Kick-Start Your Fashion Drawing Career

If you want to have a career in fashion illustration, you need to do more than create a portfolio and wait. Be proactive! Putting your portfolio together is the first step toward marketing your work, but it’s far from the last.

Making a name for yourself also involves putting yourself out there in the fashion world, using every possible medium to promote yourself, and never passing up a chance to network. These ten tips get you started on making a name for yourself in fashion.

1

Build a portfolio.

A digital portfolio of your illustrations works for marketing in many cases, and a hands-on portfolio is great for client meetings and networking.

Be your own critic when putting together a portfolio. You probably have quite a number of drawings at this point, so choose your best fashion drawings and pull together an excellent body of work. Pick only choice pieces that you feel best reflect your style.

2

Create an online presence.

The world is definitely going digital, and so should you in showing your work. An online portfolio lets you show your work to clients, friends, galleries, and others all over the world.

Set up a website or blog to show your work and to keep people up to date on what you’re doing. Many websites and blogs that are free for artists provide a variety of templates, so anyone can create a great-looking site to display his or her work.

3

Tweet your own horn on social media.

Connect to people through social media. Twitter provides moment-by-moment descriptions that anyone can put out to describe details of their lives, so feel free to tweet about yourself on your own site. You may find that you have a group of fashion fans following your every move in the art world before too long!

Don’t worry about not being famous yet; marketing is all about getting your name out there. Some fun topics to tweet about could be new designers and their work, your favorite fashions, sketches you made, and anything you find inspirational for design.

If you aren’t up to tweeting your every fashion thought, consider promoting your work on Facebook. Everybody seems to be on Facebook these days, and they’re not all gossiping about last night’s party. Facebook is a great place to upload your artwork and create a photo album for friends and potential clients to view.

4

Show off your technique on YouTube.

If you’ve ever watched YouTube, you already know that people make videos about anything, and we mean anything! Why not make a little fashion video about fashion drawing, showcasing examples of your work and videos of you drawing or talking about your designs?

You can film yourself drawing and time-lapse the video to quickly show how you go from a blank piece of paper to a finished sketch. Or simply walk around town filming what inspires your drawings. You could be the next YouTube sensation and grab some new clients. Don’t forget that if you have a website, you can post these videos there as well!

5

Network to make fashion contacts.

Never skip going to a party when someone who has fashion connections will be there, whether he’s a superstar or not. A boutique owner may need some fashion sketches, or a young designer may need some promotional help. And let’s not forget someone who knows somebody who knows somebody.

Pass your business cards around, and don’t forget to get business cards from the contacts you make as well. Go to parties, openings, charity functions, and school events with an eagle eye for potential contacts or clients. You never know who you’ll meet.

6

Hand out business cards.

Business cards are a must-have. Don’t limit yourself to one type; make different types for different purposes. Cards can be large or small and can stress different aspects of your talent. You can make them on the computer or have them printed professionally. Always include your website info as well as your name, phone number, and e-mail address.

7

Exhibit your work.

Just because you’re a fashion illustrator doesn’t mean there’s no place for you to exhibit. You don’t have to be a painter to show your work, and fashion art is a wonderful form of commercial art that many people enjoy. Do a little research in your area and see whether any galleries have an interest.

If you’re a student, enter all school art shows, and don’t forget to visit the owners of small clothing stores to show your portfolio.

8

Create your own promo pieces.

You may need to create promo pieces to advertise shows or to reach a large number of contacts from time to time. Paper is thin, so use paper for the promo pieces you mail rather than hand out to people. If you want something to pass around in person, use heavier cardstock.

9

Dress the part!

If you’re a fashion illustrator, you gotta walk the walk and play the fashion part. You can’t make a fashion statement sauntering into a showroom or a magazine office in your comfy sweats and casual shoes.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money to look terrific, but any in-the-moment accessories like a fabulous long scarf or a pair of terrific shoes can spice up a long winter coat and jeans. Add a fun and furry hat, and you’re set to make an impression the minute you walk in the door.

10

Alert the press! It's all about you.

Put any modesty or shyness behind you and find out how to write up a press release when something good happens to you and your work. If you’re showing your fashion drawings in a gallery, you’re about to graduate from a fashion school, or you’ve designed something that’s awesome, do some homework and find out where to send this important info.

   
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