Marker sketching is a classic method of quick rendering for fashion – many designers use markers to get their ideas across because it is quick, cleaner than paint, and versatile. I did a lot of marker work in school, but since then I have rarely delved back into it.
The recent acquisition of a light table has made marker work a lot easier. I am doing some practice for a presentation I am working on and happily discovered that many of my ancient markers still work. It is very quick and satisfying but I have to fight an instinct to overwork it.
My first few efforts surprised me, I never thought of myself as having a great talent with markers but it seems like it is coming more easily to me now than I remember it. I am just fooling around, drawing actresses for practice.
The ultimate reference for fashion marker work is Bina Abling’s Fashion Rendering with Color. It is a comprehensive guide covering everything from stroke direction to texture, tight rendering versus loose rendering, shading and highlight styles, and so much more. It really is one of few great books out there that is really useful for more experienced illustrators as well as novices.
Abling’s Fashion Sketchbook is the ultimate primer for fashion illustrators – there are several editions and they are all excellent. I did the exercises in the book on my own while I was in school (the book was not one of our official texts) and I experienced a lot of illustrative epiphanies while I did. It includes a lot of useful information that many similar books omit.
There are a lot of crappy how-to books out there about fashion illustrating. The weird thing is when I was just starting I could not tell the good books from the bad. I acquired a few bad habits from bad books, luckily I did not stop practicing and developing and I was able to shake (most) of them.
Part of the job of being a fashion illustrator is the process of continually learning to draw, which is a very satisfying process for me. I feel like there is a lifetime of development within this narrow specialization, which is why it is so exciting to have the opportunity to make this my career.