View Full Version : Bringing Sci Fi concept art and illustrations to the fashion industry.
April 14th, 2009, 04:30 AM
(SKIP to the main bit below if you want)
Ok, a quick background bout myself and the situation. My focus primarily revolves doing digital scifi illustrations and concept art, my love for graphic novels and 'some' manga can be seen through some of my personal pieces; I have no frakin clue about fashion, the industry itself, and I'm barely up to date on pop culture. Evidently, that's why I got picked up to be the chief illustrator for a major DC fashion event - an outsider to bring a fresh perspective to this years theme and look, which happens to be somewhat scifi orientated. To say I'm nervous is to be the understatement of the century.
Anyways, I'll be doing the title illustrations to be displayed at various events throughout the year leading up to the big show. The creative director told me they could have easily hired a fashion illustrator but wanted to bring someone entirely foreign to the industry to help accomplish this by introducing, something inshort, illustrations more suited for an imaginefx magazine (which is what I bring to each one of our creative meetings)
(question for discussion)
I was hoping to get a handle on what is the norm in terms of art and illustrations used in the fashion industry. What is the traditional look or style? Which fashion illustrators have made a name for themselves, who I should research in terms inspiration, or has made a impact in some way in fashion. In short, what is 'fashion illustration?'
Which sci fi illustrators/artist/designers, have made an impact in fashion or in hollywood?
Also, has any artist here have any experience in the fashion industry. Perhaps some advice, tips? Do's and dont do's? What to expect? ETC.
Finally, any ideas or advice to share on how to bridge the world of sci fi concept art with fashion?
Right now I'm conceptualizing the title illustration to be shown at a Benefit hosted by Guess and Teen Vogue. The creative director wants 'robocop in a victorian dress.' fun...I'll be posting something in the WIP forum as things get underway. Until then, I'm very much looking forward to what some of you have to say :)
April 14th, 2009, 05:50 AM
I wouldn't worry so much about it - they hired you because they want something different. I'd go with it.
April 14th, 2009, 09:02 AM
Sounds like a scary, but fun challenge! I think you're doing the right thing at least finding out about the basics of what general style/look they want. As for scifi/fantasy fashion, a good starting point might be to check this site out:
http://www.padawansguide.com/ (the sister site with a focus on Star Wars fashion)
As for individuals you could look up for inspiration, I'd try Eiko Ishioka, who did the surreal award winning costume designs for Dracula.
Hope that helps some! Good luck with your project:)
April 14th, 2009, 10:44 AM
I'd say take a look at the latest (within a year or two) Dolce & Gabbana ads. They're photography, but they give a pretty good idea of the kind of look which is in now. That is, luxurious fabrics, lots of dusky colours, deep golds and silvers. Chrome, bronzes.
Also, bondage is in right now, with bandage dresses and bondage booties etc.
Just remember that unlike fantasy illustration, boobs are rarely part of fashion illustration! The ideal is a long, angular body with usually non-existant breasts. So as to display the couture better, ya see.
They did a whole campaign that was very futuristic, lots of things like this.
April 14th, 2009, 12:04 PM
As stated by Mini-Goth, I wouldn't worry too much about trying to fit in their style if they chose you for yours. As a standard, female fashion figures are usually around 9 heads tall and males more around 9.5 heads. I used to get flack for my 8 heads tall figures in fashion school (I guess it wouldn't have helped if I had pointed out that the teacher wasn't more than 7 heads tall herself.) Actually, there isn't much illustration being in done in the industry, most designs are done on ortho silhouettes and then translated into technical drawings, or they are quick scribbles that wouldn't get published aanywhere. So, do your stuff and have fun!
April 14th, 2009, 12:52 PM
You should be able to find some books in the art:fashion department of your local Borders. I'm sure just a few days ago I spotted at least a couple books along the "50 years of fashion illustrations" lines, just to give some sort of a reference point :shrug: You may find all kind of useful inspiration there
April 14th, 2009, 01:01 PM
I imagine they hired you because they like your style, so it's probably not something to stress too much over.
Besides that if you just want some background info, the fashion figure/croque has different proportions than what's realistic. I took a fashion illustration in school before for fun and it conflicted with what I was doing in figure drawing. The figures are abnormally tall (9 heads roughly), with the height mostly in the legs. Gesture and pose are important. Thin, delicate features for women (minimalistic nose, defined cheekbones, slender, swayed hips).
Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
And of course, the focus is on the clothes. The model itself doesn't require much detail and just supports the mood/idea for the outfit. As for sci fi, try taking a look at popular shows and movies and what the characters are wearing. That's someone's career to design and make those. You can play around with cyber punk or steam punk elements too. There's potential for a lot of fun to be had.
April 14th, 2009, 02:41 PM
Honestly, if they truelly want an outsider's take on things, I probably would try very hard to not over research fashion designs. Perhaps a little, but no much because it's clear that isn't what they want. I'd actually do more research along the lines of Exotique http://www.ballisticpublishing.com/books/exotique/ since that sounds like what they are looking for. Just nicely rendered sci-fi/fantasy inspired figures (with an emphasis on the clothing/accessories I'm guessing).
April 14th, 2009, 04:15 PM
wow I'm loving what I'm hearing so far, its gone along way into easing my anxieties, so thank you all for all the feedback. I think my initial concern was bringing forth something that was too alien for what this industry was accustomed to that they would scoff or 'just not get'. That may not be as big of an issue as I anticipated early on.
Allow me to provide update on what I've conceptualized so far with the creative team:
The theme is RE. RE as in REcession, REimagine, Reflect, Revolution, etc. It's a challenging abstract concept unified with a sci fi look. Think the reimagined Battlestar galactica as an example of where we are going with this.
For the style and look that would be employed by us, the first thing on people's minds so far was the Matrix. Which I pointed was cool and all, but also a cliche. Instead I suggested we look farther back, primarily Blade Runner, which captures the 1940's fashion nior look and spins it in a futuristic setting. If you ask me Blade Runner and Road Warrior made trench coats and leather applicable respectively already, while the matrix simply added sunglasses and eastern influences to make it all cool again. So far I'm getting nods....whew. They also like the idea of going with something more organic, ala alien. Because my creative Director is avid about using Grace Jones as a model template, I advocated employing something more biomechanic to really enhance her strong figure - hence I turned to H.R. Giger and his famous necrominican (spelling)
In terms of artist to draw influence from I presented them with Syd Mead, H.R. Giger, Ralph McQuarrie, Iain Mccaig, and a host of others who have either worked on big movies or relatable projects in the past.
However, I may as well as not even bothered, because when I showed them Andrew Jones, there eyes lit up and I seemed to hit the nail on everyone head with what artistic direction I should take this. To be honest I regret having done that. I love his work, and his videos have taught me to how to further explore the realms of creativity using the digital tools and resources at my disposable, but being as recognizable as his pieces are, especially in the CA community, I do not want to introduce myself as a petty Android copy cat. Of course, in the end its not about what I want, I have to fit the specifications of what the director desires, but any advice, or perhaps the proper ettitique I suppose, of how to handle employing a style similar to his would help tremendously. I'm not that worried, my approach to handling patterns and texture is more preplanned and calculated vice loose and chaotic, I just don't want to send out a future portfolio or open a thread here and have someone say, 'wow, rip off AD much?' Sorry...a stress rant.
April 14th, 2009, 06:32 PM
"Too Alien" is probably what they want. In fashion, sometimes decadent means fresh. I would say, blow their minds and you can't lose. But make it beautiful too.
Since we're in this recession I'd go back and look at fashion trends during times of great economic stress, The Depression, Weimar Germany... and eras of decadence like 1900 vienna/munich. But make it into a fantasy... Imagine a Vienna Secessionist X-men Danger Room sequence with hot models.
Or let's say you go all H.R. Giger on a sexy sorayama robot that thinks its in a Rene Grau illustration, Then overlay some madcap Mucha cum Android patterning based on the graphic themes you're playing with.
Above all have fun. This sounds like a great opportunity to really let loose. The more free you get with your ideas, and simultaneously, the more thematically unified all the pictures are as a unit, the more you will elevate the event.