Fashion illustration book review

Last Friday’s archive entry mentioned a review request for an illustration book (the entry originally published in 2005), sparked a surprising number of emails from people either offering to review the book or wanting to read the review. The book has been reviewed -not that you’d know it- but to my chagrin, I find I never published it. Why does it bring me comfort to know that it’s not just lately that I’ve been losing my mind but have been well on that path for three years now?

Our review was conducted by Jess and Josh Latham, identical twins and roommates in Alabama. I think they were my very first visitors; they started reading Fashion-Incubator way back when it was being published on Blogger. That was a long time ago! Anyway, here’s their review of Barbara Sultan’s Computer-Aided Sketching for the Fashion Industry.

Jess’ review

Computer-Aided Flat Sketching for the Fashion Industry is an ok book but could use some work. On the first sketch lesson a big detail is left unexplained: how to get the croqui into a layer so that it can be used as a template. I would of liked to have seen some information on the croqui and just why it’s called that so I went to the trouble of finding it on the internet. Croqui (pronounced “crow-kee”), is a special, very elongated fashion figure that is nine head-lengths tall. The normal person is seven heads tall. Maybe she assumes that we’ve had fashion illustration classes.

Another question I had was: What are the advantages of drawing flat sketches with the croqui proportions verses normal human proportions? Maybe it could of thickened a thin book with a $45.00 price tag and made it worth the price. I’ve been working in Adobe Illustrator for nearly 10 years so I know my way around the program and noticed that she didn’t mention very many shortcuts. For instance when she explains how to draw a ribbed neck line she draws many lines over and over but this could be a great place for a shortcut by using the pattern tool and it would be taking full advantage of the Illustrator program. Patterns could be made and used for the elastic and ruffles too. Actually this would of been a great thing to include on a CDROM along with a croqui that’s already loaded into a layer and ready to go. Or the book could have simply listed a download area on the website for anyone who bought the book.

The link to two examples of Jess’ design sketches is removed. Broken. Alas.

Josh’s Review

Although I hate drawing on the computer, the book was able to teach me some basics about Adobe. After reading through a few pages I was able to draw a simple shirt sketch. If I wanted to force myself I could eventually draw some apparel sketches that looked pretty decent. Again, I hate drawing on the computer and would rather pick a scab. Almost all of the material I could have been figured out by getting out the Adobe manual. I think this book really doesn’t cover any fresh material. In fact it could have easily been reduced down to a pamplet. The only real meat in the book was the underlay of the croqui tip as a guide for your sketches.

Barbara Sultan‘s book isn’t available except as used on Amazon.

Other Illustrator for fashion illustration books:
Fashion Designer’s Handbook for Adobe Illustrator $49.99, 4.5 stars, two reviews.

Creative Fashion Design with Illustrator $16.47 with nine reviews, 4.5 stars. At these price points, it’s not surprising it has more reviews and that it’s currently out of stock. I have this one. I haven’t taken full advantage of it but reading what I have, I had more confidence I’d be able to get things done than with Sultan’s book. As a rank beginner to computer fashion illustrator, I thought the more negative reviews (3 stars) were helpful. These said the book wasn’t appropriate for people who were already comfortable with Illustrator and looking for more advanced techniques -precisely why I wanted it.

Fashion Computing: Design Techniques And CAD $19.77, four stars, seven reviews. I don’t have this one. There seems to be less agreement on the utility of the book based on reviews. Since I haven’t taken full advantage of the Tallon’s book, I’d be likely to pass on this until I had.

There’s also more advanced illustration books available. I think Danielle would be the better judge of which would be helpful since I think she’s a collectivist (being a professional illustrator).

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  1. Tiffany says:

    I love Creative Fashion Design with Illustrator. It is so easy to follow. It’s not for the advanced but if you struggle grasping illustrator this sums up all you need to know regarding clothing design without all that extra junk.

  2. Josh says:

    I do believe I was your first visitor. The original one and only. There wasn’t even a road when I got here but look how far it’s come.

  3. Danielle says:

    I have always struggled with using books for learning computer programs. I finally grasped illustrator when I took a class on it and just continued use and familiarity with the program I constantly find new things I can do with it.

    Perhaps now that I am comfortable with the programs, a book would be more helpful. I will take a look at some of these books when I can.

    I was not sure what a collectivist is, and online definitions tell me it means I am a socialist? I had no idea.

  4. Sandra B says:

    So timely. I had to learn the basics of Illustrator this week to create a vector file of a paper pattern I made. (It’s for a toy, so it’s very small pieces.) I used a combination of “Fashion Computing: Design Techniques and CAD” and the Illustrator manual. I find it difficult to learn from manuals, but it’s amazing how motivating a deadline and money can be! “Fashion Computing” is a good introduction to the basics, but I couldn’t have got done what I needed to without the manual as well.

  5. Katana says:

    Josh’s links are out, btw.

    Someone just asked me to do some fashion illustration (falls within my interests and yet is unexpected) fortunately I have been reading your blog for years and am pleased that I am able to draw upon you so that I can deliver the request and know its up to industry standards to the best of my ability.

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