#FBF: “30 Days of Shoes” Commission for Marie Claire

Just a few of the looks I illustrated for Marie Claire. You can see the rest of the slideshow here.

Just a few of the looks I illustrated for Marie Claire. You can see the rest of the slideshow here.

Last week my girl asked me why I hadn’t blogged about the projects I’ve done over the past year. I didn’t have a great reason other than — I just didn’t get the chance to sit down and do it! So today, for Flashback Friday, I’m sharing a commission for Marie Claire online.

This project was an advertorial collaboration between Marie Claire and Nordstrom. I was commissioned to illustrate thirty looks highlighting the Marie Claire editor’s top shoes for the spring — all of which are available at Nordstrom.

This was such a great project to do. I had the opportunity to illustrate a diverse set of fashion figures with all kinds of style — from athletic to glamorous to classic to eclectic. Oh, and the shoes? Seeing the editor’s picks for the spring were the best part! (I may or may not have done a little shopping for myself over the course of this project.)

You can see the entire slideshow here. Let me know what you think and what your favorite looks are!

Click here to see Nordstrom and Marie Claire’s 30 Days of Shoes illustrated by Veronica Marché.

Three Great Books for Learning Fashion Illustration

Throwback Instagram photo of my bookshelf. It's a little more organized now. :)

Throwback Instagram photo of my bookshelf. It’s a little more organized now. :)

I’ve gotten quite a few questions lately about how people can learn more about fashion illustration. This, happily, is one of my favorite questions to answer — not only do I love illustration, I’ve also been teaching and tutoring in it. I LOVE great books (on any subject!), so today I’m sharing my favorite illustration books for beginners.

All of these live on my bookshelf, and I still refer back to them regularly for tips, tricks and techniques. They’re all available on Amazon and range in price from super affordable to super-investment, so you’ll be able to find one to fit your needs no matter what your budget. Oh, and a disclaimer, because this is a thing now: this list is not sponsored or a paid for by anyone in any way — these are just truly some of my favorite fashion illustration books.


1. Essential Fashion Illustration by Maite Lafuente
Budget: $

I can’t even remember when I purchased this book — probably when it was first published in 2006, so it’s been on my shelf for almost a decade. This slim, lightweight manual covers all the important basics in learning how to draw a fashion figure, from proportions to poses to the perfect fashion face. There are a myriad of poses to learn from, and it examines different parts of the fashion figure (such as arms, legs and feet) in great detail, helping you to draw them at every angle. The best part: It’s SUPER affordable, and you can usually find it in any major bookstore with an art and design section. (In fact, I’ve never NOT seen it at a Barnes & Noble). Amazon even has copies for as low as a penny, so if you snag one of those, you’ve definitely gotten a great deal.


2. 9 Heads
by Nancy Riegelman
Budget: $$

This is a fashion school bible. Nancy Riegelman has been teaching fashion illustration for literally decades, and her book on the subject is used in college curriculums across the country. And with good reason — this is probably one of the most comprehensive fashion illustration books you’ll find. It starts with the body, then goes into very specific detail about drawing faces, hair, clothing, fabric textures and even facial features according to ethnicity. You’ll also see instructions on how to accurately color (or “render,” as we say in illustration) skintones and fabrics so they look authentic. This is NOT a book that can travel with you — it’s very large and quite heavy, but it’s definitely an key reference book to have on your shelf.



3. Fashion Illustration for Designers by Kathryn Hagen
Budget: $$$$

When I decided to get really serious about fashion illustration — but before I was able to enroll in school — I decided to invest in buying this textbook. Fair warning – it is a pricey book (it’s a textbook, you know!) I knew it was a book that’s also used for college curriculums, and I knew it would take me step-by-step through learning illustration, from beginner skills to more advanced techniques.

While this is a great textbook — it’s very easy to read and navigate — it’s not quite as comprehensive, in some places, as 9 Heads. However, there are three key things that make it a great book to have: 1) It has exercises at the end of each chapter to help you build your skills. 2) Newer editions have a chapter on using Photoshop to enhance your drawings. And 3) there’s a bonus DVD! The DVD has great video of the author showing you her rendering techniques in real time. It’s just like sitting next to an instructor while they work. (You can see an example of one of the videos here on YouTube.)

So there they are, three books to help you get started in fashion illustration. I hope these help! Do you already have any of these books — or other fashion illustration texts? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments. :)


Working on new pieces. There's more on my Instagram -- @veronicamarche.

Working on new pieces. There’s more on my Instagram — @veronicamarche.

Whew. It’s been a while. My last blog post here was at the start of the year. I was looking forward to 2015 because I knew there were a lot of exciting things coming ahead.

“A lot” is an understatement. Lol.

This year has presented a lot of changes. The two biggest ones: I started a new job, and I got married.

About the job: I’m now designing full-time, putting my fashion degree to good use. It’s pretty awesome — I’m working for a maternity apparel company and helping to revamp their plus-size collection, a undertaking I’m really passionate about (my graduate thesis focused on plus-size fashion.) But I underestimated how much a full-time gig would take out of me. Somehow, I assumed I could work 40 (sometimes, 60) hours a week, and still put out the volume of illustrations I was doing when I was working for myself at home. I thought I could be Superwoman.

Not so much.

Trying to balance the job with the same amount of custom illustration requests I’d been fielding before turned out to be a fool’s game. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating well. I was stressing, constantly, and it showed up in my health. Eventually, I just paused on illustration altogether, so that I could recalibrate and assess, honestly, how much I could handle along with the demands of a full-time job. It led me to make some serious decisions about my work moving forward, which I will explain a bit more below.

And then — I got married. :) The happiest, most fun and love-filled day of my life happened on August 1, 2015. But uh, wedding planning? NOT A GAME. My now-husband I and planned the whole shebang on our own, and boy, that was pretty stressful. Twelve months of planning, budgeting, meetings, surprises, disappointments, conflicts and resolutions were exhausting. But this Buzzfeed link sums up perfectly what wedding planning is like — in the end (and this is really true) is was all worth it. I got to dance and celebrate with the people I love most, and I went home with a brand new hubby to boot!

All of these changes made me reassess what’s really important as I move forward in my creative life. The number one takeaway: Illustration, for me, is not just a hobby — this is both my career and a means of fulfilling a personal mission. So I needed to adjust my priorities to make this a profitable venture that also fulfills me as a creative. To that end, I’ve made a few changes to the way I run my illustration business:

  1. I’m no longer taking on personal, one-of-a-kind commissions. This was a difficult decision, because this is the request I receive most — custom illustrations for personal cards, stationery, gifts, etc. But each personal project is so time-intensive that continuing to take these would not allow me to reach the larger goals I have for my work. It’s a bit ironic, but in order to make the work available to more people (I explain why, below), this is an area I have to move on from.

  2. I’m going to prioritize working with brands and publications. Working with EDEN BodyWorks, Essence and Marie Claire this past year brought me a lot of joy, as I was able to draw for brands that also value positive, glamorous images of women of color. I like doing projects like these because more people get to see them — and I don’t say that from a place of ego, as in, “ALL people must see MY ART!!!!” — but rather, folks get to enjoy images and illustration that reflects them, without having to pay the cost for expensive custom work. That’s important to me.

  3. I’ll be producing and selling my greeting cards independently. I’M VERY, VERY, EXCITED ABOUT THIS. You guys ask about my cards all the time! So later this year, I’ll begin selling my cards directly, and I’m very excited about the product I’m developing. They will be different than what was sold at TJ Maxx. The new cards will be high-end, with fancier paper and artwork, much like the kind of stationery you find in specialty boutiques and places like The Paper Source. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long, LONG time, and now, with the wedding out of the way and with pruning the business, I can focus on bringing you guys some really, really cool stuff. Please stay tuned for this.

In the end, it’s important to me that women like me (and the little girls they raise) see themselves as the joyful, loving, colorful, effervescent beings that they are. Those images just do NOT appear enough, and they are often barely existent in the world of fashion illustration. My goal is to create these images and offer them as widely as possible, and to continue celebrating the unique beauty and style that is US. I can’t wait to share with you guys what’s just over the horizon.

With love,



2015 Turn Up! by Veronica Marché


This is how I’m feeling about the new year right now — excited, elated, anxious with optimism — in a word, “turnt.”

2014 brought a lot of excitement and new things for me — I was featured on television for my illustrated stationery. I met one of my illustration idols. And I capped off the year by being published in Essence magazine, a book I’ve read cover-to-cover ever since I was a little girl. Dreams can be reality.

Last year I learned to assert my worth as a creative and as a professional. I’ve been inspired over and over again by other illustrators and artists who’ve been documenting their journey online, like Meagan of Travel Write Draw and Danielle of Final Fashion. And Andrea Pippins’ blog Fly made me meditate on what it means to be a black woman and an artist, learning how to infuse my work with celebrations of my identity and heritage — bringing my full self to the table. And I’ve already landed a new commission that allows me to do just that.

Before 2015 started, I’d already committed myself to becomine bigger, badder and better, in illustration and in life in general. And I’m already feeling electric about the change ahead. I’m getting married this year. I landed a new day job in design that will free me up to really focus on the kind of illustration I want. I have ideas coming out of my ears and each passing moment brings more confidence, more excitement.

I am EXCITED! 2015 is going to be great. I can feel it in my my bones. And my pencils too. :o)

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