Part 1 Starting Your Sketch
1Gather materials. Choose a hard lead pencil (H pencils are best) that makes light, sketchy marks that are easy to erase. Marks made with these pencils also don't indent the paper, which is helpful when you want to add color to the image. A good quality eraser and thick paper are also important materials to have if you want your sketch to look professional.
- If you don’t have the right type of pencil, you can do a sketch with a number 2. Just remember to make very light marks, rather than pressing hard on the page.
- Drawing in pen is not advisable, since you won’t be able to erase marks you make.
- You will also need colored markers, inks or paints to illustrate your clothing designs.
2Decide on a pose for your croquis. The model for your design, called a croquis, should be drawn in a pose that will show off the items best. You can show the model walking, sitting, bending, or in any other position. As a beginner, you may want to start with the most common pose, which is a runway sketch that shows a model standing or striding on a runway. This is easiest to draw and it will allow you to illustrate all of your designs in full view.
- Since you want to illustrate your designs in a way that makes them look professional and appealing, it's important to model them on croquis that are well-proportioned and well-drawn.
- Many fashion illustrators practice drawing hundreds of croquis to perfect their ability to create a variety of poses.
3Consider alternate methods for creating a croquis. It's nice to be able to draw your own croquis, since it allows you to create a model to the exact proportions you want. However, if you want to jump straight to drawing your clothing designs, there are a few shortcuts you can opt to take:
- Download one online, where you'll find them in a range of shapes and sizes. For instance, you can download a croquis in the shape of a child, a man, a petite woman, and so on.
- Make a croquis by tracing the outline of a model from a magazine ad or another picture. Just place a piece of tracing paper over the model you like and lightly created an outline.
Part 2 Drawing a Croquis
1Draw the balance line. This is a the first line of your sketch, and it represents your model’s center of gravity. Draw it from the top of the head to the tip of the toes, along the backbone of your croquis. Now draw an oval to represent the head. This is the base of your croquis, and from this, a proportional drawing can be made. You can think of the croquis as the skeleton of the model.
- The balance line should be a straight vertical line, even if you want the model to pose in a leaning position. For example, if you want the the model to be posed with her hips tilted slightly to her left, draw a straight balance line in the middle of the page. You want this line to extend from the top of the model's head to the ground that she is standing on.
- Note that when you’re designing clothes, a proportional model isn't required, because the clothing is what is being showcased, not your figure drawing skills. Don’t worry too much about creating an accurate looking model or adding features to the face.
2Start drawing the pelvic area first. Draw a square with equal side lengths on the balance line just below the middle, where the pelvis is naturally positioned on the body. Size the square according to how wide you want your model to be. A thinner model would have a smaller square width than a plus-sized model.
- Keeping your desired pose in mind, tilt this pelvic square either left or right. For example, if you want your model’s hips slanted to the left, tilt the square slightly to the left. If you want a normal standing model, just draw the square upright without any angles left or right.
3Draw the torso and shoulders. Extend the torso lines upward from the two corners of the pelvic square. The torso should extend upwards, bending in midway at the waist and extending out again at the shoulder. As with a real human body, the shoulders should be the same width as the hips, or the top of the pelvic box.
- When you’re finished, the torso should look like a normal torso you would see on a body. Refer to pictures of models in magazines or advertisements for reference. Notice how the waist is smaller than the lower portion of the body and hips. The torso should measure about two heads in length.
- It’s common to sketch the shoulders and hips tilted in opposite directions, in a position called contrapposto, or counterpose. This gives the impression of movement. Draw the waist as a horizontal line that’s shorter than the shoulder and hips lines.
- Pay attention to bend lines (the curve of the rib cage, etc.) as those angles and lines are crucial to creating a figure that doesn't look like it has dislocated body parts.
4Sketch the neck and head. The model's neck should be a third the width of the shoulder and half the length of a head. After drawing this, sketch in the head, which should be in proportion to the body. The bigger the head, the more juvenile or younger the model looks.
- You can erase the initial oval you drew to represent the head.
- Draw the head so that it looks natural with the pose you have selected. You can tilt it slightly up or down, or to the right or left.
5Fill in the legs. The legs should be the longest part of the body, the length of about four heads. The legs are also portioned into two pieces, the thighs (from the bottom of the pelvic box to the top of knees) and calves (from the bottom of knees to beginning of ankles). Keep in mind that fashion illustrators usually exaggerate the model's height by making her legs longer than her torso
- The top of each thigh should be approximately the same width as the head. Taper the width of each leg from the thigh to the knee. By the time you reach the knee, the leg should be one third the width of the bigger portion of the thigh.
- To draw the calves, taper down to the ankles. Each ankle should be about one fourth the width of the head.
Finish with the feet and arms. The feet are relatively narrow. Draw them like elongated triangles that are about the same length as the head. Construct the arms like the legs, tapered toward the wrists. Make them longer in proportion to the torso than a real person’s arms would be, since this gives a more stylized impression. Add the hands and fingers last.
Part 3 Drawing Clothes and Accessories
Illustrate your original design. Think about what look you’re trying to create, and represent it down to the last detail. If you’re designing a dress, for example, add patterns, ruffles, text, bows, and so on to create a beautiful piece. Focus on the elements of your design that are unique, and include appropriate accessories so that the style you’re going for is clear. If you need some fresh ideas or don't know where to start, look up fashion trends on the internet or in magazines for inspiration.
2Sketch the clothes boldly. Since the purpose of a fashion drawing is to showcase your design ideas, use a bolder hand when you’re drawing the clothing. Sketch the clothes so that they appear to hang on the croquis in a realistic way. There should be creases around the elbows and at the waist, as well as near the shoulders, ankles and wrists. Think about how clothing hangs on a person and replicate that on your model.
- Remember that different fabrics and structures lie on the body in different ways. If the fabric is thin and silky, it will rest on the body and drift away, almost billowing. If the fabric is thick like denim or wool, it will be boxier and will show less shape of the body (think denim jackets).
- Try to illustrate the texture of the fabric you’re drawing, whether it’s smooth, coarse, stiff or soft. Add details like sequins and buttons to make the drawing look more realistic.
3Learn how to draw folds, wrinkles and pleats. Use different types of lines to create different creases in the fabric you're drawing. Knowing how to draw folds, wrinkles and pleats will help you illustrate the structure of the garment.
- Folds can be drawn using loose, wavy lines.
- Use circular patterns to show wrinkles.
- Take out a straight edge to draw exact pleats.
4Illustrate patterns and prints. If your design includes a patterned or printed fabric, it's important to accurately illustrate how it will look on a model. Start by drawing the outline of the patterned garment, such as a skirt or blouse. Divide it into a grid with different sections. Fill in the sections one at a time with the pattern on the fabric.
- Pay attention to how folds, pleats and wrinkles change the appearance of a pattern. It may need to bend or be cut off at certain points to look accurate.
- Take the time to draw the pattern in detail and make sure it looks the same across the entire grid.
5Finalize the drawing with shading, ink and color. Use thick black ink or paint on the lines that you want to keep. You can erase the body shaping lines and any stray pencil marks at this point. Finally, carefully color in the clothing using hues you want your designs to have.
- You can color in the clothing with markers, ink or paint. Mix colors and use a variety of shades to illustrate your designs.
- Really imagine the design moving towards you under spotlights on a runway when you’re working on shading and texture. Deeper folds in fabric will result in darker shades of the color you're using. Where fabric is hit by the light, the colors should appear lighter.
- Adding features like hair, sunglasses and makeup is a nice final touch that will make your fashion sketch come to life.
6Consider making flats. In addition to making a fashion illustration, you may want to create a flat schematic. This is an illustration of your clothing design that shows the flat outline of the garment, as though it were laid out on a flat surface. It's helpful for people viewing the design to see the flat version as well as the way it would look modeled on a body.
- Flats should be drawn to scale. Make an effort to create illustrations that look as exact as possible.
- You should include a back view of your flats as well, especially of the back of the design includes unique details.
How can I do this if I do not know how to draw well?
Begin by printing out some simple designs with clear outlines. Then, put a piece of paper over this drawing, and sketch the outline. Once you become familiar with doing this by imitation tracing, it its easy to gain the skills needed to do the sketches by yourself. Practice like this every day for at least a week and you'll start to feel more confident about doing it your own way.
How can I get into fashion design if I'm not good at drawing?
You don't have to know how to draw to be a fashion designer. Something that you can do is look at different books on how to draw, so that you can do simple sketches of your designs. Also, the more you practice drawing, the better you will become. If you are going to go to college for fashion, then there will be classes that can teach you draw and sketch.
How do I make my sketches look more realistic using color pencils?
Use shadow effects using pencils, color pencils, crayons, tints, and many others. Make sure you know where you should put shading like shadows and where you shouldn't.
How big should I draw the heads in my fashion sketches?
It really depends on the size of the person, but the head should be about 1/8 of the height.
How do I know if my sketches are good?
Critique is a very good starting point. Show friends your sketch, ask for their opinions, let them point out the flaws of the design. Constructive criticism is very important in skill and self-development, so embrace it.
How would I draw a skirt?
There are many ways of drawing a skirt, such as sitting down, in the wind, standing, hanging, just as a skirt, etc. The number of wrinkles and amount of frills you want to add to the skirt matters too. An easy way to start is to look at the skirt drawing of others and then find your own style. For some ideas and illustrated examples, see further: How to Draw a Skirt.
How do I learn to draw more realistically?
Observation. Try to observe people - the way clothes fit and the way they carry themselves. Consider drawing the elbows, knees and ankles with perfection. Recollect the poses you see, and pay attention to the folds, pleats and wrinkles of the dress.
How much time will it take to learn this?
It varies from person to person. Technically speaking, you can learn how to do this very quickly--but it may take a few weeks or even months before you become good at it and produce work you can be proud of. Once you get the technique down, you should practice as often as you can--preferably every day.
What kind of pencils should I use?
All kinds of pencils are suitable. However I'd encourage you to get one from an art store instead of Walmart for example. Good and cheap brands like Faber Castell and Staedtler are used by professional artists, too! HB and H pencils are the best for sketching in my opinion.
Where can I look for more help on drawing fashion?
Look in magazines and clothing catalogues for inspiration and ideas. If you have a favorite designer, collect pictures of their work, and keep them in a folder. You can also trace over photos for practice. Once you get the hang of it, you can start drawing your own fashions without references.
Do I have to rub out the structure sketches ot make it look better and do I have to criss cross the legs?
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How can I draw folds so that my sketch becomes more realistic and enhances the costume?
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- Don't worry about adding much detail to the face, unless you have specific makeup in mind to go along with your outfit.
- Some people like to draw their models extremely skinny. Draw your model realistic. It will help you when you come to selecting garments and sewing the outfit.
- It's often easier to leave the facial features off altogether and just sketch a few lines for the hair. You want the focus to be on the outfit.
- Stick the material that you were going to use next to your design so you know what you're using.
- Adding texture to the clothes is tricky and may take some practice.
If you want to draw fashion sketches, start by lightly sketching the outline of a model, known as a croquis. When you move on to drawing in your clothes, draw them with bolder lines so the focus will be more on the garment than the model. Sketch the clothes so they appear to hang on the model in a realistic way, such as creases around the elbows, waist, and shoulders. Remember that the material of your garment will affect the way it drapes around the model’s figure. Include details like buttons, bows, and pleats to give your garment a distinct personality.
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