DRAWING FASHION

Want to learn to draw better and put the spirit of fashion into your illustrations? Let me share my tips.
A simple pencil drawing can convey more spontaneity and freshness than a labored over, full color, overworked fashion illustration. Learn to be brief in your marks. What you have sweat over and struggled with for hours to look a certain way, never will. You want FRESHNESS. Simple. Sweet.

A simple pencil drawing can convey more spontaneity and freshness than a labored over, full color, overworked fashion illustration. Learn to be brief in your marks. What you have sweat over and struggled with for hours to look a certain way, never will. You want FRESHNESS. Simple. Sweet.

Sometimes fashion is only about ATTITUDE.

Sometimes fashion is only about ATTITUDE.

Fashion drawings of men always need a bit of accessorizing - how about a few lines to say “sportscar?”

Fashion drawings of men always need a bit of accessorizing - how about a few lines to say “sportscar?”

Figures that are moving have a more dynamic feel. Watch how the body shifts when a model walks. Easy to see in videos from Fashion Week. Learn how the body is put together first. Then notice how in a standing pose, the shoulder that dips goes down to meet the hip and leg that the weight is on. More on that later.

Figures that are moving have a more dynamic feel. Watch how the body shifts when a model walks. Easy to see in videos from Fashion Week. Learn how the body is put together first. Then notice how in a standing pose, the shoulder that dips goes down to meet the hip and leg that the weight is on. More on that later.

No need for line… more on the shape of things.

No need for line… more on the shape of things.

So does it really matter if you don’t add line? Of course not…. shape is so fabulous. Fashion is all about SILHOUETTE. Think of the endless seasons of fashion and the silhouette that spoke for that season. Shape is seasonless. Especially in drawings for fashion - your fashion design drawings need very little detail. But they absolutely need SHAPE.

So does it really matter if you don’t add line? Of course not…. shape is so fabulous. Fashion is all about SILHOUETTE. Think of the endless seasons of fashion and the silhouette that spoke for that season. Shape is seasonless. Especially in drawings for fashion - your fashion design drawings need very little detail. But they absolutely need SHAPE.

Clean lines, keep it simple, color washes, abbreviated information - let the eye fill the rest in. Happy Autumn!

Clean lines, keep it simple, color washes, abbreviated information - let the eye fill the rest in. Happy Autumn!

Drawing fashion is drawing people. Find ways to capture people - those close to you perhaps - in a moment. This was Anjali who was 8 moths pregnant dancing to a languid piece of music. I didn’t worry about the line, the look of the drawings in their final stage, just looked and reacted with my brush and ink.

More on negative space, use it to show pattern, in particular here, the pinstripes. Also note how the darker shadow of the leg and arm farthest away helps the eye see it farther back. Tone and negative space can liven up a fashion figure if you know where to place these two elements overall.

More on negative space, use it to show pattern, in particular here, the pinstripes. Also note how the darker shadow of the leg and arm farthest away helps the eye see it farther back. Tone and negative space can liven up a fashion figure if you know where to place these two elements overall.

Negative space  - I LOVE it! You can say so much by what you leave OUT of a drawing. Don’t over do it. In fact, you can leave out entire areas and they will allow your viewer to fill in the space with their imagination. So much more fun, right?

Negative space  - I LOVE it! You can say so much by what you leave OUT of a drawing. Don’t over do it. In fact, you can leave out entire areas and they will allow your viewer to fill in the space with their imagination. So much more fun, right?

More DVF. She got more than 8 originals. :-/

More DVF. She got more than 8 originals. :-/

Well, this is more about clients, than drawing… but it ties in… sometimes you have to be willing - if you are illustrating fashion for a living - to bow to the needs, desires (whims!) of the client.
In this case, Diane von Furstenberg, with whom I worked directly, had a specific woman in mind. “Make her independent, powerful, sexy, with a big ass.” Many drawings later, she was satisfied. She insisted on keeping all the drawings I did which is unheard of, actually. Clients buy the rights to use a drawing, not the actual drawing. For the actual artwork that’s a separate price. But she told my agent she always keeps the originals (really? No one else does or they negotiate that up front) and was actually quite nasty. I was discouraged, as I had thought she was a brilliant designer and businesswoman and if you read her tweets, an especially warm and loving person. Shattered illusions. Lost drawings. There’s more, but I’ll save it for another time. Onward!

Well, this is more about clients, than drawing… but it ties in… sometimes you have to be willing - if you are illustrating fashion for a living - to bow to the needs, desires (whims!) of the client.

In this case, Diane von Furstenberg, with whom I worked directly, had a specific woman in mind. “Make her independent, powerful, sexy, with a big ass.” Many drawings later, she was satisfied. She insisted on keeping all the drawings I did which is unheard of, actually. Clients buy the rights to use a drawing, not the actual drawing. For the actual artwork that’s a separate price. But she told my agent she always keeps the originals (really? No one else does or they negotiate that up front) and was actually quite nasty. I was discouraged, as I had thought she was a brilliant designer and businesswoman and if you read her tweets, an especially warm and loving person. Shattered illusions. Lost drawings. There’s more, but I’ll save it for another time. Onward!

I love the little trick of making a limb (arm or leg) go back in space to give the figure some depth and definition of form. This also gives the illusion of that limb - leg or arm - being farther away from the eye. This will give your figures more of a 3 dimension - not so flat. Here’s an example - in the leg. 
Also notice how the texture of the skirt is only in the shadow area, not all over the skirt shape. All you need to do is indicate - not plaster it all over… use the shadow area to define your print or texture on a garment, but you’ll have to know the form of the underlying body to get this right. More on that later…

I love the little trick of making a limb (arm or leg) go back in space to give the figure some depth and definition of form. This also gives the illusion of that limb - leg or arm - being farther away from the eye. This will give your figures more of a 3 dimension - not so flat. Here’s an example - in the leg. 

Also notice how the texture of the skirt is only in the shadow area, not all over the skirt shape. All you need to do is indicate - not plaster it all over… use the shadow area to define your print or texture on a garment, but you’ll have to know the form of the underlying body to get this right. More on that later…