Okay…so let me get this out there, I am NOT a natural born illustrator! Now before you go “Aww…Katy, that’s not true! I love your illustrations…” let me explain. This is not a cry for compliments like when a girl says “I’m fat!” and all they really want is for someone to respond with “you’re not fat! You’re totally skinny…like, yeah…” I merely have this belief that I am a great designer, but I am not an artist! I couldn’t paint a pretty picture to save my life and that same goes for fashion sketching. I can’t just sit at the bus stop and whip out a fantastic illustration (like Robert Best can! Damn that boy can sketch!). I’ve put years into figuring out my “style” and developing a book of croquis (correct term for fashion body) to use and trace over. That’s right…I said trace! I’ll slip the croquis under some paper and re-draw and sketch my ideas. If I don’t do this, you’ll get something that looks like this:
Yes, it gets the point across, but it ain’t pretty!
So, my point to this rambling is that when I was in school and desperately trying to figure out how to fashion sketch, I realized that there isn’t much out there for people to read and learn from! There are some fantastic books out there for fashion sketching (see list at end), but they can be pretty expensive, especially for someone who is still trying to figure out if they want to be a designer.
Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve put together a little “how to” to show my process of creating croquis. If people like it, then I might put together some next week on using markers and possibly some sewing techniques… OR if you’ve got questions about how to do something (preferably that relates to fashion design!), then leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help!
Step 1: Finding Bodies/Poses
The first and easiest thing to do is start collecting magazine tears, runway photos, catalogs, ect that have poses you’d like to use. I have a whole folder devoted to this so if I ever get bored and want a new croquis, then I can dig though and find a pose I like. Some of my favorite places to look: Runway shows (www.firstview.com has tons of photos), Lucky magazine, Vogue, and the Delia’s catalog. Preferable you want a picture with tighter clothing so that you can actually see the shape of the body…but once you get better at drawing the shape of legs and arms, then you can start to use these tears just for a reference to the body position.
Step 2: Draw a Basic Croquis
I would suggest starting with a very basic straight croquis. This is the easiest to work out quick sketches on (You can see that Jay uses a basic “standing” croquis in the “where are they now” section on “Road to the Runway”). Once you have that croquis, it’s easier to start sketching complicated poses with that as a basic shape, size, ect.
Step 3: Sketching the Figure
These are the steps I use while sketching a figure, you might find a better way or want to skip a step, but bottom line, it’s all about sketching, sketching and more sketching until you get it right. When I first started, I think it would take me a few hours to get one pose that I really liked, now I can usually finish them in 20-30 minutes. It’s all about learning the shapes and curves of the body.
1.I start by drawing a grid to keep the proportions and size of my drawing consistent. Start by drawing a vertical line, this is your plumb line (or gravity line). If you take a look, you’ll notice that you can draw a vertical line from the chin to at least one heel on almost every pose when they have an unequal balance on both legs. If they are standing balanced (as in my example), the plumb line will fall in between the feet. After this, I’ll draw a series of horizontal lines based on my straight croquis. These are at the top of head, chin, shoulders, bust, waist, hip, rise, knee and ankle.
2.The next step is to rough out the shape. I like to draw circles at all the joints and connect them with a series of lines for the legs and arms. The torso can usually be made of 2 triangle shapes pointing towards each other.
3.After that, I try to “flesh” out the sketch by tracing the pose underneath and start to round out the body. You might need to make your sketch a bit thinner than your photo in order to make it “fashion-y.” You can test it out and decide.
4.Once you have a pretty good body shape, pose and are happy with it, then I like to take one last piece of paper and sketch a cleaner version (since I do a lot of erasing!).
Step 4: Make a Book
Now all you have to do is start sketching all the time and keep a book of all your poses! Then when you need to make some portfolio pages, you can grab the poses you like and put them together and start sketching.
Good books, website, ect…