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How to Perfect Your Fashion Sketches

Fashion sketches and thorough illustrations are the basis of every design and provide a visual interpretation of a designer’s vision of a garment. Essentially, fashion drawing is an art that communicates and explains fashion and design. While beginner fashion designers may explore their style of sketching before discovering their most comfortable technique, even experienced designers tend to develop their drawings over time in order to improve their skills.

Why are Fashion Drawings Important?

Fashion drawings are vital in planning, previewing, and explaining ideas through a process that presents a designer’s creativity. The purpose of the illustrations are to capture movement and portrayal of the figure wearing the design. While the ability to draw is not required for fashion designers, the ability to communicate ideas is necessary in order to make others understand the overall vision. Drawing skills just help in depicting the vision and also showcase the designer’s talents.

Types of Fashion Illustration

As designers develop from beginners to more experienced illustrators, each determines their preferred choice of style and materials in order to fully display their fashion designs. This occurs not only with their tools but also the technique in which they create their sketches. The type of illustration drastically changes the outcome of the drawing from more delicate and fine-tuned to bolder and darker, or more colorful. The types of illustrations below are the most traditionally used in drawing fashion sketches.

  1. Pencil illustration: The most popular and traditional way. Some drawings may start with pencil and finish with another material. Helps with creating shadows, transitions, and drawing accurate lines.
  2. Charcoal illustration: Similar to pencil, but not as precise as pen or pencil. Most often used for fast sketches, crafting nooks, or short stories. An advantage is that charcoal allows for the creation of different textures to naturally represent shadows and objects.
  3. Water illustration: End result is airy and soft with a lot of depth. An easy way of creating splashes of color merging into another. Key idea is to use color pigments to create shadings and transparencies by adding water to the color.

How to Improve Your Fashion Sketches

Although the clothing design itself is important, the extra details help convey a fuller image of the designer’s ideas. The sketch proposes the garment but the added details make it come to life and allows the viewer a more complete visualization through the concept of storytelling through the drawing. The following are tips and key aspects that will help you create more developed and intricate fashion sketches to fully depict your vision as a designer and improve your illustration skills.

  1. Understand Anatomy: Correctly analyzing and drawing proportions provides freedom when drawing clothing designs. The shape and proportions of the body are the base of the design and will prepare you to accurately depict the fashion idea. Being able to accurately draw a fashion figure will facilitate presenting the fashion piece.
  2. Stylize to Optimize: Focus on a specific element of design to highlight that element. Usually, fashion figures are long-legged and are taller than the average person. That extra leg length allows for space to include details like texture or movements plus also determine a more precise length of the garment.
  3. Incorporate Movement: Storytelling captures not only the design itself but also the movement of it. Incorporating motion to a sketch better depicts the texture and weight of the design by how it moves and settles of the body. Adding action through the accessories, hair, and clothing, you’re creating imagery to further support the storytelling.
  4. Enhance with Composition: Adding a simple background to a design also completes the aspect of storytelling. Rather than leaving the design with a blank setting, positioning it within a street or runway adds to the effect plus provides context for when and where the design would be worn. The key is to not overwhelm the background to distract from the design. However, the blank space can be taken advantage of if used as part of the design. The negative space could help highlight the sketch if intended.
  5. Texture & Patterns: The way a textile is drawn and colored or painted should provide an idea of what the textile is, whether it’s light and soft, or heavy and more rigid. As for the texture of a material, this can be achieved by studying and practicing from various swatches to then incorporate into your designs. Patterns in the sketch not only serve to enhance the design but also determine the era of the clothing or highlight a fashion trend.

Essentials for Fashion Sketching

Every artist, whether in the field of fashion or not, has their own style and preference when it comes to materials, medium, and sketching tools. The key is to use the variety that will best fit their purpose within your sketch as well as those that will help highlight the main elements you wish to focus on. These fashion elements could be shading, prints, patterns, colors, etc. Below are some of the most commonly used materials for fashion sketching.

  1. Sketchbooks: Could be a figure template sketchbook with a base drawing designed for men, women, or children sketches. Size A4 is typically used for more detailed sketches while the A5 size can be used for on-the-go sketches.
  2. Pencils: H, HB, 2B, and 4B are the best pencils for basic outline sketches, with some brands deemed superior.
  3. Sharpeners & erasers: A metal sharpener is recommended to keep pencils sharper rather than using a plastic sharpener. Full-sized erasers are better used for large sketches compared to the smaller erasers at the end of pencils.
  4. Black pens: Fine tipped pens are good for fine-tuning and adding details to sketches such as for creating prints and patterns.
  5. Watercolors: Watercolor pans tend to be easier to use than tubes as you don’t have to pause in between using colors to open a new tube of paint. This medium can be added to pencil and pen sketches to add color.
  6. Markers: Can be combined with pencils, pens, and graphite. Some feature special tips that provide different strokes and effects like a broad, fine, or brush tip.
  7. Colored pencils: A dry, easy-to-use medium that is relatively inexpensive. Not ideal for coloring larger surfaces quickly because of the smaller and more precise tip.

Leave Your Mark at IMM

Istituto Marangoni Miami provides students with the opportunity to develop their personal style not only in their sketches through fashion design classes but also in other vital areas of the industry through fashion business and fashion styling classes. The Miami School of Fashion encourages its aspiring creatives to take advantage of the learnings conducted in class from experienced professionals, the happenings occurring on campus with various industry partners, and the collaborations organized together with their peers in order to further their knowledge and succeed in the world of fashion, luxury, and design.

 

Date: March 17, 2023
Category: Fashion Design

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