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The Art Of Fashion Sketching: How To Bring Your Design Ideas To Life

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  • Fashion
  • 7 min read

Fashion sketching is a great way to develop your design skills. By sketching your designs, you will learn how to creatively think about your ideas and how to express them.

Sketching is a way to experiment with designs and figure out what looks good and what does not. Once you have a rough idea of what you want to draw, the pencil becomes an instrument to correct yourself.

As you sketch, you will learn more about proportion, shape, and texture- all features that make a fashion piece look great!

There are many ways to draw fashion pieces, from drawing straight on paper to using software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Both have their pros and cons, so decide which one is best for you based on what type of designs you want to draw and how you want to present them.

Use only the essentials

When it comes to sketching, less is more. Beginners are often tempted to draw every detail and feature of a garment or piece, but this can be very daunting and time-consuming.

By choosing to draw only the essential pieces, you focus only on the most important elements. This allows you to get down your design ideas quickly and with confidence.

For example, when drawing a dress, you can draw just the shape of the dress itself without the details of the lining or zippers. Or you can draw just the overall shape of the dress with no pockets or ruffles.

By doing this, you are also forcing yourself to be more creative as you try to add some details that make the piece look complete.
You can also choose to only draw part of a piece like just the front or back view of a dress or shirt.

Create depth and volume

Creating the illusion of depth and volume is an important part of fashion sketching. You want to make sure that the viewer can imagine the piece being three-dimensional.

By adding shadows, you can show where the garment hangs away from the body and where it gathers texture. Using lines to express this also adds a more creative touch.

Try experimenting with different levels of shadow and texture to see which ones look the most realistic. Some designs look best with no shadows or texture, so do not take this advice rigidly!

Part II: Drawing Your Own Designs: Now that you have some basic skills down, it is time to get creative! This section will go into some detail on some key components of drawing your own designs.

Focus on one or two aspects of the design

As you develop your sketching skills, you will find that you can focus on fewer and fewer aspects of the garment. Once you feel like you have mastered the basics, you can start to draw more complicated pieces such as jackets or dresses with zippers or sleeves.

As you practice, also note how different layers of the garment are drawn. The under layer is usually not visible, so only draw what is seen or felt. The middle layers are usually drawn as one unit, so note how they match up with the top layer to appear cohesive.

Sketching different textures is also a way to add some flair to your sketch. Use pencils with different hardness to match the texture of the material being drawn. Draw some of the texture using pencil crayon rather than straight lines for a more realistic look.

Use simple lines rather than curved lines

Curved lines are more challenging to draw. They take more skill and practice to master. Many fashion designers prefer using simple lines over curved lines due to their experience level.

Many designers say that their sketches look better when they use only straight lines to create the clothing or garment. This is not because they are biased, but because it is harder to draw curved lines, so when you can master that, your sketch looks more professional.

As said before, fashion designers are very busy people. They do not have much time to spend trying to master the art of drawing curved lines. Therefore, it is actually an advantage to use only straight lines when designing!

Try your best to use your strongest line when drawing and try practicing drawing simple shapes with only one line for each.

Make sure your sketch is balanced

Once you have a good shape, add in the little details. How you do this is up to you! Consider your social media platforms– are they plain white space or do they have borders? Do your sketches need back views or other details?

Then, try your sketch on for size- literally take a piece of paper and try wrapping it around yourself. If it does not look good, tweak it! You can also try hanging it up if you have the space.

As designers, we are very aware of how things appear in relation to each other. We think about which elements pull focus, which elements balance each other out, and which elements create balance in the overall design.

Keep your lines sharp

As mentioned before, keeping your lines sharp will help to create a shape or form. However, in fashion sketching, more sharp lines does not mean better sketch.

Sketching dresses can be difficult because of the sheer number of layers needed to depict them. This makes it hard to see the form of the dress unless you add in the shadows and texture.

By adding in texture like silk or lace, that also helps add visual appeal to your drawing. Using heavier lines for these textures also adds to the effect.

Shadow is another way to add depth to your drawing. Using a darker color on the bottom part of the dress or as a background layer creates a 3-D effect. Using shadows on other parts of the clothing, like bags or jackets, also helps bring out the shape of the item.

Using different shades of one color is a good way to create dimension on your drawings without using heavy shadows.

Use contrast to highlight certain features

When drawing fashion sketches, you should use contrast to highlight certain features. For example, if you are drawing a jacket, make sure to draw the shape of the jacket and what it looks like, not what it looks like on the person.

Contrast can be used in colors, shades, or lines. Using all three types of contrast will make your sketch look more impressive. Colors can be used for the clothing colors and shades can be increased to make the piece of clothing look more solid.

Lines can be thicker or thinner to emphasize certain features. Making some lines disappear can also draw attention to other parts of the outfit.

Have a natural attitude when drawing fashion sketches

Drawing fashion sketches is not a natural thing to do. Most people do not draw everyday, or even every few days. So, when you do draw, make sure it’s for a good reason.

You will spend a lot of time drawing your designs so make sure you are committed to finishing them. It is okay if it takes you a few hours or even days to finish one!

Drawing is fun so don’t stress out about it. Just take your time and enjoy the process. The best fashion designers know how to draw and therefore can incorporate their designs into paper.

If you are having trouble drawing something, then try looking up some tips on how to draw it. For example, if you are having trouble drawing shoes, then try looking up some tips on how to draw them correctly.


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