drawing fashion sketches

Fashion Sketches Tutorial – Draw Your Own Fashion Design

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Fashion drawings have gone out of fashion? Definitely not! Hardly any other technique offers so much room for the manifold expressive possibilities of a designer. In this article, we will explore all of the things to consider if you want to make fashion drawings yourself.



What Are Fashion Sketches?

Fashion drawings, fashion illustrations, or fashion sketches are sketches, which illustrate the design of new clothes or highlight historical or contemporary clothes. In the fashion industry, they are the rough draft on which the tailor can orientate themselves. Designers use this technique to organize and visualize their ideas.

Furthermore, spectators and prospective designers often make fashion sketches during fashion shows instead of taking notes. The sketch of a presented garment often says more about the designer and work than photographs or words that may not do justice to them.

Fashion drawings are pieces of history. When photography did not yet exist, painters were already portraying contemporary fashion at the time, thus providing a fairly accurate picture of the rules of dress at the time. As in earlier times, fashion illustrations are still a reflection of modern clothing today.

fashion sketch



What Makes Fashion Illustrations Special?

Nowadays there is so much more available than just photographing models in fashion scenes. There’s a huge range of computer programs and even apps that let you dress and undress a drawn model at will and design your own line. However, both of these options are often costly or require a lot of materials. Not everyone has their own photography studio with the right (and expensive!) equipment. And if you’re just sitting on the train and commuting to work, you don’t always have a laptop or computer at hand when you have a brilliant idea.

Fashion illustrations have the advantage that they can be produced anytime and anywhere. Put a small notebook, a pencil, an eraser, and two crayons in your pocket. This material does not take up much space and is easy to carry.

And you don’t need a model to whom you constantly have to call different instructions during a photo session, because you can make sure that your sketch perfectly reflects your idea. It’s up to you how your croquis presents your clothes. Therefore it is worthwhile for every budding fashion designer to learn how to fashion sketch.how to fashion sketch

These techniques are very diverse and offer the artist much greater and more far-reaching possibilities of expression than photography or apps. In principle, the artist can completely manifest their vision – by coloring or working out a previously made fashion sketch. You can bring Japanese elements into your drawing like Paul Irbe or make your drawings screamingly colorful and extremely striking like the famous Antonio Lopez, who made fashion illustrations popular again in the seventies with his works. In addition, you can realize your very own creative ideas as with hardly any other medium. And all this with the help of very few materials.



How to Draw Fashion Sketches

The thought of trying your hand at a fashion drawing may seem daunting, especially for beginners. Particularly if you have trouble with the proportions of your drawings, you might be tempted not to try it at all. Of course, perfect fashion illustrations by professionals can be quite intimidating. But doesn’t that apply to every art form?

If you don’t try it, you’re not better than you were before. Just pay attention to a few things that we present to you here on a silver platter. The most important thing: practice, practice, practice! Most artists create several hundred or even thousand fashion illustrations until they are really successful.

A basic distinction is made between technical and free fashion illustration. A third variation is the fashion sketch. For the sake of simplicity, we will limit ourselves here to the fashion sketch, where you can quickly and relatively easily put your ideas on paper. A free fashion sketch expresses not only the style of the clothes but also the prevailing mood, while a technical illustration contains all the details as well as measurements of the designed garments. The latter is generally used to tailor the drawn garment, so the measurements must be included.

However, as a beginner you should first concentrate on the fashion sketch. Below we will show you how to put your croquis and ideas on paper.



Materials Needed For Your Fashion Sketch

Professionals work with many different materials. They use not only pencils and colored pencils but also different paints such as watercolors and ink.


A Drawing Template

Using a drawing template in the form of catalogs or internet images is especially helpful for beginners to become familiar with the poses of models. When drawing fashion, you should make sure that the croquis has the same proportions and poses as a real model. Before you start, prepare a catalog or a fashion illustration template from the internet so that you can orientate yourself on it.

Remember, you will erase the first rough sketch later. This means firstly that you should paint them with fast and very fine strokes. Also, you should only use strong paper so that it doesn’t tear when you erase it. Get your materials ready. Now we can start!



Rough Fashion Design Sketches

First, draw guidelines on the paper. These are lines you can use for orientation. Start with a vertical center line that should be a little longer than your croquis. This line is called the balance line. You can use it to set the center of gravity of your model. It is important that this line is always straight. Even if your croquis leans to one side or sits in a sitting position, your balance line is perfectly straight. It connects the vertex with the lowest point of your croquis – for example, the toes or, when sitting, the bottom.

Now draw in the head. The balance line is in its center. Limit yourself to the outer lines. Your croquis doesn’t need any details because, just like on the catwalk, it should be used mainly to present the fashion. The most important thing is to draw and highlight the clothes.

Now draw a rectangle in the middle of the balance line. This will be adjusted to the proportions of your croquis. A slim model gets a narrower rectangle than a more voluptuous one. Place the rectangle in the pool area.

Both the balance line and this rectangle are used as a reference for the proportions. The inclination of the rectangle depends on the pose of your croquis: If your model tilts to the right, you must draw the rectangle slightly tilted to the right as well. If the pose is completely straight, you also draw it straight.

fashion design sketches



The Right Body Proportions of the Fashion Drawing

As far as the proportions of the fashion drawing are concerned, you can orient yourself on real people. The torso is about as long as two heads and the shoulders as wide as the pelvis. The waist is generally much narrower than the latter. Use the drawn pelvic rectangle for the sketch.

Curved lines are very important for fashion illustrations. These have a more organic shape than the edges and corners that you use when drawing the waist, for example. They make the croquis look more vivid and make your drawing look more natural.

After you have drawn the torso, consisting of a square waist and a bend line on the other side, the neck part is next. The length of the neck should be about half the length of the head. For the width, take about one-third of the shoulder.

Now you correct the head, because it is usually not straight in model poses, but is in harmony with the rest of the body. Draw it inclined or slightly turned to the side. You can erase the straight head that you drew first. Note that the size of the head has a serious influence on the appearance of your croquis: The bigger you draw the head, the more childlike the croquis will look.

fashion designs drawn

Now it’s the turn of the legs. Their length is about four heads. A characteristic of fashion sketches is the extra length of the legs, which makes the model look almost supernaturally tall. Orient the thigh width to the width of the head and draw it narrowly tapered towards the bottom. The latter also applies to the calves, i.e. the lower part of the legs. The ankle width is about a quarter of the width of the thigh.

Arms, hands, and feet are still missing. As for the arms, you’ll do the same with the legs. They should become narrower towards the bottom. The narrowest part, of course, is the wrist. If you want to give your model a slightly animated appearance, overdraw the arms a little. Make them a little longer than they naturally would be, but don’t overdo it.

The hands as well as the fingers should be narrow for the same reason, but of course not too narrow. They are oriented to the rest of the pose of the fashion model sketches. So you can put them on the hips of your model or hide one hand slightly behind the back.

The feet should be slightly shorter than the head. You can draw them as pointed rectangles.

how to draw fashion sketches



Dress Design Sketches

Your fashion model sketch is ready? Then it’s probably time for the fun part for you: drawing dresses! Before you dress your model, you should think carefully about how you want your fashion to look. Maybe you should do some dry runs without a model on another paper.

The strokes when drawing dresses should be a little stronger than on the model. However, as with the rest of your fashion drawing, the lines should still be fine enough that you can erase and correct them at any time. Then it’s not a disaster if you need to make improvements.

fashion model sketchPay attention to every subtlety in your fashion illustration. Design your clothes to stand out from the crowd and add accessories. But be careful: they shouldn’t take over your model, but rather highlight its fashion.

Your dress design sketches should fit the model in a natural way and have an equally natural drape. To achieve this, you should do a little research into fabrics, because coarse linen falls very differently than shiny silk. Maybe you will try it yourself with a little fashion show. Stand in front of a mirror in different clothes made of different materials and look at how the clothes fall.

dress design sketches



The Different Design Techniques

The main difference between fashion illustration and fashion photography lies in the design techniques used: the latter does not require artistic techniques such as drawing or collage. Of course, you can also add other artistic elements to photographs, but you don’t have to.

In fashion illustration, however, different design techniques should be combined to achieve a perfect result.

  • Drawing: First, of course, the croquis is sketched and then elaborated. You work with a pencil and eraser here.
  • Painting: Your drawn clothes are colored in using different mediums. Different colors can be used. Besides watercolors and crayons, this can also be ink.
  • Collage: This option is particularly interesting and expressive because you can join small and large pieces of another picture or a previously colored paper. You can use the snippets to highlight accessories or create clothes with geometric shapes. You can also stick a previously drawn and colored dress to your model’s body and then add accessories with crayons or other colors.



Tips and Tricks For Fashion Sketches

If you are not good at drawing proportions or don’t have the time for hours of drawing exercises, but would like to get your fashion designs drawn, download a fashion drawing template from the internet. These are available in many different variations. Even children’s fashion templates are included. On these, you can easily sketch your designs. Alternatively, you can use very thin paper and put it on a catalog or a fashion illustration. Then you simply copy the template.

Especially as a beginner, you may be afraid of ruining your painstakingly drawn croquis by using the wrong stroke or coloration when making your clothes. If you don’t want to use fashion drawings as templates because you prefer to draw your model yourself, you can work with the collage technique. Sketch and color your design on another piece of paper, cut it out, and stick it on your model. Add accessories to give your fashion drawing a professional and detailed look.

If you want to show off your clothes properly, always make sure to draw your model rather pale and with soft lines and your clothes with rich and strong strokes. If in doubt, color them further to make them stand out even more.

fashion sketching




If you are looking for inspiration, then just take a look at current or past fashion trends. Maybe even visit a fashion show to see what’s trendy right now.

In principle, you can find inspiration for accessories everywhere. You can even take a look at flora and fauna, pin huge flowers to your models’ clothes or add large or small floral prints to your fashion. Be creative and simply let off steam and enjoy the process.


Fashion design sketches are timeless and perfect for sorting your thoughts and creating your own fashion line. There is not much you can actually do wrong. The essential aspect here, as is true in many situations, is practice! Soon you will be drawing your first perfect models and dresses with ease.


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