Fashion Illustration – Part 1

As long as I remember, I had a passion to draw clothing. I have no idea how my parents didn’t flip out on me when they were finding doodles on the kitchen wall, underneath the table, or on top of illustrations in books. I always had an opinion, my vision of “the perfect look”.


Unfortunately I still don’t have a great talent or patience for sketching, and am still improving my skills. Today I would like to share some advice for rookies in the great world of Fashion Illustration.

  • Use Croquis at first – just tracing the silhouette will train your brain and hand, to remember certain shapes. There are plenty of good options available for notebooks like this, but my favorite was by Pantone. (https://www.pantone.com/products/pantone-lifestyle/pantone-fashion-sketchpad) You can just draw on top any design and color it. The disadvantage of drawing on top is that you can’t erase the lines of the body.

  • Order a traceable ruler (https://www.amazon.com/Template-Humanoid-Patterns-Clothing-Measuring/dp/B07QLFYJ78/ or https://www.amazon.com/Humanoid-Patterns-Clothing-Measuring-Drawings/dp/B07VKDQVS1/) for fashion designers, and make your pencil version of a standard Croquis. It would take you less than a minute to trace the shape and you can start designing. The disadvantage is that you are limited by the standard shape.

  • I personally don’t like standard shapes, so I drew my own style Croquis and turned it into an easy flat ruler, 3D printed it, and use it when I really have an idea I need to get down on paper.
  • Understand the difference of magical inspiring fashion illustrations, technical sketches, and an “idea sketch”.
    • The magical inspiring illustration is something that makes you feel the spirit of the future design. A great example would be Christian Siriano – amazing celebrity designer and recent mentor of Project Runway. His paintings are so colorful and just gorgeous.

    • The technical sketch is something that you would always refer to while making a garment. It would have front and back views, details of where seams, buttons and zippers are, and other technical details.

    • The Idea sketch is a doodle. You can draw it on a napkin while having a meal, or make a set of the most simple lines – just trying to formulate your vision. As a designer, I never know when I will have an idea and what can inspire me in any unpredictable situation. I have tried to take photos with my phone and write a note, but it is mostly about momentum. I bought myself a little set of a pen and technical pencil to always carry in my bag. Here is a link to what I have: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083CVNJ1T/.