Fashion sketches for the artistically-challenged

20 Jan

Or, in which I decide to improve my disastrous drawing skills.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

I am baring my soul to you in this post, dear readers, and showing you my efforts with a pen and paper. I’ve decided that this is going to be a skill I simply HAVE to improve this year, or else I am going to keep forgetting my ideas or be unable to describe them to curious friends and family. If I have any aspirations to working with fashion at all, my sketching is going to have get better. Call it a resolution! I watched Lagerfeld Confidential the other night and loved watching Karl’s method of sketching – with a black texta, using his fingers to smudge colour into the designs. It made me hopeful that not all fashion sketching has to be perfect art.

Croquis image thanks to Designers Nexus!

I know that many designers use what is called a ‘croquis’, or a line drawing of a figure, to draw over and design an outfit. So that is what I decided to do as my first step. Human proportions are very difficult to get right! I found a book at work which had several figures in different poses, which was super helpful. Daily outfits and basic ideas are what I am drawing to start off – anything to get my brain used to thinking and working this way. Here is one of my more recent attempts!

I know, it is somewhat lacking in personality, and the shape of the model is nothing like my own. But the point is, I now remember what my concept with this outfit was, and what I liked about it. It is a vast improvement on the disproportionate, weirdly-angled shapes I draw free-hand. Sketching how fabric falls and behaves is a new challenge as well! Perhaps one day, I will have something to offer the What I Wore Today (Drawings Only) group. I am absolutely staggered by the talent that is there, and also insanely jealous!

from kiddy factory

One day, my friends, one day… Until then, I will push on and remember that Coco Chanel never sketched her designs either!

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9 Responses to “Fashion sketches for the artistically-challenged”

  1. Andi B. Goode January 21, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    I like your drawing! I don’t know much about fashion drawing but I’m sure it’s just as personal as art drawing. Each person expresses themselves differently. Some do it in a more ‘polished’ way but that doesn’t mean that something more that may seem ‘messy’ is in any way less valid, as you pointed out with Karl Lagerfeld’s drawings (which are lovely!)
    -Andi x

  2. Alyssa January 21, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Hee, the hand looks just like how I do hands! I love that you’re trying to improve on this particular aspect of design…I started the other way around, being an art student (who was more interested in designing outfitd for her furries) and then after learning how to sew, I have had to relearn designing because a lot of the way I was drawing things was neither practical nor realistic. Most of the time I just design straight from my head now 😛

  3. L. January 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I’m hopeless at human proportions which is why I usually stick to drawing faces, haha! I love those messy fashion designer styled pictures though. And that group is so cool! I can never get around to taking daily outfit photos but drawing what I wore might be an interesting project.

  4. Lily January 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    I find it really useful to do a drawing of what I’m making.. but I don’t bother with hands or heads or feet (or even legs, most of the time). Unless you’re super keen to be a fashion illustrator, don’t worry about it! The purpose of drawing is to help you design a dress and if it does that, who cares how pretty it is or how much character it has.

  5. Alyssa January 21, 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    I awarded you a Kreativ Blogger Award here:
    http://vintageorbust.blogspot.com/2010/01/kreativ-blogger-award.html#comments

  6. Miss Emmi January 22, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    I can draw, but I am not yet at the level I need to be at in sewing in order to create my designs! That said, my art is just a hobby, and I use it to explore a totally different aspect of myself than the side who likes vintage fashion. Most of my friends doing fashion design courses do what you’re doing – trace a model and draw the clothes on top.

    (Is Chanel saying that women in the 60s had ugly knees? I can’t make it out!)

  7. Abi January 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Using a croquis is definitely the way to go, and there’s no shame in admitting that! I can totally relate to you predicament, being the perfectionist that I am! Who wants to be worrying about proportions and stuff when you just want to show off the outfit. I used to use this great book back in high school by John Peacock, that was full of both croquis and also showed how to draw different fabrics and design features. I’ll see if I can use my googlefu to find it for you. I was working on a project a while ago to draw up my own set of croquis from photographs, but I only got one or two done at the time. Which reminds me that I should dig those out!

    The only other thing is practice, practice, practice! And do what suits you!

  8. Pavlina January 27, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    Well, your sketch is about an order of magnitude better than anything I have done! I think it looks great!

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