The best designers have excellent skills in illustration
This is especially so with Fashion Designers. I am going to upload quite a few images from my portfolio and I would ask that if these images are copied that people can at-least draw their own versions!
Fashion illustration has been a hobby of mine since I was a small child. In high school when I was selected to study at White house for a short course scholarship in illustration was really when I started to understand the form and shapes involved but it was not until I was studying my Diploma in Fashion Design and we had a more intensive course in illustration did I start to think more about shading and using copic markers. Rendering without drawing black lines everywhere. As it can be so tempting to do at times.lol.I have drawn some really bad illustrations and I am definitely still learning. I am still young and would call myself a beginner in the field of illustration however with this skill if you learn it well you can conquer the world finding a place in the hearts of many. I would like you to link my Blog to your Facebook page if you do;).Or even if you don’t think about sharing it with other fashion entrepreneurs.
Front view Croquis
So firstly you start with drawing the croquis which is a shell of the body without any rendering. Rendering is how you fill the image e.g. lead pencil rendering, ink, copic marker, water colours, chalk, paint. So this croquis will show you the basic silhouette of the form your wishing to drape your design onto. All illustrators would have atleast 20 or more of these basic shapes or as they design would think of a body type and position for which they would like their design displayed and draw this basic croquis that they can draw onto. What this means is that if you draw half the image and screw up majorly with a basic slip of the brush or pen you can simply retrace the image off this croquis and make any adaptations you would like. You can also keep the image in a basic A3 folder for when you may like to practise another image your designing and so on.
Fashion illustrations have their own scale and that has been a century old tradition dating back to the Greeks where they defined the perfect human body as following the golden mean.The golden mean is a way of using symmetry, proportion and harmony to define perfection.All very mathematical rather as you will find out if you read this article: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/technical/04/033104.asp#axzz1jbGdZOgs
This perfection in illustration is the ability to draw between a scale of 1-9 or 1-10 if you count the feet of a body.
Grab your A3 design folio or A3 visual art diary (or more expensive ink proof paper that costs a ridiculous amount).If you are just practising it would be best to start on the cheaper side of the wheel because it will literally take you a couple of hundred drawings before you start to appreciate your own work as even resembling decency.Unless you are super spectacular because you may be:)
Scale your page from 1-10 using your chosen width that you calculated earlier.Then write the numbers down the side 1-10 so that you know which is which. Draw a center line lightly so that you can cut the body in two sides. The head is the most important beginning of drawing your croquis. This is because the width and height of your head define the width of certain parts of your body.Draw an egg shaped head between 0-1 and make sure it is centred appropriately.
between 1-2 you will be drawing your shoulders which should be the value of 1 and a half heads either side of centre front and also half way between 1 and 2 unless you are drawing a shape that is standing in a different pose.Shoulders meet the neck at 1.5 heads down.Chest is at 2. Waits and elbows should be on 3 and the waist should have 3/4 heads width.Hips and wrists on 4.The crutch is at 4 1/4. Hands reach 5. Knees 6. widest part of calf is at 7 1/4 – 7 1/2. 9 is the beginning of the feet.
Contemporary Fashion Illustration Techniques
There are many books that have been written on fashion illustration however it is up to you on which ones you empathise with and can really gain something out of. For up and coming designers Naoki Watanabe is fabulous to start with.
Colors For Modern Fashion / Drawing Fashion With Colored Markers Nancy Riegelman Nine Heads Media
For the more experienced that would like to brush up their own techniques “Colours For Modern Fashion-Drawing Fashion With Coloured Markers” Nancy Riegelman is probably the best reference around atm. The book depository sells these for fantastic prices and if you are looking for bargains Ebay can be fabulous when trying to buy these very in demand Illustration guides.
Angles of the Body
The body leans in many different ways depending on how you are standing. Just remember that the centre of your body is defined by the hollow at the base of your neck down. No matter what stance you have this will display the central most part of your body.Also when drawing different poses it is easy to draw guidelines of the direction you want your shoulders waist and hips. Even drawing little circles for wrists, shoulders, ankles and knees will help in drawing the croquis that you are after.
Drawing an illustration from photography:
A good designer can look at a magazine and see an image or a pose of a girl and then draw that image in the proportions of a fashion illustration equally splitting the points of the body into the perfect mean. As no human is actually perfect sometimes it can be hard to split the body into perfection without losing certain likenesses. Although with practise this will become very easy.
After you redraw the shape of the person into the prefect croquis for your design you then draw your design onto the form making sure you take into account the shape of the body and how parts will be different shapes. E.g the calf muscles being bigger at the top below the knee then smaller towards the bottom. The arms will be bigger nearer the shoulder than the wrist.
Rendering an Illustration:
Some basic tools you might want to invest in.
Here is a photograph of my copic markers and water colours that I use for basic rendering of illustrations.
Rendered Swimsuit Illustration
Next rendering the illustration: You can do this using basic techniques of pencil and copic markers and it will look fabulous after you have practised and sorted out the best way for you to render your image. You can also use black ink or any other material that you think may suit the way you would like to display your image.This illustration was a buttons collection that I designed a swimwear range based on. Hence I have tried to bring in some elements from that idea like the needle and thread.
These are some Illustrations I completed whilst practising for my course last year.I am not especially happy with the lines in either but this is the sort of thing we are aiming for when rendering. The more you practise the better it will get. Especially when using copic markers.
Asian Styling Variation2
Drawing Womens Faces:
The more you draw the more you want to make your facial illustrations look beautiful. You can do this by practising on a larger scale.
Split an A3 page into 1 head length and then draw 2/3rds of that length as the width. Draw a big egg head shape and then split it further into half both ways length and width. then 1/2 of 1/2 and 1/2 of 1/4 this will mean that you will have the basic lines in place to draw your face. Your eyes are half way nose is just before 1/4 and your lips just above the 1/8 line. Your eyes are half of half the width of the head and this width is also the separation between the eyes.
Drawing Men’s Faces:
Mens Facial Illustration
Men have squarish features usually in fashion illustration. The illusion of having more angular features is very attractive and so that is why they are dran like this. They also have larger foreheads and more angular jaw structures.Thinner lips and chunkier eyebrows.
Drawing Male Croquis:
Also with drawing men’s croqui’s you do not tighten the waist of a man as they are all muscle. Drawing a waist will actually make the illustration look like a manly woman.It’s more like broad shoulders and tiny hips making the man look more masculine rather than effeminate. That is the main change between drawing fashions for males and females in illustration.
I generally draw all my collections onto basic croquis when I am designing because I find them efficient in deciding what looks good and what looks bad on a form. You can then draw the illustration from this image.Here is one I have been preparing for my current Autumn/ Winter Collection 2012.
Tie Dress with Boat Neck and Japanese Stylisation
This is my croquis for my Japanese Bow Boat Neck dress before rendering.
Rendered Boat Neck Japanese Bow Dress Illustration
After Rendering with Copic Marker and Water colour pencils you have something beautiful that you can use in any format to display to customers or buying teams when you have meetings with potential customers. Of course this is the fun side of Fashion Design because there is a lot more work in actually making the collection. Especially pattern making and toiling. Then you might even want to make your whole collection yourself which is a massive undertaking.