Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fashion Illustration: Put Your Ideas on Paper, Part 1

We all know that fashion designers exist--they are the ones who create the concepts for the clothes we wear and the sewing patterns we buy.  Fashion designers are needed for movie costumes and red carpet events, as well as, athletic clothes (someone had to design this year's Olympic team outfits) and jewelry.  Designers range from the uber-famous such as Armani and Chanel to the unknown college student.  But, when you stop and really think about it, you are also a fashion designer.  In fact, anyone who has ever picked out clothing for an outfit or chosen specific fabric to go with a particular pattern is a designer--just on a smaller scale.  So, why not put your ideas onto paper?

Not everyone will see their creations strut down the runway of a major show, but that doesn't mean a thoughtful plan isn't necessary.  By putting your ideas onto paper, you take them from imagination and bring them one step closer to reality.  In fact, it is a great way to preview fabric and clothing combinations before you expend additional time and money.

Even if you don't design your own patterns or practice draping, drawing your ideas out and including colors and patterns similar to what you plan to use or showing adjustments you'd like to make can help you decide whether it will give the results you are after.  I do this in two ways--first, I find a pattern I really like and sketch out the view I'd like to try with my choice of fabrics and the second, I sketch out what I'd like to make and then find the patterns that most closely match my ideas.  Either way, I get to see if what I think would look good, really does.

You'll need some basic supplies to begin delving into the world of fashion illustration:  sketch book paper (I prefer a white paper over a "natural" paper for tracing purposes) or typing paper will work in a pinch; a pencil (I prefer mechanical ones so that I don't lose the sharp point); a good eraser (such as a PaperMate Black Pearl which gives a good edge and doesn't smudge ink or tear paper); something to add color such as pens, markers, coloring pencils or crayons; and if you aren't very good at drawing the human figure, you'll want some croquis to trace.

A croquis, pronounced like saying "crow key" , is simply what fashion illustrators call their drawings.  There are several sites out there that offer crocquis templates which allow you to trace the figure onto your paper and then add clothing designs and color.  Just print them off on your computer, place that paper underneath your sketching paper (now you know why I like white--easier to see the lines) and trace in pencil.

Here are a few sites to get you started, although later I will show you how to make a croquis of yourself:

Fashion Templates (only $1 per croquis)
Threads Croquis Family (free, but quite basic)
Alley Cat Scratch (free, but basic)
Designers Nexus (free)

Go get your supplies and find a croquis that is similar to your body shape--or one that just inspires you to design--and in Part 2, I'll go through the process of illustrating your design!
Fashion Illustration: Put Your Ideas on Paper, Part 1SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

1 comment:

  1. I remember doing something very similar as a kid when I would draw people and put outfits on them (right down to the shoes, earrings, and hats). Guess that goes to show that you don't need to be a "professional", you just have to enjoy putting your ideas to paper.
    Thanks for the info on the croquis (including how to say it).


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