Useful Tips

How to draw clothing sketches


Tips for beginners from one of the most successful fashion illustrators Alena Lavdovskaya

Fashionable illustration is undergoing a real renaissance: graphics and watercolors return to glossy pages and handouts, are used as prints in clothing design. The famous Russian fashion illustrator, who was at the forefront of the creative department at TsUM, as well as the creator of projects for leading glossy magazines, Alena Lavdovskaya told ELLE about the development of fashion illustration in Russia and gave advice to those who want to develop in this area.

What is the role of fashion illustration in today's fashion / gloss world?

In the Russian market, illustration is only gaining momentum and is beginning to win hearts. Gloss dominates the art of photography all over the world - because it is more understandable and sells better, which is important in our commercialized world. The Russian fashion market is still young, there is no culture and history of fashionable illustration. However, there is a love of imaginative presentation of the idea, nurtured at Murzilka and Crocodile. World glossy magazines, whose covers and pages were decorated with illustrations by the Russian emigrant artist Erte and many others, have huge archives of works by great masters. The gloss came to us much later and already in photo format. However, thanks to web versions of magazines, instagram and blogging, the demand for illustrative presentation of fashion is growing.

How is illustration different from photography?

By the fact that we draw with paints and lines and we can immediately add our fantasy world to the picture, and the photographer draws more with light and captures the beauty and moment of the real world. I have great respect for photography and understand perfectly well that there can be no competition or opposition. Of course, at one time photography well "pushed" the illustration from the pages of magazines, advertising and in general from everyday life. However, today, in the age of digital technology and the pursuit of fresh and catchy content, illustration has loudly declared itself again. To create a unique picture, you need to feel and seize the moment, you need to see the scene and composition, read images and emotions, pass them through yourself and give out a picture. The photographer has the final part of the work - post-production and retouching, the illustrator - the photograph of the illustration and the same post-production.

What 5 items must be in the arsenal of fashion illustrator?

A notebook for sketches and an inexhaustible bundle of A3 paper, a Moleskine portfolio folder or just a tablet with an A3 format clip for storing work and the ability to sit and draw on a hard surface anywhere. Favorite pencil, if you are a conservative and like one technique, or a whole suitcase of cool materials, if you are a fan of experimenting. For example, I often carry with me on a business trip half a case of Faber-Castell pencils and Winsor & Newton markers, ink, brushes and other good, but for every show I take with me 1 material and work it out to the fullest.

Also at hand you need a phone for shooting and primary processing of photos. I have been using the iPhone for many years, I like the camera. By the way, the new iPhone 7 has optical stabilization, you can take photos in RAW format and immediately edit them, for example, in the Adobe Lightroom application - it is very convenient. And for full-fledged image processing, I use MacBook Pro and Photoshop.

Fashion illustration often means very fast work: what does the process from concept to publication look like?

In my case, this is exactly so; I like to work quickly. From 30-60 second sketches on the show, to "long" work (no more than 60 minutes, and for someone the process takes tens of hours - it all depends on the technique). If we take an example of work within the framework of the Paris Fashion Week, then the process is as follows:

- if you were allowed to go to the backstage - this is happiness, because it is here that you can ask the model to freeze in the pose you need for 5-10 minutes and draw a sketch, as well as photograph the desired angles on the iPhone for further work.

- Next, go to the hall and draw 30-second linear emotions from the show. This is a real pleasure and drive, I usually don’t show them to anyone, but for me these sketches are expensive as the most vivid impressions of the show.

- I also take photos and videos in between drafts, so that later I can draw final pictures on them.

- in the evening after the show or early in the morning I revise photos / videos / sketches, choose successful camera angles and work through the final illustrations.

- I take pictures in good daylight in HD format, you can edit immediately in your favorite application.

Share a personal life hack for those who are taking their first steps in this area?

It's simple: be bolder, draw more alive, do not spare yourself. Take advantage of the fact that the iPhone is always at hand, and take pictures of everything that catches and likes. I have a version with 256 GB of memory - I can’t refuse anything to myself. Seize the moment and draw your photos - the more practice, the better it will turn out.

Sketching Rules

It should be noted that a sketch is not an exact reflection of a human figure, which means that it is not worth drawing too hard a person’s face. More attention is paid to garments, accessories and details, while the main silhouette, as it were, remains in the background.

There are a number of rules on how to draw a sketch correctly, namely:

  • As the main tools, you need to choose a hard pencil, which will allow you to easily remove the excess lines in the process of creating the model, a high-quality eraser, thick paper, as a basis for sketching, paints, pencils or other tools for coloring the final version of the drawing.
  • It is necessary to think over the future pose of a person in advance, since it is she who shows the created thing in the most favorable perspective.
  • If you don’t have enough experience in drawing and you are at a loss to create a skeleton - the human figure itself, you can use the alternative method - download the finished layout from the Internet and print it or copy it from another source.

If you want to learn how to create high-quality professional sketches, you should pay special attention to all the details - learn how to draw different poses of models, and often - and combine them in one drawing.

We draw the model for the sketch correctly

Not sure how to draw a model for your own drawing? It's time to learn this!

Below is a suggested step-by-step guide for creating a model:

  • The first line in the figure will be a straight vertical line, which symbolizes the future location of the model. The head will be located at the top of the line, and the legs, respectively, at the bottom. This line should be started in the middle of the sheet, even in cases when the silhouette will sit, stand with an inclination or occupy other poses. This position of the line will create a proportional and high-quality pattern.
  • Draw an oval in the head area - to create all the details of the face and hairstyles - there is no need, only in cases where this is of key importance, or you have drawing skills.
  • Draw the hips of the model - to do this, visually divide the line in half and draw an equilateral square, just below the middle. If necessary, give the model a special pose - the square should be shifted in one direction or another.
  • Correctly draw the torso and shoulder area - draw 2 lines from the hips, towards the center line, thereby creating a waist. Then draw two more lines from the waist to the shoulders, with a slight extension. It is important to note that the length of the torso is on average equal to the length of 2 goals. In addition, the shoulder width cannot be less or longer than the line of the hips.
  • Draw the area of ​​the neck and head - complementing the model with details, and at the same time, comparing the proportions of the body and head.
  • Draw the legs. Particular attention should be paid to their length - about 4 heads, and their fullness - in the region of the knee and ankles, the leg is thinner than in the region of the lower leg and thigh.
  • Draw the hands and feet - narrow your hands in the elbow and wrist, think about where they will be located - along the body or at the waist. Feet, in a straight pose, are in the form of triangles.

Following these recommendations, you will surely succeed in creating the ideal basis for the future sketch. You can safely proceed to the next part and learn how to draw clothes on the finished model.

How to draw clothes on a model

Not sure how to draw clothes on an already finished model? Then you should familiarize yourself with a number of basic rules that allow you to create the perfect designer costume,


  • Think about the design of clothing, its style, style, cut and color in advance. As an example, you can use popular fashion magazines and photos from fashion shows.
  • Starting to draw on a sheet, do not forget to reflect small details, accessories, patterns, ruffles - then you will be able to create a complete and holistic image.
  • Draw the curves and folds in clothes with extreme care - convey details as believably as possible.
  • For realism, it is worth taking into account the density of the fabric and the way it will fit in the shape - a denser fabric will hide some forms, and a lightweight one on the contrary will wrap around like a second skin.
  • Be sure to draw vertical folds of clothing - the way it flows along the figure - for thick fabrics - large wavy lines, for the lungs - small broken lines.
  • If your clothes have a pattern - pay special attention to it, given the subtleties of sewing fabric - the place where the pattern connects or vice versa - is interrupted.
  • Color the drawing and complement it with shadows and partial shadows.
  • Remove the extra lines of the frame and finish the image.

In order for the future sketch to maximally reflect the features of the clothes you created, it is worth drawing a flat layout of the thing. On a separate piece of paper, schematically depict the figure in front, side or back - from those angles that reflect all the details of the cut.

To fully understand the procedure for drawing such drawings, you can watch video tutorials. Following the recommendations and practicing, even a beginner will learn how to draw a suit and model!

Immerse yourself in an atmosphere of creativity and inspiration, and in a few days drawing will become an integral part of your life!

Give yourself the opportunity to contemplate the birth of the beautiful!