The First Steps of Fashion Design: From Concept to Illustration

Bellavance NYC, Nolan Bellavance and Ava Hama, Co-Founders

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10 Lessons (58m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Establishing Proportions

    • 3. Defining the Body

    • 4. Hands and Feet

    • 5. Faces and Hair

    • 6. Fabric Types and Qualities

    • 7. Clothes on the Body

    • 8. Texture and Color

    • 9. Finishing the sketch

    • 10. More Creative Classes on Skillshare

56 students are watching this class

Project Description

Sketch 3 fashion designs

Basic Bodies

  1. Establishing Proportion

    It is important to use simple techniques that frame the main points of the body. As we go over in the video, make sure to start with anchor points and a center line and then move on to creating the shapes used to outline the main parts of the body (head, torso, limbs). Using these simple sketching shapes creates the basis for your figure.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Establish a center line for balance and proportion
    • Establish anchor points that act as the framework for the body using lines to establish the levels on the body that correspond to where the head, shoulders, bust, waist, hips, crotch, knees, ankles and feet are.
    • Connect these points with shapes to start creating the body shape 
  2. Defining the Body

    After defining the body using shapes and simple sketching techniques, the next step is to fill the body with more realistic proportions.  As we demonstrate in the video, this step is about making the hard shapes we used to frame the body more fluid to reflect a more realistic representation of the body.  Think of the last step as the skeleton and this step as putting meat on the bones.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Connect the simple shapes used in step one with fluid lines to establish more realistic proportions that reflect the musculature of the body.
  3. Hands and feet

    Finishing the limbs with realistic hands and feet is so important to making your sketch feel complete, yet these elements can be difficult to depict. As we show you in the video, this step is a closer look at how to quickly and easily draw hands and feet using the same techniques as we use in earlier steps; starting with simple shapes and going over them with fluid lines to establish a more realistic look.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Quick gestural representations for hands and feet, the focus here is about capturing the essence of a hand or foot with just a few lines
    • Multiple angles to show how the hand and foot looks when placed in different positions
  4. Faces and Hair

    The face and hair will give your sketch the personality it needs to convey the attitude of your design. Just like step 3, we show you in the video how to draw faces and hair using as few pencil strokes as possible. These details should be suggestive and will give your illustration personality that does not look laboured.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Framing head and establishing balance based on where to place the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
    • Drawing different features; eye, nose, mouth shapes
    • Using quick techniques to create a more gestural face
    • Outlining different hair styles, and using quick tips to fill in for different types of texture, depending on the style.

Clothes on the Body

  1. Fabric types and their qualities

    Inspecting various fabrics in real life is paramount to your understanding of how to draw them two dimensionally. As we demonstrate in the video, inspecting a fabric and establishing it’s weight and how it moves before drawing it is important to how you interpret it on the page. We show you how to quickly draw a couple of different types of fabric and encourage you to inspect as many as you like at home and practice them.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Consider the qualities of fabrics such as chiffon, satin, denim, different weights of knits, suiting to establish a basis for what to look for when interpreting them quickly on the page.
    • Using quick sketching techniques to draw samples of each fabric we inspect before interpreting them into a design. 
  2. Details

    Applying fabric to the body is the essential step of designing. Using classic garments as a basis, we show you in this video how fabric falls and moves around certain parts of the body, specifically areas where fabrics bunch, fold, or twist. Here we will establish easy ways to draw garment details and their proportionality.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Use simple garments to establish how different fabric moves around the limbs and different parts of the body
    • Create a framework for drawing easy pockets, collars, pleating, gathering, ruffles, etc which will allow you to employ them in your own designs more freely.

Rendering and Design

  1. Texture

    The texture and the surface of a fabric is also very important in how we translate our designs. In this step we show you various quick tips for rendering textures, such as knits, surface texture, motif, print etc.

    Techniques used in this video:

    • Using simple tips and tools to create textures for knits, wool, denim, as well as practicing motif and print.


  2. Color

    Adding color to a design is probably the most important step in any illustration because it creates the specificity and point of view of your vision. As we show in the video, there are various ways to apply color to a design in different mediums to establish your vision and how to appropriately apply it to different types of fabric.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Using markers to color a drawing using quick, gestural techniques
    • Using colored pencils and paint to create texture


  3. Finishing Touches

    The last step to your illustration is to polish it with simple steps that make certain elements pop and stand out.  As we show you in the video, this is as simple as outlining certain elements of the design or even adding a compliment color as your background to help make the sketch stand out.


    Techniques used in this video:

    • Simple outlining of elements in the sketch with ink
    • Using a color to help make the sketch stand out as a finishing touch.
  4. Draw your garments

    Now that we have a framework in place, we want you to use your imagination and design three original looks using the techniques we have gone over to create three dynamic illustrations that also show your design skills point of view.

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