No Nudes, Just Clothes: The Basics of Drawing Historical Costume on iPad Pro | Courtney Yu | Skillshare

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No Nudes, Just Clothes: The Basics of Drawing Historical Costume on iPad Pro

teacher avatar Courtney Yu, Digital Illustrator in LA

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro Video


    • 2.

      Procreate Tutorial


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Drawing Tips 1


    • 6.

      Drawing Tips 2


    • 7.

      Drawing Tips 3


    • 8.



    • 9.



    • 10.

      Final Line and Color


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About This Class

Clothes can say a lot about a person - their personality, their time period, their status, etc. Capture the feel of a fantastic costume from research to concept, on either an iPad Pro or your desktop drawing software. I’ll be guiding you through the various steps of drawing clothes, from gathering reference through a final design. I will be focusing on a specific historical era for my example, but feel free to choose any time period you fancy.

This class is perfect for anyone with a passion for art, from beginners to pros looking to hone their skills. This class will take you through various steps of costume design, showcasing your ability to combine creative freedom with historical details. 


What You'll Learn

  • Concept. The 1st stage of the class is to start writing down details you have in mind for your character. Think of this as a blue-sky brainstorm to narrow down what you want to draw.
  • Procreate Tutorial. This basic tutorial is for anyone who is new to Procreate on the iPad Pro. 
  • Research. In this stage, we’ll explore different resources available for researching the time period of your choice, from online sites to favorite books.
  • Drawing Form Tips. We’ll review some quick tips on giving clothes form and shape so they feel like they fit your character.
  • Sketch. Now that we’ve got some ideas, references, and a few tips, let’s start sketching! We’ll start with a quick sketch of your figure (or use one of mine!) , then start putting pencil to paper on those costumes.
  • Variety. Using our model, let’s play around with alternative ideas for your costumes. We wear different clothes throughout the day, thus, so will our characters. I recommend creating at least 3 different variations before choosing your favorite sketch to further paint. 
  • Final Design. In our final stage, you’ll have chosen your favorite design to further refine with more detail so your ideas can come to life. 

What You'll Do

You will create a finished costume design for a character of your choice. This will be executed from start to finish, covering all essential techniques and ideas in illustrating historical clothing.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Courtney Yu

Digital Illustrator in LA


Production Coordinator by day, Digital Illustrator by night. Her major milestones include a current passion for production at Dreamworks Animation and her B.F.A in Digital Arts from the Dodge College of Film and Media Studies at Chapman University.

In her downtime, she fuels her wanderlust by planning her next adventure abroad.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro Video: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining me today and welcome to no nudes just close in. This class will be going through the process of illustrating close any character from start to finish. Uh, this classes for artists of all levels who aspired to bring their characters to life. I'll be using procreate on my iPad pro, but you can apply these techniques to any desktop software with the painting program will cover brainstorming, research, a few quick drawing tips, sketching out your first design, some variations on that design and then finishing everything up. So whether you signed on to design your dream cause play, or perhaps you just want to draw more than T shirt and jeans on your character, I hope you enjoy these tips and tricks to work on your next design. 2. Procreate Tutorial: If you're new to creating art on the iPad Pro, let's do a brief review over the controls. You'll open up the gallery and you'll tap the plus sign on the top right of your screen. I personally enjoy the default screen size eso. I always select that, and you'll tap on that with your pencil and it'll open up a new canvas. Now you'll see two slider bars on the bottom on the left side of your screen. The top one is your brush size, so that'll be how smaller big your actual brush will be. And then the bottom slider is thea, possibly of your brush. That will be how strong you see the pigments on your brush, the brush they'll select. You'll see on the top row of these buttons. And my preferred brush is for sketching. Is the elder three point out, which I'll include a link in description below and for painting. I usually like the wash brush, which I will also include in your references. Now, Besides your brush, you will have thesis much tool if you want for later on. Uh, the next is your eraser, and then after that is your layers Now, if you want a new layer, you can always tap on the plus button, and if you want to change the A pass ity on your layer, you will see a small end near the name you tap on that and you'll see an opacity so later on. If you want to make more designs or you want to draw on top of an old design, you'll need to use that. You'll also notice a small check mark near the end near narrow layer. Name. What that is is it just gives you a really quick visibility for your layers so you can turn it off and on. You can also lock your layer by swiping with two fingers to the right and hitting the lock . If you need to unlock, just swipe with two fingers again inner layer and check. I unlock. If you like to duplicate a layer again, you can use two fingers on your layer name. Swipe with those two fingers to the right, and you'll see a duplicate function that will duplicate your layer. If you want to move, say a duplication you can tap on your cursor on the top left, and that is your move tool, and you could just slide it to the right. Now you're going to see a wrench, which is all of your preferences. So going through, you'll see different actions you can use like image. So if you want to put in image in their canvas, um, share video preferences and help, there's a lot of options here, so I'm not really going to go into this. But if you'd like a more in depth tutorial in this area, please let me know. The next is adjustments, and here's we can get really fancy if you want to mess with, say, the hue, saturation and brightness for your image. Ah, so if something's not quite right, you can always just move those sliders along until you're satisfied. Now, next is you're gonna have your marquee tool so you can free hand select something that you may want to move later, or if you want to select and throw color onto that area like you would in, say photo shop. But for now, what I'm doing is I'm using it in order to select a model copy and paste. To get this function, you select what you want you use three fingers to drag down on your screen, and then all your cut, copy and paste options will show up. And here you can see that once I have it pasted, I can use the cursor to move it into place. Where I would like the blue is just guides that hope you along if you want to move its street across or up and down. And now you can see the eye of all of my models on three separate layers. Finally, on the very top right corner, you'll see a blob, and that will be your colors. You top on that, and you can select from either the ring of colors that you see below. Or you can select on your swatches for sketches. I personally like to start with either a light pink or light blue, or sometimes I will design right with black. But I will lower the A pass ity on that layer so that I know that it is not a final design , but it is just me exploring some ideas and anything goes wrong. Don't worry about it. You can just simply with a gesture with two fingers double tap on the screen, and it will undo it for you if need to undo a little bit more like I sometimes do. You just hold those two right fingers on the screen, and it will undo it for you. And luckily, your work will always be saved. Uh, you do not need to have that moment of panic where you realize Oh, no. I've been working on this design and I didn't save anything. But don't worry. The iPad pro has your back. 3. Brainstorm: everyone could use a little brainstorm now and again. Take a few minutes to think about what you want to convey about your character and answer a few questions to yourself. Are they bowled? Modest, adventurous, ecstatic? What time period do they live in? What gender do they feel like they represent any particular legs or dislikes that may apply to what they like to wear in their everyday life? I know this seems like a lot to consider, but your clothes can say a lot about a person, and it could make for a great design when apply properly. For instance, for this tutorial, I chose Do a fun experiment where I wanted to put poison ivy in the Regency Time period. Placing a modern day character in Jane Austen's time seemed like a fun challenge. I really wanted Teoh challenge myself in placing a old character in a design where society was dress a little more modestly. So I know going in that Pamela is not afraid to show a little scan and show off her voluptuous solo at, and we're going to keep that mind as we go forward in this design 4. Research: now for one of my favorite parts. The research I knows consume overwhelming, but it helps to know your limit and to think of it like a treasure hunt. I never know what interesting designs were going to come across when I start. Uh, although if you're new to this, I would say maybe don't devote more than an hour to it. You don't want to be going down a rabbit hole too soon before you even start your design. Ah, you'll want to be looking at silhouettes materials used some examples for what you're looking for and maybe some stand up pieces that you really fancy. You can also go back to do a quick search if you want to find more details later on. But for now, we just want to get the basics of the time period that you've chosen. Uh, now for this I'm fairly familiar with the region Sierra. So I knew where to go and what to look for. But feel free to start with an error that, you know, that could be Greek, medieval, even modern day close. I have a few costume history books that I keep on hand, which I put in the links below, and especially some that shows in fashion plates of that era. Or perhaps give a little background info. Like for Regency. A lot of the dresses were made of Muslim and cotton, so I know that they'll be fairly breathable and will flow easily, Uh, and also that the Empire Waist, which is a scene that hits right below the bust, was very popular in that era. Uh, now, sometimes it helps to look at the silhouettes to help inform your design, such as the Regency. Dresses were very flowy, very rectangular and very simple. If you have a particularly favorite showing minds that displays some designs that you really love, feel free to use as an example a swell. For instance. I, of course, chose the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice and watched it again for like the third time and screen shouted a few of my favorite outfits is inspiration. Even if the show you fancy is perhaps not 100% historically accurate in its designs, it can at least show you how the clothes move and wrap around the figure for your inspiration. I've also linked a YouTube show in the references that I particularly love and it's gone through some of the latest historical shows and has actually said, are the close historically accurate and some pros and cons regarding that subject. Eso, once you got the research, will move on to some quick drying tips. 5. Drawing Tips 1: Now that you have your research, let's practice a few drawing form tips before we start on your design. Let's take a quick look at the construction. Knowing the seams, folds and wrinkles can help make. Even the simplest designs feel little more believable. Even taking a look at your own clothes, you can see where the seams are on the shoulders, Uh, perhaps on the bus line or down the sides of your garment. Perhaps any zippers or buttons that help hold everything together can really help you understand how to convey that sort of colluding piece on paper or, in this case or iPad screen. Uh, you can also take a look at the hems on your sleeves or on your pants on any sort of construction lines that you can tell. Ah, lot of times when you're looking at the end of a piece, you'll see fabric that is folded over what they have just to help give you a clean line on the construction. Now you'll see here I've brought a couple examples for different sort of construction lines that I've found in my research material. Now you'll see for this man's jacket I've outlined thes shoulder seam thesis. I'd seen the waste and a cuff, uh, these air, some basic construction points. But I wanted to really out Lytham in research that you can see how they're applied, you'll see on the shoulder you'll have to seems one for attaching a sleeve to the torso and another for attaching the front and back sides of the torso. Now here's a unique instance. I saw Ah, with Lydia's outfit here. She has a puff on her shoulder. So what you have to do for that is you have to have a little bit extra fabric that's bunched on the shoulder, so she kind of has to seems going on here. It's the usual shoulder seam for attaching the front and back torso of this, uh, dress. But you also have a scene that's under the puff because that's where the fabric had bun shop. Sometimes little details like these can really help. You're designed for a little more believable as well as I wanted to point out again, any sort of opening that you have on the body is usually going tohave ahem as well, just because that's fabric that's been folded back in order to make a nice clean line. So here I pointed out that she has a hem along her neckline and on his military jacket. You're not really seen the seams in this shot, but just know that they are there because that's how that jacket was constructed. The shoulder scene is hidden right now under his military detail, but it's still there now. I've also included a couple of examples of men's pants in case that's what you would like to use for your design. Eso no that for pants. There's usually always gonna be a outside leg scene and an inside leg seen. Ah, this is so that again like the torso, your assembling the front and back side of things. Uh, in this case, you can also see the hem has been turning toe like a cuff is. Well, look on the jacket, so it's a little higher up than usual. And sometimes when you're looking through your research, you're gonna find samad. Seems, depending on the time period. In this case, I saw there was a front flap, uh, which is not usual for, say, your normal payer jeans as well. Asan details like two buttons on the waist and buttons along the side of the legs, and in this case, I assume it's toe help. Put the pants on for the legs, but it could also be decorative detail. And with this pair of legs as well, I'm just showing that even though it's a different pair of pants, you are still having thes. Same sort of seems for the legs. So you have outside and inside legs seem the hem, which is a little lower this time. Ah, your front flap for this time period as well as your crotch scene, and I also wanted to point out that it's always a good idea to keep in mind your shoe construction as well. When you have ah, well designed pair of shoes in your costume design, it kind of shows a next level of thinking because you're also thinking about what are these people wearing day in and day out? And so for here you'll just take a little minute to notice that you'll have, ah, soul and your heel and even some minimal construction lines for, say, how leather was stitched together. Keeping all this in minds can give your outfit a little more detail on believability you'll see in this example. She's got, seems on her torso, the sides of her sleeves. There's a lot to work with on this reference. Also, some quick folds like this and like this will give the in viewer the impression that she's wearing the clothes. 6. Drawing Tips 2: looking at this reference, you can see the sleeves moving towards and away from the viewer. If you draw the sleeves like so you can get a sense that it's moving towards you because technically, when you're looking at a sleeve and it's moving towards you, you're kind of seeing the underside of the sleeve. If a sleeve is moving away from you, you're kind of seeing the top side of it. Eso for quick, short hands, drawing a sleeve that is either like this or like this can really help convey that the figures actually moving around in space and not just e to d flat trying. 7. Drawing Tips 3: I know you're itching to start in your design. Let's jot down a couple more notes. If you want another visual shorthand for your drawing, pay attention to your line thickness. A short, simple guide is that often thinner materials have a thinner line, and thicker materials are heavier. Line that simple. You'll want to vary your line thickness, not on Lee to show quickly to your viewer theory weight of your clothes but also to make a drawing more visually interesting. Now, in this example, I'm showing how you can also vary your line thickness when you're layer in your clothes, which will need for your design. Uh, here I've shown that there's a thicker line on the shoulders. Drop here rather than on the sleeves. This is again to show that perhaps the uh, late top layer of the dress is a more thicker material than perhaps the sleeves and thus a little heavier. And also, when you vary your line thickness this way, it helps give a little more interest to an otherwise very simple design. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also give your clothes a little movement, whether it's gravity, the wind blowing. Or perhaps it got stuck on a bush somewhere. But either way, showing how your clothes flow can be a little bit more interesting way and just as if they were displayed on a hanger somewhere. 8. Sketch: Finally, we can start now that we've got a references, a little research and some quick drawing tips. Let's start blocking out some silhouettes lightly on your iPad. You have a couple choices. You can either set your brush to a lower pass ity, or you can set your layer to a lower capacity. Really, we just want to get a bigger idea of a rough layout of what your design a look like. So you kind of want to be focusing on the silhouette. You know, it's this piece going to be very large on the person isn't gonna be fairly close to the body. You're just kind of playing around and see what looks good to you. Once you get your silhouette that you like down, then it's time to start drawing in your pieces. I personally like to go from the inside out, so traditionally I would start with, say, a shirt, or if it's dressed, then I'm gonna be starting with the bus line and the sleeves. But if you're going to have a big standout piece such as a jacket, that's going to be taking up a lot of the focus that you want on your outfit, then I would put more time into that than into the shirt that's going to be underneath it that the viewer may or may not see. I don't be afraid to do a lot of erasing and editing in this stage. You're going to be going through a lot of things in your mind. You're gonna be going through the research that you found your character traits, that you decided on a Zwelithini drawing tips that we just spoke about. So don't be afraid. Teoh do a lot of editing and erasing along the way even, you know, starting a whole new layer. I mean, it's not unusual for me to draw the same outfit three or four times before. I'm really satisfied with the rough sketch that I have down. Use your research as a foundation and your own creativity to design something new. 9. Variety: after you've gotten a rough sketch of your one design stop and creating a couple more after all your characters a changed clothes. At some point, maybe it's an outfit for complete, different situation or variation of the design you've already created. Can an outer layer be changed? The shoes, maybe a different shirt, different dress? You'd be surprised what can happen when you change a couple things on enough it. It can have a totally new outlook for your character. You may even like your next designs more than your original. Sometimes I make 10 designs for a clothing situation on a character, and I just happen to fall in love with number six like creativity. One wild in this portion and let's see what you can create now, after I had finished, the first silhouette in my design were going through, and we're starting a Pulver Variations. First, I was experimenting with perhaps a couple different jackets that she could be worrying with her outfit. One perhaps maybe a little more military inspired since its say, a Spencer jacket and another perhaps say like a ride and jacket. Now, of course, the poison ivy. I really wanted to emphasize a leaf motif in her costume design as well as you know, the main focal point being the leaves that are coming off of her clothes due to her plant powers. Now again, you'll see me going and doing a lot of erasing, copying, sketching on Do A. That's pretty much the norm when you're going through and doing your costume designs again . It's all about exploring your different ideas and trying out some things new and quickly well, so that you're not getting bogged down by details. You'll see sometimes where I'm thinking about maybe adding some embroidery and it just turns into a bunch of squiggles. In this stage, you're really just wanting to explore what things look like in a large overview. Maybe perhaps I'm playing around with the design that could be on the dress or perhaps theme opacity of the materials, such as one dress that maybe a little bit more See through, uh, and again it's just going through and playing around with different ideas and nice. Some ideas may not even work. I tried adding a large men's jacket onto her figure, but I think it just looks a little too circus see, I think for this Ah, for this iteration. But, ah, who knows? I may want to keep that designed for later on, and that's true with all of these designs. It's good to keep them in a folder somewhere, just in case you're thinking of for another project or you're wanting to design something else. And you just happen to remember that you drew a large Mons jackets somewhere and I didn't work for that assignment, but it could work for this one. I think. In total, I designed around nine different outfits, and I just happened to really like the 1st 1 But I am so glad that I went through an experiment to the bunch of variations just to see what I could come up with. 10. Final Line and Color: Now that you've made three designs, let's pick one. Start refining started new layer in lower the A pass ity of your older sketch layers you can play with the more finally details in this section, such as any embellishments like buttons, embroidery, beads, feathers anything that helps bring your design the life. Your references can really come in handy if you want to have a certain look, such as theme buttons and rating that are only found on a military jacket or that insane embroidery found on your favorite game of Thrones design has your drawing or embellishments in your final line, you'll see your design were come together. When you're happy with the line work, Feel free to start adding color depending on what look you want to go for, such as designs for a animated show or a fashion illustration or your own fully rendered illustration. You're going to have different expectations for how much you want to layer shadow and color and your highlights. In most cases, I designed for either something that's going to be animated or it's going to be on a very simple kids website s over. In that case, a lot of times. It's just a base layer of color, one layer for shadows and then a few very simple highlights that read well, Help her feel free to rent or your design as much as your artistic heart desires. So here recorded my process of going through and making my final line on my design, although it's very zoomed out in this view when I'm working on my iPad and it's this level of detail in the final lines, I like to get really close. Ah, so I can make sure that I get a nice smooth line is I'm going through. And although this process looks very sped up Ah, I would say that these final lines probably took me, I would say about an hour, two hours. A zai was going through and, you know, with details such as all of the ruffles on the bottom of her skirt and the little embroidery a swell as thes small folds that you see under the bust. Uh, it's all a little bit of a time consuming process, but really it is very much worth it in the ends. Now you'll notice that see how the line on my outer skirt is a little heavier than the lines on the inner skirt. Yeah, that's that line thickness we're talking about and as well as the lines. And the leaves are much thinner than her outfit because right now we want her outfit to be the main focus point. You'll also see that at some point I decided to adjust the hem line on her outer skirt, and that's not unusual at all to be going through and finalizing your design, only to make a different design decision and do some really quick edits to it. And that is completely fine. The creative process is not a smooth one sometimes, and you know it's your creation, so you are totally free to go in and edit as you go until you're satisfied. Now that my final Linus done, it's time to get coloring. Now what I did Ah, for my colors is I knew I wanted to color this kind of quickly not spend too much time on it. This isn't being turned in for any sort of work assignments, just my own personal eso again. I just wanted to do a quick color on this one. Well, you can do in procreate. That's really interesting is you can make sort of makeshift masks like he wouldn't photo shop. And what that means is is you are just blocking out a color. And then you are telling the painting program that you want to assign color in any area that is shaded this color. So, for instance, I started blocking her out all in this sort of dark gray. And then I went through, and I would say, Delete any I, I should say, erase any areas that I would not want to be affected by certain color. So on one layer I have Onley, her skin painted this dark gray on another layer. It would be only her hair the next the outer layer of the dress, the next the layer with all the ruffles and then a separate layer for the leaves. And this is so that as you'll see, maybe I can select say, this hair layer and what I'm doing is I am putting an Alfa lock on it for an Alfa lock. What you do is use your two fingers and on the name you swipe it to the right until you see a preview image, have a checkered background on it. This means that this layer is now on an Alfa Channel, and he can only apply colors to that area. So it is a makeshift Alfa mask, like you would say in photo shop. So now when I drag this orange color over just tapping on the blob, hold it and bring it over it colors all of that area, the orange color. And if I want to release it, I just again used two fingers. Swipe right on the name, and it releases the Alfa mask. Now I can paint or delete wherever I want on it. I repeated that process over and over again for the base colors on, uh, this design just going through skin, hair, dress leaves, the whole shebang. And then once that's done, I can go through on a separate layer and add in the shadows that I want, as well as the highlights, so you'll see me go through and again. It's just really quickly with Mike Wash brush painting in the shadows and lights that I want and then, using perhaps thesis Mudge tool to blend in the colors a little bit. I personally like to sometimes at a little more shadow in some areas and then adding some, uh, bright highlights in certain areas. So you'll notice that I added highlights on the, uh, outside hem of the outer skirts, as well as the, UH, league gold leaf design under her bust and then adding in some subtle color onto the leaves that they help stand out a little bit more and again, you're just going through and adding in any sort of highlights that you want, Uh, until you're satisfied, that's it for me. If you enjoyed this class, please leave a comment and share your class project. I love seeing all the creativity and historical pieces my fellow artists create. I think some of my favorite artists references and websites down below in the reference section. If you'd like to export a subject further, please let me know. Let me know if there's any historical period that you'd like me to really deep dive into. Would you like to see something colonial? Maybe something in the mob section I, maybe even each Egyptian and Greek or Japanese let me know. I really love the subject, and I would love to pay forward to my fellow artists. All the references and design work that I fall in love with have fun will create something new and happy drawing.