Drawing from life

the process

First spend a few minutes drawing the pose and the garment outlines in what you consider to be your own style. Be bold. Quickly capturing the pose, you have to assess the essentials and get them down on paper very fast. Avoid making feeble, sketchy pencil marks that result in tentative "hairy-lined" outlines.

Next, try not to look at your paper, and make a continuous line drawing, without removing the pencil from the paper. Keep the poses changing every few minutes. Now you can use some paints, choosing just three or

It cannot be stressed too strongly that If you are designing clothes, however exotic your sources, you must always remember that at the end of the day you are designing for a human body. Practicing life drawing is therefore a very valuable exercise that will help you observe clearly and assess quickly what you see. Using a model means you do not have to invent anything out of thin air. The information is in front of you—all you need to do is interpret it in your own individual style.

You may have the opportunity to draw from life in an art-school environment, but you can also improvise if you are working at home by asking a friend to pose. There is no need for your model to be fashionably dressed. Normal daywear with a few additional accessories such as hats, scarves, boots, or sunglasses is quite sufficient. It is more important for the class tutor, or you If you are working at home, to persuade the model to exaggerate the poses, and to change them often. Accentuation adds drama to the drawings, and responding quickly to the changing poses will bring spontaneity to your work.

the project

Spend a day practicing life drawing either in class with a professional model, or at home having persuaded a friend to pose for you. If you choose the private route, there are bound to be some giggles at the outset. That is not a problem—the exercise should be fun. Try to achieve fifteen drawings by the end of the session, spending no more than two to five minutes on each.

the objective

• Make over reality in your own style.

• Improve your ability to observe quickly and well.

* Achieve freshness and boldness in illustration by getting the poses down on paper as quickly as possible. • Capture the spirit of the garments while representing them graphically.


• Did you observe the model fully?

• Were the poses interesting?

• Has the exercise speeded up and sharpened your observational techniques?

A A The life-drawing class

You may well find that working with other students in the room fires up your enthusiasm and creativity—as well as giving you valuable practice in figure drawing.

► Capturing the poses

These figures were illustrated during a life-drawing class. The limited time available to complete each pose has resulted in images that capture the essence of the garments and make a strong statement. If you do not have time to worry about getting outlines exactly right, you are more likely to achieve Images that are fluid and full of life and spontaneity.

four colors. Apply the color with a broad brush, jotting down the poses with quick brushstrokes.

Now you can start mixing your media. Perhaps begin by representing the clothes

Full Figure Fashion Illustration

in paint but use crayon or oil pastel to delineate the facial features.

Remember to try to make each drawing fill the whole page and exaggerate the poses to bring drama to the illustrations. Sometimes it can be productive to ask the model to adopt unusual poses, either seated, standing, or draped over a prop (which you may wish either to include or leave out in order to make use of the white space left on the page). However, be sure that the pose does not interfere with the communication of your ideas.


• An exercise in figure drawing, p. 52



One of the most stimulating aspects of working with a life model is having to use every second of the session to best advantage. The challenge of responding quickly to fast-changing poses brought an urgency and spark to these drawings. A bold commitment can make any drawing state its case: these figures were drawn to fill the whole page, with the model's extreme poses exaggerated to bring energy to the picture. Unexpected colors enliven what might have been a dull subject; a cursory glance at a magazine proves that, In fashion Images, skin is not always flesh-colored, hair not always natural. The confident use of different media, such as gouache and oil pastel, can also lend vibrancy to a posed subject. It is important not to be afraid to make mistakes. Done quickly, some drawings will inevitably not be successful, but the ones that are will retain a freshness that is destroyed by overworking an Idea,

Life Drawing Extreme Poses

These illustrations use both color and medium to good effect. The purple hair and greenish skin harmonize well with the tones used for the clothes. The limited color palette has ensured an uncluttered representation of the garments. Using only pencil and paint applied boldly with a wet brush, the essence of each pose has been swiftly Identified and captured on paper.

Drawing Garments Fashion FiguresDesign Fashion Pencil Sketches


Fashion Mood Page Drawing

Each page has been filled with an interesting composition that not only gives a graphic representation of the individual garments but also suggests the spirit of the ensemble. Too much attention to detail can undermine communication of the overall design theme.

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