Becoming a Professional Fashion Designer

Become a Professional Fashion Designer

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tracing from a photograph

Tracing is not always cheating. Sometimes making a simple copy of a figure from a photograph is the most helpful way to start a fashion illustration. You are already working with a two-dimensional image, which is easier than working directly from a three-dimensional figure. Moreover, if you do not have access to a life model at the appropriate time, drawing a figure accurately from memory is not a common skill, Most people need a source of inspiration to begin a drawing. Trace the outline

Fashion Illustraion TemplatesFashion Illustration TemplatesFashion Figure Illustration Template

\ Tr r of a figure from a photograph or magazine to give yourself a starting point, then apply your own illustrative style as you develop the artwork.

Place the photograph on a light box, or light tracer, or against a window so that you can see the most important features of the figure clearly. Decide on the main lines that define the figure's shape, then trace them carefully. Use a sharp pencil to avoid lines becoming fuzzy and confusing.

how to use a template

If you select photographs from a magazine that give a clear indication of body shapes and proportions, your tracings can be used as the basis for a fashion-figure template. A figure template is a tool used by fashion designers to help them speed up the design process. It is placed under semi-transparent layout paper upon which the designer draws the garments, moving the template along the page to repeat the process. The template is used as a guide only. When the clothes are sketched in, the template is removed and the artwork completed. Depending too heavily on templates can inhibit a fashion designer's creativity, a common mistake being to design only clothes that fit the templates. Likewise, the illustrator must bear in mind that the template is a useful tool but not a means of creating a unique piece of artwork. The constant use of a template to initiate an illustration tends to lead to stilted results.

Copying a template from a fashion-illustration book as your starting point for ;in artwork is not recommended. Often, those who view your work will recognize the pose. It is far better to create your own figure using the techniques suggested below.

creating a template

Select one of your own figure drawings or a suitable magazine photograph, place layout paper over it and trace the image. Now simplify the drawing to create ,1 clear outline, ensuring the proportions of different parts of the body are correct in relation to one another. Suggest the face and hairstyle but do not draw every hair and eyelash. Unless you are adding accessories, the hands and feet also need only be implied.

You may adapt the pose to your own requirements, A simple front and back view of a front-facing figure will enable you to design quickly and precisely, but vary your templates so your work does not become predictable. The easiest method is to develop your first template, repositioning the legs and arms to create a variety of poses. Think about the stance of the templates, too. The way a figure is standing can often reflect the mood of a collection. Study models in magazines and try to recreate similar poses and gestures in your templates. Drawing a line down the centre of the template, front and back, creates a marker against which design details, such as button plackets, pockets and seams, can be positioned correctly. If a template is too large, it can be scaled down by hand or by using a photocopier or scanner. When you have a selection of templates, you could reduce their size to repeat a series of poses across a page.

When creating your templates, consider the market for your illustrations or designs. For example, an expensive eveningwear collection will not look right if templates developed from street figures are used as a starting point. Collect a number of templates with varied looks and character.

Templates are used as an aid lo freehand design, but they can also be adapted for the computer. Scan a template and use it as a foundation for your artwork, adding to it with a program that allows you to make decisions on colour and pattern.

Fashion Templates Model Woman Figure

Above, top left

This female-figure template can be used traditionally on paper, or scanned for use on the computer.

Above, top left

This female-figure template can be used traditionally on paper, or scanned for use on the computer.

Above, top right

The template has been scanned and clothing added using the computer. Fabric was scanned then copied onto the garments.


A full collection line-up, which uses the same template and Illustration process for each figure.


Templates are created by reducing the body to a clear, simple outline. They enable the designer to work faster, using the template as a guide. To show garments from front, back and sides, the designer creates a range of templates. Templates for design are usually realistic and body proportions are not exaggerated.

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