On Teaching Fashion: The Fastest Draw in the West

This term, one of the classes I am teaching is fashion illustration:  how to draw the fashion figure and clothe it, depicting fabric types, styling, and construction details.  If you are interested in learning how to draw for fashion illustration, or how to teach the subject, here are some resources to guide you.  



First of all, the text I am using this semester is Fashion Sketchbook, 5th Edition by Bina Abling, published by Fairchild, Inc.  As an instructor, I like this text because I find it well organized for me to teach from and for students to follow.  It helps me do a proper job of introducing to students that what they are learning is not realistic depiction of the human form, but a stylized, standardized representation. 



If you wish to focus more on illustrating clothes and less on the human form, you can use tracing paper and trace a croquis (a body, for you to “dress” over and over) from a print source, or you can purchase template to use.  Fashion-Templates.com is an example of templates for sale by download (yes, they accept Paypal).



For those who are looking for illustration inspiration, pop on over to the web site of illustrator Irina V. Ivanova, .



One of the things I enjoy about teaching is learning what inspires my students.  Some are inspired by comic book art and graphic novels.  Some are inspired by twentieth century fashion photography.  Some are inspired by nineteenth century fashion plates.  Others are inspired by Japanese manga (comics and animated films).  Click here to visit Manga University, which features online tutorials on how to draw manga. 


Whatever a student’s inspiration or personal style, it is revealed in their fashion illustrations, as it would be in any creative work, and it is a real joy to see what unfolds as the term progresses and my students’ hone their drawing abilities.  Do you like to draw?  What inspires you?  Let me know!

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  • bb October 30, 2009 09.18 pm

    great site, really useful diagrams and pictures

  • aymen June 13, 2011 11.20 am

    nice croquis


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