Hello Fashionistas! We’re very lucky today to have the famed Fashion Illustrator Alfredo Cabrera as our contributing editor to show us how to sketch up a beautiful fashion illustrations! He is a seasoned fashion designer whom had designed for Geoffrey Beene, Polo Ralph Lauren, Victor Alfaro also had lend his talented fashion illustration skills to ad campaigns & window displays to Henri Bendel, Missoni, Gianfranco Ferre, Tommy Hilfiger, Hollister and many more famous fashion houses. Today, he gave us a step by step tutorial how to draw a beautiful fashion illustration! so now get your pencils and color markers ready!
A good friend suggested that a “How To” post on drawing M & B would be of interest. The task: Babes sporting one of Marni’s sweet little cocoon suits for fall. I’ll try to go step-by-step.
Step 1: Consider the silhouette and what pose will show it best. In this case, hands in the pockets will emphasize the cocoon shape and knees together will keep the slim skirt slim. Map out the gesture. Be sure she’s standing firmly on the plumb line.
Step 2: You aren’t technically “drawing” yet, so you don’t want to use contour and fashion sketches should be editorial, so SIMPLIFY; block out the masses of the figure with geometric shapes.
(Tip: Once you have a well proportioned figure who’s standing you can create dozens more by simply changing the placement of the arms and leg that isn’t carrying weight. Flip these figures on a Xerox machine and you double the number.)
Step 3: Dress the figure. After you’ve drawn a zillion of these you can skip step 2 and just start blocking clothing shapes on the skeleton. Be mindful of proportion: Where does the jacket hem hit? How many skirt lengths fit into a jacket length? Don’t be afraid to exaggerate a little to get at the “essence” of the look.
Step 4: Using your penciled shapes as a guide, block out the skin, hair and clothing shapes in color. Don’t just “fill in” what you’ve sketched but try to build the masses with color. It’s ok to go outside the lines or not fill them in to the edge.
Step 5: Build shadows and start adding texture in color. Don’t draw in ribs or cables or other texture in pencil, but in color- it’s closer to visual truth.
Step 6: Render the tweed. This beautiful Marni suit is in a great saffron and black, nubby tweed. We’ve already laid down the yellow base color and shadows, now we’ll go in with the side of a black Prisma pencil. My trick is to use a textured surface (shown peeking from beneath the sketch) to get the slubby look.
Step 7: This is the point to create darker shadows, punch up texture and add prints or patterns- BEFORE going in with a highlights and holding line. I used a white gel pen for the pattern on the sweater and a darker brown marker to add dimension to the sunglasses and block out the shoes.
Step 8: Believe it or not, this is where the actual drawing comes in. Some artists like a soft look and may use a soft pencil for a sensitive thick & thin contour line. I like a more graphic look and uses ball point and felt tip pens to get variety of line. Don’t outline everything; you may even want to leave some areas undrawn. (Baby’s hair never has more than a few curls drawn in.)
Finally, add highlights with a white Prisma pencil and a white-out pen, which you can also use to clean up bleeding edges and mistakes. Voila! You now know more about Babes than you have any right to.
XOXO Alfredo Cabrera
Ok everyone! isn’t this tutorial fabulous & easy to follow? Remember, practice makes it perfect! So don’t get discourage when your first couple sketches doesn’t look as good as Alfredo’s ( well to my opinion, not many people can sketch as good as Alfredo! His sketches are just one of the kind fabulous!). So whenever you have time, sketch away! Let your creative mind go wild and develop your own style of fashion illustration!
Until next time, be well & look fabulous!
Alan + Mei-Mei the Pug 🙂