I’m always a bit skeptical of books that promise results in a specific amount of time. You know the kind I’m talking about. Ones with titles like “Master FASHION SKETCHES in 9 Days“. In the interest of accuracy, I’ll point out that the complete title is “Master FASHION SKETCHES in 9 Days Even If You Don’t Know How to Sketch: Fashion figure drawing has never been so easier: How to draw fashion sketches for beginners step by step course.” Quite a mouthful, and, by the way, I didn’t make a typo there. That’s how it’s listed on Amazon. The author, Lekha Snp — again no typo — is obviously not a native speaker of the English language. That’s fine.
Let me cut to the chase here. I’m enjoying this book. A lot. Despite my natural skepticism toward books of this sort, I have to say I’m pleased with the step by step instruction this author offers. Even if the English is a bit broken, the drawings provided are useful guides, and yes, folks, I’m having fun learning fashion illustration.
I’m not the only one who’s found the book useful. Out of 19 reviews at Amazon, only one is critical. Even this was a 2-star review, and the reader simply said the instructions weren’t quite clear.
Well, yes, I can see the reason behind the review. It has been a bit tricky to read through the proportional information. At times I’ve felt more like I’m in a math class than a fashion illustration class. To whit:
9 to 10 is 2/3 of 9 to 0, width of head (11 to 12) equals to 0 to 3
What’s happening here, you may have already guessed, is that the author is marking different parts of the body with numbers. If I were to “translate” the instructions above into words, it would read like this: The distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin is 2/3 of the length from the top of the head to the shoulders. In other words, measure the distance from the top of the head to the line of the shoulders. The upper 2/3 is the head; the remaining 1/3 is the neck.
Fashion illustration is very much about proportion. While rulers and other measuring tools aren’t implements I enjoy using, I’m still having fun learning the outrageous proportions typically used for fashion illustration. We all know that no human being has these sleek, elongated proportions. Not even the highest of high-fashion models can compare to the measurements which guide the illustrators. That’s the fun of it all, really.
Maybe this is why fashion itself is fun. It’s almost a fantasy world, a place where arms and legs and torsos are stretched to incredulity, where bodies bend and curve in artistic but unnatural ways, where exaggeration is the name of the game.
My sketches are very basic — Day One involves learning to draw only the torso — so I’m not sharing them here. Instead I’m just recounting what I’ve learned.
- The area from shoulder to hip is about 1/3 of the total body length (not counting the neck and head.)
- The bustline is about 1/3 down from the shoulder.
- The waistline is about 2/3 down from the shoulder.
- The shoulder line and hip line are the same width, and this width is approximately equal to the distance from the shoulder line to the waist.
I could go on, but you get the point. Learning fashion illustration involves learning to draw the human body according to very specific standards. I’ve had fun making my torso sketches today, learning how to show front-facing models, 3/4-view, and a side view. I’ve also learned how to create those exotic angular poses we see so often with shoulder lines going one way and hips off in another.
Did I mention that I’m having fun? I am. I’m loving Day 1. Maybe it’s only because this is something I’ve wanted to do for such a long, long time. Maybe it’s because I’m doing this on my own and mistakes don’t really matter. Or maybe it’s fun just because it is!
If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about fashion illustration, you might want to check out this book on Amazon. It’s available to read through the Kindle Unlimited program. I’ve also seen links for PDF files, although I haven’t followed those.
Of course, I’m only on Day 1. On Day 2 I’ll be learning to add legs to the torsos I’m drawing today. Long legs. Very long legs. I think that will be fun, too. I will be posting each day of the course — although not one right after the other — so you can follow along. Be watching for Day 2 coming up soon.