How to Draw a Bridal Dress

Written by leslie rose
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How to Draw a Bridal Dress
A bride. (bride image by cherie from

The fact that most traditional bridal dresses are entirely white can make them difficult to draw--white on white is not easy to see, or represent in graphite. The artist will need a well sharpened pencil with a hard lead, for drawing detailed information lightly. A thin, fresh blending stick will help make realistic shadows and convey subtle information about the dress.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Pick out a picture of a bridal dress-draw from a photograph whenever possible. Even if you're trying to design your own bridal dress, look at pictures of real bridal dresses for inspiration, and to study the way real dresses look and move.

  2. 2

    Draw the outline, starting at the waist of the dress. Draw both sides of the waist as they tuck in just over the hips, then as they flare out over the hips themselves. This area will be symmetrical. Use a hard pencil (4H or harder). This will produce a light line that can be erased if a mistake is made. Extend the lines down over the skirt. The lines will flare outward and downward in an hourglass shape. Bring the lines together under the feet. You have just drawn the outline of the bottom half of the dress.

  3. 3

    Extend the lines at the waist of the dress upward. The lines will curve gently outward at the breasts. Keep these lines symmetrical. Bring the lines together over the neck line for a strapless dress, or continue to draw around the contours of the sleeves.

  4. 4

    Draw light lines inside the dress indicating the folds of the skirt and seams.

  5. 5

    Resharpen your pencil and draw very lightly the contours of any bead work, ribbons or bows. Use the hardest pencil lead you have for the lightest, most delicate lines possible.

  6. 6

    Shade areas of the dress that are in shadow, using a medium grade pencil (HB or thereabout). Make the shadows lighter than you intend them to be on the final product, because the blending stick will make the shadows appear to darken slightly. Then, run the blending stick over the shaded areas to make the shadows smooth.

Tips and warnings

  • Pencils come in different hardnesses. For a hard lead that draws lightly, any pencil marked with an H (2H, 3H, 4H, etc.) is a hard lead pencil. The higher the number in front of the H, the harder the lead. For a soft lead that draws darkly, any pencil marked with a B (2B, 3B, and so on) is a soft-leaded pencil. The higher the number next to the B, the softer the lead.
  • Bridal dresses should be drawn in smooth, continuous lines--do not "sketch".
  • If you are not already familiar with the proportions of the body, study this before designing your dress.

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