How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer

Updated February 21, 2017

Drawing like a fashion designer is no easy task. With years of experience designing for the catwalk, they have perfected the sketching techniques that are required for impression drawings. However, as an amateur, you can learn from this experience. You can implement the same techniques used so that you learn to draw in a similar fashion.

Draw a grid measuring two squares by eight. Position this vertically on your page. Each square should be approximately 1 inch square. This is to enable you to proportion the figure correctly, just like a fashion designer who considers this aspect of his drawing closely.

Begin sketching a nude torso inside the grid. Pay particular attention to the dimensions of the figure. The head takes up the length of the top box while the centre of the neck to the nipple covers the next box. The nipple to the groin takes up two squares, with the remaining four squares are reserved for legs.

Add the arms to the figure. Imagine how a model stands -- either with her hip to the side or her hand splayed outwards elegantly. Incorporate this into the drawing, while maintaining the grid as a reference for proportions. The arms are about three boxes in length, and a fashion designer follows this rule so stick to them.

Complete the outline of this figure. Details such as the face, fingernails and toes are unnecessary as the focus for the image is the fashion the model is wearing.

Beginning dressing your model like a fashion designer. Draw the clothes you want onto the figure, shaping them according to the body you have drawn. For example, a tightly fitting dress should taper inward just above the hip.

Add creases to the illustration to give the image extra dynamics. Make sure you draw creases at natural points, such as under the armpit for a T-shirt or around the knee for trousers. Draw a curved or bent line to show the crease, then shade below it to represent shadowing.

Colour your image using brightly coloured inks to give clarity on what tones and patterns you want to convey. Don't forget you can also add shading by using darker and lighter shades of paint, while speckles of white are useful for highlighting areas.

Annotate the drawing. A fashion designer clearly explains the materials chosen for the outfit, plus the colours, accessories or type of stitching used for particular cuts. If it helps, draw additional boxes measuring 2 inches square to sketch enlarged areas of the design -- such as lacing on the back of a dress, or buttons used on a jacket.


Add a hairstyle to the fashion design to enhance its appearance. If you do this, also include facial features. You need to depict the outfit, so do not complicate the larger sketch with detail. Use the inset boxes to do this. Experiment with colour, texture and patterns. Photocopy an uncolored version of your design, then colour each version differently to try out styles.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler
  • Graphite pencil
  • Eraser
  • Large pad of plain, white paper
  • Coloured inks
  • Brush
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About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.