Fashion illustration: drawing the figure in three shapes

The 3rd lesson of my self-directed fashion illustration course yesterday was based on chapter 3, part 1, of Bil Donovan’s Advanced Fashion Drawing: Lifestyle Illustration.

I had intended this lesson to cover parts 1 to 5 of this long chapter about shapes, but I was too pressed for time and only managed part 1! No problem. Since I’m the only person on this book-based course, I will just make it a week longer and do parts 2 to 5 next week.

Chapter 3 covers shape in fashion illustration, building on the previous two chapters about line.

To recap, chapter 1 described how to draw the contour line of a figure. It introduced the balancing act technique to draw the figure starting from the head and working downwards, and it also showed how to consider the subject in terms of straight and curved lines. Opposition was used to make the illustration more dynamic. Chapter 2 examined how lines of different directions could be treated to form an idealised fashion figure.

In this class, I began learning how to see the subject in terms of shapes.

3.1 Drawing the figure in three shapes

To start this chapter, I did 3 drawings of the Fashion Huntress, based on a photo from her dress about town post yesterday.

The aim of this lesson was to encourage me to see the shapes in the figure, by considering how she could be broken down into just 3 shapes. Each drawing is of the same pose, but each separates the figure in different ways.
fashion illustration wk03 31-1
fashion illustration wk03 31-2fashion illustration wk03 31-3

I like the head and arm combo in the first drawing, and the folded dress effect in the second. For the third drawing I was attempting to capture the fold lines in the dress, but I think the result was a little more abstract than I was intending.

It was an interesting move from lines to shapes. It is pity I didn’t have a chance to progress a little further through the chapter last night, but I’ve got that to look forward to next Wednesday!

By the way, do you like the new clarity in the images of my drawings?! As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve now got a scanner! Not only is it easier and quicker than the way I did it before (finding somewhere with even lighting to take a photograph, and then applying colour-correction to the photo), but the image is now much clearer. Nice white backgrounds instead of the previous murky greys. I’m very pleased.



    • Tim Hards Vicente

      Totally agree. I think the book I’m following is good at illustrating the point by taking it to extremes and working backwards from there. This part was to draw a figure in just 3 parts, and the next will increase that to 5 while retaining the same critical selection process.

      With lines in chapter 1, one part concerned seeing how the figure could be drawn using just straight lines, and the next part did the same with just curved lines. That helped me focus on those elements in my drawing, and I used that increased awareness in the above drawings. Practice will help cement those principles.

      Thanks for commenting by the way! I really appreciate hearing feedback! It makes the blogging experience much more rewarding and enjoyable 🙂

  1. The Fashion Huntress

    :)!!!! I think you know what I’m going to say about these- I LOVE THEM! I actually love how the last one turned out in the ‘abstract’ way- it’s very cool. Keep up the amazing sketches!! G loved them too!!! She told me she will be sharing them with her whole family :)!!

    • Tim Hards Vicente

      That is soooo nice. I am *elated* to hear that. I must be careful not to allow my head to get too big though, or I might have trouble fitting through the door!!!! (don’t stop though!) I can say though — with full certainty — the best is yet to come!

      Keep an eye out for my next post, from the drawing room session I attended this evening. It isn’t of a model, but has definitely been influenced by my fashion illustration drawing. It might not be to your taste, but you might find it interesting…

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