Fashion sketch: How to create an incredible one8 min read

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There are many creative processes that involve the creation of a collection. So, we gonna present you with one of the most used: Fashion Sketch!

Certainly, one that most arouses curiosity and enchantment is the fashion sketch.
And it is not for less! Also, it is in the sketch that a collection or a piece of clothing begins to born.

In this way, Many collections become iconic for the brand’s audience and represent much of the essence of the creative designer. In that sense, if you are looking for inspiration or to know more about this stage of fashion design, good reading!

What is a fashion sketch?

Especially, fashion sketch also called artistic design or style sketch, is a type of fashion design capable of expressing the stylist’s main ideas for the piece or collection. Because from the first artistic idea, the fashion designer develops the sketch. Only then he starts to insert details that begin to shape what will be, later, the finished piece.

The fashion sketch also includes details such as colors, trim, finish, and textures. But the goal is not to achieve realism.

However, the proportions of the human body, here, give space to represent concepts and emotions thought by the creator of the collection. In short, a fashion sketch is a representation of emotions, concepts, references, and experiences, through clothes or a collection.

Fashion sketch and look Elie Saab at Haute Couture Week, spring-summer 2020.

Sketch like mannequin

“Fashion sketch” is also understood as the drawing of the human form.

On top of this drawing, the fashion designer or stylist will create the clothes. There is a complexity involving the French word “croquis” and its translations and interpretations in other languages.

Therefore, both the mannequin that will serve as the basis for the design and the set “mannequin and dress” are considered to be fashion sketches.

As with the sketch of the clothes, the figures who “wear” the clothes in the drawing don’t
need to be faithful to the measures and proportions of the human body.
However, there are techniques that help in the creation of mannequins or “sketches”,
so that you can dedicate more time to the design of the clothing.

Fashion sketch in the form of paper dolls, by Yves Saint-Laurent. Credits: Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris.

In addition, it is common to design models in different poses for a collection, then creating clothes on them from different angles. Another alternative is to make sketches in the form of paper dolls.

As in the childhood games of many people, here paper dolls are created in countless poses, front and back. The designs of the pieces, cut out, are embedded in the dolls to give a complete view of all the looks in the collection.

Fashion sketch and Dior look at Haute Couture Week, spring-summer 2020.

What is the difference between the sketch, the draft, and the technical drawing?

Fashion design is a stage of creating and developing a collection.
This stage can have numerous phases, including different types of graphic representation of the same piece.

While the first draft and sketching are more creative, technical drawing goes further. First of all,
it is worth understanding the difference between each of them.


These are the first features that anticipate the fashion sketch, being the expression of a “mental design” of the fashion designer.

It is as if it was an outline of what will later be a more elaborate drawing and, finally, the concretization of creation, that is, the finished garment. The creation of a collection does not always go through a draft. That is, it is not uncommon for this phase to be replaced by the sketch. A draft can be born at any time or place,
coming from an inspiration that suddenly appears. It is the beginning of an idea that will be matured.

In addition, it is common that the draft does not yet have complete human forms.


On the other hand, as you already know, the fashion sketch presents a greater richness of details, with the application of colors, textures, and trim, wearing a human figure or, at least, something similar to that, depending on the imagination and the concept of the stylist.

In fact, it is this creative character that gives the sketch a work of art, making the lines and style of the drawing the trademark or signature of the stylist.

The style of the sketch lines can also change according to the concept of the collection. Thus, it is possible to recognize that these are sketches by the same designer, but from different collections and themes.

Fashion sketch and look Iris van Herpen at Haute Couture Week, spring-summer 2020.

Technical drawing

The technical drawing is the one that will ultimately bring the necessary details for the making of the piece. If the fashion sketch had more subjective details, in the technical drawing there will be more information and characteristics of the piece.

That is ruffles, cutouts, fabrics, embroidery, prints, hems, circumferences. In short, everything that is necessary for making clothes.

The technical drawing is a very important part of the technical sheet because it graphically represents the information contained there.

How to make a fashion sketch

Creating the first sketches does not just depend on inspiration. But it is not necessarily a gift from someone who already knows how to draw either. In fact, it is much more a matter of technique and practice than of talent as a draftsman. Over time, it becomes easier and easier to draw sketches and even to develop your own style.

As you already know, sketching is also the name given to the mannequins that serve as a basis for designing clothes. Even though there is no standard for sketches, the clothing market uses measures that help in their creation and interpretation.

The most common way to draw them is by using the 9-head sketch technique.

The 9-head sketch is a simple and quick way to represent the human body.

It is based on the proportional measure of the human body of 7 ½ heads, that is, the height of a person has a comparative measure of seven and a half heads.
However, for the fashion sketch, the measurement of nine heads is used.

That makes the mannequin more elongated which shows the clothes in more detail.

Female fashion sketch

To design a female fashion sketch that will be the basis for your creations, just follow the step by step:

  1. With a pencil, draw a vertical line on a sheet of bond paper 2
  2. Draw8 lines horizontally, dividing the first vertical line into 9 equal parts.
  3. Each part represents the measurement of ahead.
  4. From the measurements on heads, draw the shapes of the female body, following the references below:
  • The chin of the mannequin should touch the 1st horizontal line;
  • In the 1/3 measure between the 1st and the second straight, there is the shoulder line;
  • The 2nd horizontal line marks the line of the nipples, for tracing the breasts;
  • In the 3rd horizontal line, the waistline and the height where the elbows reach should be;
  • The 4th horizontal line is the line of the hips and wrists;
  • Half of the thighs will be on the 5th horizontal line;
  • The 6th horizontal line is the limit of the knee line;
  • Finally, the 7th horizontal line will be on the shin line. The ankle line is on the 8th horizontal line. And the tip of the feet ending at the end of the vertical line.
  • Round shapes and follow the female silhouette for this sketch.

Finally, to facilitate the creation of several sketches, use the first mannequin as a model. Then trace again with other, more transparent sheet on top. Now, just get inspired and create your collections!

For a male fashion sketch, the measurement references are the same. What really changes is the male silhouette, which has different shapes.

Fashion sketch right on the computer

Another way to shape your collections is to use technology to optimize processes. This way you will have much more time for inspiration and creation. And still, eliminate the possibility of errors or rework.

Technology develops day after day. In this sense, when it comes to fashion, the focus should be on automating processes, saving time and resources.

In addition, it values the creative and productive process.

It is possible to take advantage of this technological evolution to improve your creations and even the design of collections. Technology helps to surpass the limits of a sketch made by hand or even the lack of time and the difficulty in drawing it.

Yes! You can create beautiful sketches directly from your computer in an agile and intuitive way. With Audaces Idea, you develop your collection from the mannequin. It is possible to assemble it in different poses, up to the creation of the clothes. You can also create the technical drawing, generate the technical sheet, and many other advantages.

However, the possibilities of creating fashion in digital with Audaces solutions do not stop there! In fact, have you ever imagined creating your looks on a three-dimensional mannequin? How about visualizing it in more detail without the need to make a pilot piece? All of this, and more, is possible with Audaces 4D.

To show the full potential of creation in three dimensions, we have prepared a special ebook for a successful design! Download the ebook for free and learn more about how technology can enhance your creative process!

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