*Beware: This is an extremely long post and I felt like I just needed to warn you before you tire yourself from scrolling further. That being said, I will not hold it against you if you can’t get past this. But, if you do then you’re pretty awesome. Okay I’ll stop writing now! Here’s my long post:*
Have you ever attempted to create a fashion sketchbook, and in the process run out of inspiration? Ideas? Have you ever spent hours on one page to make sure it is absolutely perfect? Well, you’re definitely not alone. For this second part of my “Designing A Collection” mini series, I talked to experienced fashion illustrators on Twitter and Pinterest and they gave me a couple of helpful pointers when creating my first fashion sketchbook. Because to be honest, I don’t really feel I can give you adequate advice on many parts of this series, since it is my first attempt at drawing a whole collection! But, with the helpful users on these platforms, I have a better idea on how to guide you all, if you are interested in creating a fashion sketchbook or improving it!
1) Always Carry You’re Sketchbook!
For this first point, I have to admit that I have never felt comfortable doing. There’s just something about carrying a sketchbook that makes me feel pressured to have beautiful artwork page after page on display, as I open it up anywhere in public. I feel like people might be expecting some grandeur piece of art, and would be disappointed when they look over my shoulder and see what I actually drew. Ooorrr, yes I do admit that it is also that annoying feeling I bet some of you can relate to, if you attempt drawing in public: when people will repeatedly ask you: What/who are you drawing? Like honestly, i don’t think many understand that I don’t draw specific people. I draw fashion models, and rarely a specific person, but for some reason, someone will always insist that I am drawing a specific person and I don’t want to tell them…like seriously why….
Despite this agonizing feeling I feel much too often, I have to say that carrying a drawing pad with you is a great idea when you get inspiration and you have access to a medium to transfer these thoughts into. It may be a little hard at first, but I will certainly attempt this.
2) Don’t Let the Opinions of Others Influence You’re Art
If someone doesn’t understand you’re artwork, don’t let it bother you. If someone frowns as they turn the page of you’re drawing pad and mumbles something seemingly negative, simply let it pass. This is not to say that you shouldn’t accept constructive criticism however, as I think it can-at many times- give you a unique/new perspective and inspiration. What I am saying though, is that you shouldn’t downplay you’re artwork you took so long to complete, and all you get for it is a simple “Nice” when you ask people’s opinions on it. Because to be honest, not enough of society values art: and that’s ok. So, just don’t let that influence what you draw. Fashion sketching is all about originality anyways.
3) Don’t Be Pressured Into Finishing Every Page
I cannot agree with this statement any more than I do right now, because I cannot even begin to tell you how many times this drove me crazy: sometimes you have “artists block”. When this happens, it is best to let that work sit for a while, before going back to it. More often than not, what would happen is that you end up finishing in an even better approach to you’re art than before. It is so much better than to rush finish a page, or try to finish a sketchbook in the whole “6 months” thing, as I know many people do. Because when you do that, you’ll go back and find that quality really does add up much more than quantity ever will.
4) Be Open Minded Into What Inspired You’re Designs
For this mini-series, my later posts will start to go into detail on my own fashion illustration, and one of them will go into detail as to how to get inspiration to begin. I think one of the most important parts of fashion collections and their inspirations, is to be open-minded. For me, when I started researching different topics to form my mood board, I already had an idea on where I wanted it to go, as I had already focused on an “Alice in Wonderland” theme. However, as I scrolled through my trusty Pinterest app (yup, obsessed with it to, not exactly proud of it) I realized that having one topic and stopping there was simply not enough. What I’m trying to say here I guess, is that you’re final inspiration for a fashion collection should not be a broad topic. It should zero in or pinpoint on multiple and specific things. So, I elaborated, and in the end what inspired me was: “I was
focusing on a fantasy-driven Alice in Wonderland theme. I really want to convey a modernization on the classic, giving it a more futuristic feel. I was inspired by the softness of the flowers in some of the photos (in my mood board) and how they complement some of the more dark and mysterious photos. I think that this really captures how Alice is very girly and young, but is brought into this new and weird fantasy place that is much more different that she has ever seen before. The contrast between the two, I think suits it, with both having very different styles.”
5) Create a Visual Moodboard For A New Collection Idea
One of the most important points in the design process is to keep teach of all of you’re ideas and thoughts for you’re collection, together. Every photo, every magazine clipping and even every post-it note you scribbled a quick inspiration on. All combined is you’re true final design. If you would like to read more about this step, I have went ahead and created a separate post, which you can read here. >Click me!
6) Decorate the Cover and Make it Unique!
I know that a lot of the time, those who draw may find it difficult to “ruin” their perfectly good covers…I know I am. But sometimes, it’s simply good to remember that the sketchbook is primarily where you’re rough sketches go: not you’re final. I think that many people get caught up in the process of perfecting every detail and making sure that their books are in mint condition for presentation, as if it were a portfolio! Just keeping that in mind, I think can help a lot to loosen up a bit and really become creative.
7) Annotate and Add Notes Explaining You’re Thinking Process
Starting a fashion sketchbook for me, is not only for fun, but essentially a very good practice for I hope is to come: creating a portfolio to enroll in fashion college. I think that it’s a very good way to practice, therefore I want to create a sketchbook as realistic as I can to replicate one of an application. How do I do this? Adding detailed side notes! (Because you know, if you have captions, you know it’s serious) whether it describes you’re thinking process or the fabrics you plan to use, adding these notes on the side can not only add a nice sophisticated and finished look to you’re art, but give a more in-depth look to those viewing you’re designs on you’re thinking process along the way.
8) Use a Variety of Mediums
Paint, pastels, markers and fabric swatches. Magazine clippings and printed photos. Whatever it is, it is always a good thing when you are able to experiment with different mediums and use them in you’re sketchbook. This, and it will certainly make you’re drawings full of variation and will open you up to a more creative way to express you’re ideas on paper.
9) Don’t Be Afraid To Draw Something Other Than Fashion
Most of the time, a fashion sketchbook is rarely just filled with fashion illustration. It’s filled with pages and pages of inspiration, ideas and gives a story of how you came to you’re final clothing pieces. So, even if it might not seem so, drawing something other than fashion can still be completely relevant. Adding songs that correlate with the songs you can picture at the runway show that would open you’re collection is a nice touch that can still be relevant to you’re theme and topic. An inspirational poem, a collage of images. All of this can connect perfectly well and in the end create a very interesting sketchbook:)
10) Do Research On You’re Inspiration
Broaden you’re ideas so that if someone were to view you’re sketchbook and you weren’t there to explain every detail, and they would still understand it. Think of you’re drawing pad as a storyboard, and if you do this, the most important step is to do research on you’re inspiration. Once you have a clear idea on what you wan to convey in you’re collection, the final project will more than likely show what you had in mind. Because I know that the most frustrating thing in the process is to have an idea and not be able to draws it as you imagined it.
11) Give Every Page A Unique Touch
I totally agree with this one, as many have given my pointers to translate this onto my sketchbook as well. So, to try this for the first time, I decided to fill my first page with a page from Alice in Wonderland, to fit my inspiration for the collection:) I took this a step further thought, and went ahead and hand-wrote the text in small cursive to create a background to my first page. When you give every page a unique touch, you give it character and makes it so much more fun to look at, I guess!
12) Know That Any Page Could Be Part Of You’re Portfolio
I hope that when I say this, it doesn’t cause you to think that I am contro diction myself with the last tips above with “not taking every page too seriously”, but I would like to simply point out that it is true: if you have a goal of becoming a designer (as I dream of becoming as well) it is important to realize that a page of you’re sketchbook could easily be torn out and used for college applications and/or portfolios. That being said, take pride in you’re work and take you’re time not to rush on every page simply just to see you’re drawings being filled. Again: quality over quantity.
13) Learn to Draw Fabrics, Folds, and Patterns
To me, one of the things that bothers me the most about drawing fashion illustrations is not to be able to translate my design in my head onto paper. Learning how to draw fabrics, folds and patterns allows you to better illustrate you’re ideas. Sometimes, practicing different patterns again and again is a good drawing exercise as well, as it is much easier later when you draw the pattern on the model. Learning how to properly sketch folds creates a more realistic image as well.
14) Learning To Draw Professional Patterns Is Really Impressive!
With little reasearch, I quickly found out that the number one things that fashion students-no matter what school they attended-all agreed that the most bothersome and tedious part in the design process. However, even though it is the most technical part of the whole thing, it is the most inportant. This is something that I have found really hard to learn, and need further learning on. Although I can say: if you are able to add some technical design addition to you’re sketchbook…it will be much more professional and quite impressive to many:)
15) Re-Draw A Certain Part of an Outfit Larger, Draw a Detailed Sketch
Let’s say that the main part or the star today the outfit you are designing are the shoes. However, when you draw the model,you are not able to fill every detail. It is always a good idea to re-draw these details on the side of you’re paper, simply to capture the exact detail you wanted to show in you’re design:)
16) Focus On Coloring You’re Illustrations
Most of the time, I am generally nervous when I attempt to add color to one of my illustrations because more often than not, I will always regret the outcome of it. It is defiantly not my strongest area, but nevertheless is still an important skill to have. (Even though it may seem funny to call coloring a skill) Either way, adding color to you’re sketches can easily make or break them, as I’ve learned the hard way. At the end of the day though, practice does make perfect, Prismacolor markers or not!
17) Know Who You Are Designing For
You can create the prettiest collection in the world, but in the end what counts is it’s commercial potential. Will it sell, and how large is that market? Stick with that target area and design only for a specific group of people. Whether it be women’s, juniors or kids, it is always a good idea to start with only one “audience” I would say, and then branch out from there. This way, it won’t be overwhelming for the consumer, and you can focus more on the design when you get to know what you’re target costumer want to see.
18) Add Any Samples of Pieces You Created
If you actually being on of you’re designs to life, and be able to display them, that is awesome! Not a lot of people get the chance to do this, so you are ahead already:) Adding photos of garments or even outfits you have made can show you’re hardworking, determined and most importantly: already have experience in the field.
19) What Is You’re Reason For Making the Fashion Sketchbook?
This is a very important question to ask yourself, when starting a fashion collection. Is it for fun? For school? So you plan on using it for you’re portfolio? (College, internship, job opening) Knowing how to answer this simple, but significant question many allow you to focus in on creating a sketchbook that includes the aspects of what you personally need. For instance: a college application. If you plan on attending fashion school, you will need a portfolio to present to them. On every schools website, they have exact steps you need to follow on what you should include in you’re final. So, this is a very important question.
20) Add You’re Contact Info!
Now, after you have worked so hard on you’re sketchbook, the last thing you want is to lose it! (This would seriously be so depressing though, so please add you’re contact info!) Add some information, so that you have a chance of retrieving in:)
Aaannd we have finally reached the end of this quite painfully long post! I know that I tend to write long like this, but I simply cannot seem to shorten them! Anyways, stay tuned for the next installment of this mini-series in designing a collection, that deals with fashion illustration and the “croquis”!