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Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette

Lesson 14 from: Fashion Design: Start to Finish

Jay Calderin

Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette

Lesson 14 from: Fashion Design: Start to Finish

Jay Calderin

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Lesson Info

14. Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette


Class Trailer

Fashion Design Inspiration: Where to Begin


Intro to Fashion Design Inspiration: Where to Begin


Why Create a Moodboard?


Student Mood Boards


Fashion Inspiration Resources


Learn from the Masters of Fashion


Explore New Fashion Frontiers


Why Narrow Your Focus?


Find a Fashion Specialty


Craft a Collection


Learn to Edit


Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew


Intro to Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew


Why Start with a Sketch?


Drawing: Draw Your Muse


Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette


Drawing: Render Color


Drawing: Add Texture, Patterns, and Details


Pattern Draping: Working with Muslin


Pattern Draping: Drape a Basic Form


Pattern Draping: Drape Folds


Pattern Draping: Experiment with Style Lines


Pattern Flat: Create and True a Pattern


Draping and Patterning Recap


Constructing Clothes: Put it Together


Constructing Clothes: Make it Special and Finish Well


Fashion Marketing and Branding


Intro to Fashion Marketing and Branding


Explore Your Audience


Display, Data and Design


Share Your Work


Find Your Following


Inform Your Brand


Build Your Business Model


Why Tell Your Fashion Story?


Establish Relationships


Be Ready for Change


Produce a Fashion Show


Intro to Produce a Fashion Show


The Fashion Show: Why? When? How?


Pre-Show: Develop a Fashion Show Concept


Pre-Show: Build a Team


Pre-Show: Create a Timeline and Checklist


Day of Show: Backstage Strategy


Show: Working with Front of House


Show: Scheduling Run of Show


Show: Breaking Down the Event


Post-Show: Increasing Your Audience


Post-Show: PR for Fashion Shows


Post-Show: Dealing with Downtime


Fashion Design: Start to Finish - Wrap Up


Lesson Info

Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette

Now we're going to work on the figure and where we're going to top it off with that so I'm gonna fold I'm gonna fold this in half again and I'm not going to do fourth I'm going to fold it in half again lengthwise and that's again just for same process we did for the head just so we have a center line for our girl right here here again we want to think about placement because in theory we will be transferring this over sketches to two aboard someone do have half like this now the figure um is all about breaking down the sizes again people have all different techniques like I said, some people think of the nine head fashion figure of the twelve head we're working more about the relationship of the proportions within this particular measurement, so I'm going to go halfway right there I'm going to break this top half into three and you can always check how equal they are with your pencil. Some people like to use a ruler so basically breaking that top section into three and for this torso a...

ll we're going to do is block it off so it's a square like this so we're actually making this big, clunky robot to start with so this top half broken up into three and these bottom to immediately done into squares so we have to worry about them right now and then this top section here, about two thirds of the way down, is going to be your oval placement, and we already know how to do that right where we needed the face and then all we need to add is a rectangle for her neck so top third head it's two thirds neck is one third, and then these two thirds are broken up like this. Now here is where we could have some fun with it. We could start to sculpt it, so it looks more like something, so I'm just going to put in, you don't have to worry about this because this is I just want to give her put in all the work we did for the face, but just put it on kind of in here and we have the neck and then sew here. We want to create a little transition from the neck to the shoulder, but not too much. So here we add a little bit in between these two lines, so we blend it a little. We're softening her on the outside of the square. We're not goingto add occur. We're going to cut away the corner think of it as you're working like a sculptor with a block of marble and you're cutting off the corners, you're not adding because if we start to add, we get kind of football uniform and then now her waste we have to figure out and this is what I like about this process you figure out how much of a waste do you want to emphasize so I'm going to come in equal amounts on both sides this is her waist, that middle line between the two blocks so I'm going to say from here to here is your waist and here to here is away so we're bringing it in and then we connect the dots, so to speak we go from her shoulder to her waist and then back out to the bottom line, which would be the hip. Now you can make that as dramatic as you want if the shoulders air or the hips are too dramatic for you, what do you do? Anybody? You just come in a little bit, okay, so you can adjust it you khun self correct as you go, so here we're going to work with the bottom of the figure we're going to basically bring down two lines that are parallel with this center line and remember, we're cutting off here and when it comes to the feet the area for the feet um we're going to take the measurement of the head the length of the head and we're gonna come up from the edge and that is going to be I did a little shorter where her ankles are huh? The measurement of the height of the head. Like from here to here, we're going to put that here, okay? Just just has a little mark to say that's about where her ankles are and the key to all this is everything is about right. If you worry too worried about precision, you're not goingto a enjoy the process and b give yourself the freedom to experiment. So now the only other notation I need are her needs. So I'm going to go from this hip line to here in the middle and just give myself a line in the middle of this shape from here to here, thanks from here to here after we knock off the bottom for her, let I mean for her feet now the reason we break it down like this, it looks like she's kind of wearing a big boxy pant is because I want to put a center line and you can think of it almost like a crease on a pair of pants and then we start sculpting, so to bring in the knee, we do the same thing we did at the waist. So here at this knee level from the outside, I'm going to come in here and then from this side I'm going to come in here so you want equal amounts off that center line wait, we pinch in and then we connect the dots again we go from the knee to the hip and we get a proper thigh a lot of people skimp on the guys we have to remember people have guys okay? And then now for the lower half of the leg about in this space about a third down we have to concern ourselves with the calf and for the calf all we're doing is going a little further out than where hernias just to drop not all the way to the outside and then coming in to the two points we create at the bottom we're going to pinch it again for her ankle and we just try to make that a smooth the transition is possible wherever you're pinching like at the knee or at the waist I liked to smooth it out because otherwise it looks like, you know, a cloth paper doll I mean a cloth fabric all uh you know, one of those little rag dolls, so I like to smooth out wherever there's a pinch and for her foot going to a very simple foot, which for right now we can keep it simple we're going to flare out again just a little bit and we're going to go just a hair over this line by giving her a little triangle for the tip of her foot and you always want to kind of kill the corner on the triangle because unless she's wearing a steel tip toe it's a little rounded at the bottom but basically a little triangle and that's the toe box so now we have a leg and you would do the same thing on the other side and then for arms I like to have my arms fall straight down and again you can change the pose is when you get a little bit more comfortable with it now her elbow, as I mentioned earlier, is gonna line up with the waste the true waste and if you think of the vitruvian man de vinci's vitruvian man with the arms in rotation you can think about, you know what, how it swings out so it's a little curve and that's the upper, but I mean upper arm now for here we don't want to use this as our wrist because this is the fuller side of the hip, but we want to come up a little bit higher and you can vary how how you want to go and draw in a panty line. That length is the leg and it also gives us this point right here where we can say that's where her wrist is because you're you're standing out and you swing your arm into your side like this your wrists right about here is going to hit your hip joint so that'll help keep your let your arms from being too long or too short that's a common mistake arms get really long or really short for hands we could spend the whole class on hand, so I'm going to give you what I think is important about the hands, which is the gesture of the hand. So all we need to know is the hand, the digits and the thumb so straight straight and a little bit of a curve, so we go straight straight and then on the inside a little bit of the curve. Now we can start to put in details like that thumb and drawing her digits and all that kind of stuff, but for a lot of people starting out, the hands can be really intimidating. So really what you want is the gesture because if you can have our hands flex tore down, that will add a little drama to your sketch. Now the inside of the arm is very important because you don't want it to go uh, too high. There are three lines that we can look at the dress form and identify, which is the highest point of the bust, which is the apex right in the middle, right? How far out the bus goes the line above the bus, which would be kind of for a strapless dress and in the line below the bus, which is the um pierre or empire line so again about a third down in the torso area you have the bust and you have a little line above and a little line below and then I'll give you the bust area almost like skippering a bandeau and that will also help you with that bottom line should be about where your arm comes in underneath because you don't want to forget um oh, thank you how you want to forget that? So we are sorry. There we go. The screen the picture on the screen right now is showing kind of a normal body sort of usually eight eight two nine heads and then an exaggerated fashion figure which you can use the same formula but just stretch it out. So now we have everything we need except a couple of things inside the body. We want to draw in that center line and then we want to draw in the princess line like you notice there's a seam down the center of each side that is the princess line and you pick halfway on the shoulder halfway in the bust the center, the bus halfway in the waist and then halfway in the hip and you create that flying and it should actually line up with that center line of your leg so now you have everything you need to draw almost any garment because this is the map underneath the clothes that allows you to figure out exactly where you want to position a pocket, a seem a dart, whatever it isthe. Okay. All right. So, um, at this point, we're just gonna switch off a little bit and talk about thie proportions and the attitude the these silhouettes kind of emphasize where you can exaggerate things. So these air all sketches that I did on the computer, but they all have a different emphasis, and they kind of go back to the silhouettes we talked about earlier the h the o and the y the one on the left is more kind of proportional almost the x frame where the hourglass a little bit more, uh, standard. And then, uh the ruler I've exaggerated her thinness because she's not not necessarily going to be that thin, but I made the whole sketch that whole shape belong and narrow. Whereas the one in the middle I've exaggerated the base bye, even making her feet bigger. A lot of times you see this in cartoons, you know? Well, they put all the weight at the base of the character so we can exaggerate that way in fashion as well, and then the top one I'm sorry, the right one is exaggerated on the top in a big way, creating really dramatic. And I always compare it to kind of superheroes where they're very exaggerated on the top and get smaller and smaller and smaller until they get to their feet. Because a lot of those feet on superheroes would be too small to hold somebody up. So all right, so this is these things you can do by exaggerating the proportions here. Okay, so we could go, you know, much bigger up here or much bigger on the bottom. So at this point, I just want to refer to the image, because nowadays you can do so much online. I mean, with a digital formats were like, photoshopped and illustrator. And this is an example of bringing that photography and art together on the left hand side you see a garment that's draped in muslim. I just drape that and pinned it to address form. And that was the basis for my design. Uhm and then I took a, uh, photo shop and an illustrator, and I worked with them to create not only original patterns, but then I figured out how they would drape on the figures. So if you notice that flower is going in different, you know, that pattern on the upper left is going in a direction following the fabric and then it's going in a different direction when it gets the skirt and it's getting all kind of jumbled in the middle very intentionally so it's being pinched so it's almost like a layer of fabric that you're putting in and then manipulating the points to tie it all together there are a lot of different techniques, but the idea is that in a sketch or a foot are manipulated photograph like this you can go to a buyer and show them the whole range before it's even done and they can actually just by what they like before it's even made so it's almost like custom ordering but using tech to kind of be able to see that and you can obviously do it by hand and do sketches of every variation but this is another step because once you do the one you can just switch out the fabrics really fast so it's a great tool to explore for something like that if you're doing if you're kind of feel more comfortable in the digital round so we have our foundations and um what we want to know what we want teo do next is think about the clothes so we're going to take our figure and put it under another sheet and then talk about defining the silhouette now we talked about a lot about silhouettes already, so I think we're all familiar with the shapes but we want to always refer. I always like to have the idea of a dress form in in my mind and all the lines that we put on our sketch are from the dress form so that's, why we put him in there because they will help us place everything. And then when we're coming up with how we're introducing a silla waiter style lines, I get teo my x y access sort of formula and some people get scared because they think, oh, math, not fun in fashion, but it's really simple concept of everything you do you should be thinking about the x I mean, the x axis and the y axis, and all that means is when you have a grid on the body like this mountain, you're just asking yourself how deep or how high and then how white that's all and this is where like we did with the biased on the dress form we can say to ourselves, if we're talking about a v neckline, where are we going on this line right on the y axis let's say so if we go to her belly button, somebody mentioned a j lo right, and I think in the island go about getting away with the plunging necklines and really wild garments, one of the things if you go really plunging to the belly button. You have to ask yourself how wide is the viet the top so does it start right here at her neck or does the v start here? Obviously she started out here should be completely exposed right? So we have to remember that to get a plunging b we probably have to have our lines come in there and go to there now the other thing to remember is that this whole area right here is the area we have to choose from on the x axis so we say do I want to start here? I don't want to start halfway going to start at the end and then let's say I want to stop here this is also a veena klein so always thinking about the x x and y is an easy way to remember how far how far out of my going away from the body and then how deeper how high all right way talked a little bit of quality of line and when we're doing a silhouette we want to ask ourselves what what do we want to capture that here? So if we're doing that let's say that ruler or h silhouette we might want to bring the energy coming down so that there's this weight at the top and then it's releasing and coming straight but if you're doing a a frame or a bell shape on the bottom you might want to go from the bottom to the top, so that there is the weight of the skirt is feeling like it's at the bottom. So I always think of where you want the emphasis to be. So I'll drive thicker so that you can kind of get a sense of it, goes to nothing and gets very light and delicate at the top. So you have the waste. Well, it's, it's, just practice, and sometimes I miss it's, like throwing a dart. You know, you have to say, I want to go from here to here, and I want a little curve, and sometimes you get there some things, you're a little off. So remember it's, just going to be it's, like like video games. I'm terrible at video games, but all my nieces and nephews, a great fm, and so you want to get that hand to eye coordination going.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Mood Board Checklist
Styling and Fashion Show Gear Guide

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Body Measurements Chart
Care and Feeding of a Garment
Change Agents
Copy Rights and Copy Culture
Dissemination - FashionArt
Fashion Equations.pdf
Fashion Show Checklists
Question Charts
Specializations - The Players
Starter Questions Chart
Pattern Making Gear Guide
Sketching Gear Guide
Sewing Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Jay is a rare gem in the world of instructors. He has the perfect balance of information, examples, and hands on visuals. He included his students in the teaching process. They were not just the audience. Even the viewers were encouraged to participate! I loved his teaching style and enthusiasm as well as the content of information he shared with us. He covered a vast amount of information and led us at a pace that was very easy to follow. It reaffirmed my love of fashion as well as designing new ideas. This class was inspiring and motivating. If you are even the slightest bit curious about Fashion Design, constructing patterns, or even drawing models, this class is for you. It was all encompassing for an overview of Fashion Design from start to finish. Jay has an easygoing manner that you will want to watch him again and again. A great resource for your library. I can't wait to see him again in the Creative Live classroom!. Good luck to Jay and all his endeavors! Thank you Creative Live for providing yet another great learning opportunity for an international audience.

Michelle B

This is day one of Jays class and I am already hooked and purchased this class. Jay is an awesome instructor. He explains everything in easy to understand terms. He explained things that I have bought books to learn and didn't in one easy lesson. I recommend this class for anyone that has a interest in Fashion design or even learning to draw models for anything you need to sketch out. I hope Creative Live will bring Jay back for more classes. Jay is a instructor also worth having in your tool box of CL classes to refer back to for learning and inspiration! Thank You Jay for sharing your knowledge with us!!


I agree with everything that michelle-b said in her review of this class, and will add that I can tell that he is an instructor who not only knows his subject matter, but has excellent teaching skills. He is very engaged with his students, and focused on making sure that they get what he is telling/showing them. He also has the rare gift of distilling a complex subject down to its essence and teaching it in a simplified form that gives the student a good overview of the basics, and somehow also gives the student insight into more of the subject’s depth than he actually says in words. This broader understanding of the subject empowers the student to proceed on a much higher level than would be possible after taking any other course overview. Even more amazing is that the lessons covered in this way could be (and are) full courses in themselves elsewhere, but were merely segments of this two-day CL class. For this reason, if I ever got a chance to take one of Jay’s classes at the School of Fashion Design, I would take it in an instant. I too bought this class by the end of Day 1. For me, the segments on sketching and drafting alone were worth the $69, and the rest is bonus.

Student Work