There are numerous differences between the normal female figure and the figure you use for fashion illustrations. How to draw the fashion figure? It is not enough to observe the real-life figure, but also you have to know how to change what you see. In this tutorial, we will compare the differences between the real-life body and the idealized fashion version of it. We weel see the differences between the two body part by body part.
The differences between real life and fashion figures
Step 1: Different face types
So many shapes of theface: diamond, oblong, round, square, heart and oval.
Although in real life we see all different types of heads and faces, in fashion illustration it is recommended to use the oval one, as it is considered to be “the perfect face shape”.
Step 2: Normal or fashion neck
Fashion models have long, thin necks and emphasized collar bones. If you remember this and apply it to your illustrations they will look more graceful and elegant. Note how anatomic details are skipped and the collarbone is exaggerated to make her look bonier.
Step 3: The fashion figure
Even if you are drawing a woman with an ideal body, her proportions still won’t work for fashion illustration. In fashion drawing the body is very idealized.
- The shoulders are straightened up and high, never bent down.
- The breasts are pushed up, round and not too big. Be careful with this, because many illustrators tend to give their models a bigger bra with the idea to make them look sexier, but this is not the best solution to represent drawn garments.
- The waist is very thin- with about the same width that the head in it’s widest part is.
- The hips are the same width as the chest. Think 90-60-90.
Details that are typical for a fit body are welcome but don’t go too far with this. For more detailed instructions on how to draw the fashion figures you might want to check my online course for beginners: Fashion Figures: 101
Step 4: The arms
The main difference between a normal arm and a fashion arms is that the latter is thinner and more defined. See how the shape of the arm is more “angular” and how thinner the wrist is. To draw thinner arms don’t mean to make them longer, so make sure to keep the real life proportions and the place of the elbow (the same line the waist lies).
Step 5: How to draw hands
This is among the most asked question in fashion illustration, but it will be discussed in a separate tutorial.
Comparing the real-life hand with the fashion one, it is easy to note that the fashion illustration hand has lost most of the details. You draw no wrinkles and mark ever so slightly the bones. Your model’s hands have to be delicate and in a feminine fashion, not hidden behind her back.
Step 6: Long, long legs
Another very specific thing about fashion illustration is the beautiful long legs of the models. In the image below you can see how the shape of the thigh is more defined and even a muscle detail is shown.
The knee is just hinted, never give it too many details. Just keep it thinner and slightly tilted.
The biggest change is in the length of the calf. Its length is a turning point for the good look of your illustration. A leg looks slimmer and longer if its calf, not thigh, is enlightened.
Step 7: How to draw the feet
The feet in fashion drawings are longer and thinner than the normal ones. The ankle is more defined and the instep is more shaped. When you draw the toes it’s absolutely enough to draw only the thumb with its nail and leave the rest of the toes to the viewer’s imagination.
Learning how to draw fashion figures is an essential skill for the fashion illustrator. If you want to find out the secrets how to do it better, faster and easier, check my online course ‘Fashion Figures 101‘!