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Four Tips I Learnt From a Fashion Illustration Workshop

Updated: 5 days ago

three containers full of art materials in a line against a white background

Recently, I took part in a Fashion Illustration workshop run by Derbyshire based artist Tracy Fennell.

This fashion illustration workshop focused on drawing clothes and materials on the human figure. Starting off with quick sketches looking at shape and then moving on to line and pattern with watercolour paints and inks.

A Quick Warm Up

The session started with quick 2-3 minute charcoal drawings to get us all warmed up. This is a great exercise as you can focus on the shapes in front of you without becoming too precious about the drawing itself.

The workshop lasted the whole day and remained challenging and exciting. Even as energy levels dipped in the afternoon, the whole class stayed focused and engaged. This is the type of activity that I could loose interest in half way through the day if I were to attempt it alone in my studio.

As always with life drawing, it's really interesting to see how everyone's work looks at the end of the session. No two drawings are ever the same.

Four sheets of paper containing charcoal drawings of a model figure wearing long skirts
Colouring in the negative spaces

I learnt a few tips throughout the day and thought I'd share them with you. These tips can be used in all sorts of drawing activities.

1. Longer Spent = Less Spontaneity.

The longer you spend working back into a drawing and adding to it, the less spontaneous it will look and you will run the risk of over working the drawing. Think quick and confident lines.

2. Know When To Stop

Know when to stop adding more layers, a bit of extra pencil, a bit of colour... You have to decide that enough is enough and when to move on to the next drawing. Even if there is still plenty of time left, you don’t need to use all of it up.

3. Use suggestions of details and shapes to communicate the pattern or line

You don’t have to draw absolutely everything in order for your drawing to be understood. Suggestions are a great way to save time and to stop you from overworking the drawing too.

4. Colour in the negative spaces around the model

By colouring in the negative spaces around the model, whatever shapes or proportions that aren’t working will jump out at you.

A left hand holds a drawing board containing a charcoal drawing of the model, the model sits in the background
Drawing fabrics on a real model

A sheet of paper containing a charcoal drawing of the model with people in the background
Colour in the negative shapes, i.e. under the chin, under the arm, between the hand and the chair

Here are a few North UK based life drawing classes that I have come across so far, please feel free to add any more to the comments.

+ Life Drawing With HOP - various venues

+ Life Drawing Plus at Studio Bee, Northern Quarter- Central Manchester

+ Fashion Illustration Workshops with Tracy Fennell (keep an eye out for upcoming dates)

+ Sandbar, 120 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HL


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