Wie zeichne ich eine Figurine ( alles was du wissen musst)

In this article, I explain how to draw fashion figures also known as croquis (croquis = sketch in french). Although, I have been familiar with sewing for several years, I rarely drew them myself. I mostly just started sewing. However, working out a fashion figure can really be of use.

You will be able to draw  the cloth you have in mind, making it easier for others to understand. It’s also easier to capture possible stumbling blocks before starting to sew.  Furthermore, you can elaborate the design beforehand.

Normally fashion figures are drawn pronounced but with less details. For example the waist is drawn very slim. In the end you can give free rein to your creativity when drawing fashion figures. The most important thing is to show the movement of the cloth and its properties like the type of fabric.

Pay attention to:

  • The correct proportions: In case of fashion design, one draws the legs rather long and the waist slim.
  • The detailed presentation of the cloth, like what kind of fabric it is.
  • The body position / movement of the figure
  •  

Do not pay attention to:

The exact drawing of face, hands and feet.

How to draw fashion figures: What do you need ?

Watercolors for drawing fashion figures
Watercolors and other drawing materials
Pencils in different strength
Sketchbook or other paper (preferably aquarell-paper)
Maybe an easel
Ruler or likewise
Creativity

ar first:

  1. Some exercises to get you going: Before you start to draw fashion figures you might want to familiarize yourself with pen and paper. 
  • You can use your pencil to measure distances with your eye.
  •  
  • Another exercise is gestural drawing. This is drawing in the air while focusing on the movement. (Klein, 2018)
  •  
  • Ask yourself: How does it feel to draw with a pointed vs. blunt pencil? What is my preference?
  •  
  • Try out different grip and hatching techniques. Hatching should be done carefully. Glide gently over the paper.
  •  
  • Try to use your whole arm to sketch and not just your wrist.
  •  
  • Hold the pencil in different ways, preferably loosely.
  •  
You can measure distances with a pencil and your eyes.

What is the ideal figure?

The standard ideal figure is a mixture of different body types. Their standard measurements are based on the knowledge of successful clothing manufacturers and general opinion regarding the ideal body. This ideal changes with the eras. It is beneficial to familiarize yourself with the current one. Today (2024) a flat stomach, healthy skin, rather large breasts and a large buttocks and thigh gap are sought after. Long, slim legs are also part of the ideal.  We are guided by these ideals of beauty. But it is also of immense importance in which clothes we feel comfortable

Ask yourself what kind of cloth you aim to sew. Depending on this the fashion figure can look quite different from others.

However, it also depends on the demographic you working for how your sketch will look like. This includes age, gender lifestyle, geographic location and more. If you aim to have a fashion brand its important to have the characteristics of your customer in mind. Groups of customers could for exampl be: babies, kids, athletes or else. 

How to draw a fashion figure (different approaches)

Drawing with measurements
Drawing with circles and ovals.

Upper part of neck: 0.4 cm

Length of neck: 0.9 cm

Lower part of neck: 0.5 cm

Shoulders : 4 cm

Waist: 2 cm

Hips: 4 cm

Knees: 2.5 cm apart

Calves: each 0.9 cm

In this method one uses circles and ovals to draw the figure. This shapes arise because of the muscles of the body. The purple ones indicate the ones of the head. 

How to draw the clothes

For drawing the clothing, you can use the neckline, the bustline, the armhole, the underwear line and the waistline. You also can add seamlines in order to make it easier to draw the cloth. The so-called princess lines are indicated in pink.

Princess seams are seams that are used to reach a very feminine looking shape. They are not the same as darts since they are a continuous line.

It mostly depends on the type of garment how you draw it. If it has a pattern, it’s good to start with the lighter colors. In case of a wool pullover, one wants to draw it loosely enclosing the body, being more voluminous. Its also good to analyze the exact pattern of different types of fabrics. For example, in case of a knitted fabric one can see little „v“ s. To achive a natural look you can draw little, tousled „v“ s. Also, you can add little hairs at the edge of the cloth to make it more fluffy.

How to draw movement with clothes

Whenever people move, the body turns and stretches horizontally and vertically. Movements can be captured very well with clothing, because folds in the fabric trace the movements. The stronger the movement, the more pronounced the folds in the clothing. The fashion figure can be made even more detailed with scraps of fabric, colored paper or foil and other materials. (TG Texil order)

Some questions to ask:

What kind of fabric should it be? Where are the folds? How does it fit? Where is it tight? Where might there be too much fabric? Which colors suit the customer?

Watercolors for drawing fashion figures
You can use differnet color-types to draw the clothing. Normally one uses watercolors.

Bring your fashion figure drawing skills to the next level

How to draw lips

How to draw eyes

How to draw a nose

How to draw a face

Like the professionals:

Drawing of the contrapost position

To make fashion designs lively and interesting, the so-called moving contrapost-position is chosen instead of the straight frontal position. This involves letting the figure bend in at the waist on one side. This makes the supporting leg appear shorter and the free leg stretched. The shoulder and chest lines run diagonally and parallel to each other. The pelvis runs in the opposite direction.

Movement patterns and body positions

Typical movements involved in fashion design are walking, sitting and bending over. But it may also be that you have to sew a type of sportswear, for example. In this case, the garment must allow all kinds of movements. The occasion (wedding etc.) and therefore the shape and purpose of the garment are also important. The fabric is also important. A stretchy fabric allows more movement than woven fabric and hugs the body better.

How to draw movement?

The action line

To draw movements, you do not start with the outline of the person. Instead, you draw a line of action. This represents the main direction of the movement. It runs from the head via the spine to the legs. Only then are the outlines of the person drawn on paper. To sketch the movement, work as quickly as possible without paying attention to details. You can set yourself a time limit so that you can concentrate on the really important things.

The balance line

Next, you need to define the balance line. Imagine there is a line that keeps your figurine in balance. This line is important as otherwise the person would not be able to stand. Divide the weight of the figurine so that there is roughly the same amount of weight on both sides of the balance line. Add the spine line to this. Ask yourself where the spine is when the person assumes the particular posture. Does your client have typical movement patterns and body positions (e.g. hunched back, broad shoulders)?

The Action Line
Action Line
The action and balance line
Action and Balance Line

In her blogpost :

„HOW TO DRAW A FASHION FIGURE IN A FEW SIMPLE STEPS: STEP BY STEP GUIDE WITH PICTURES.“

Doina Alexei introduces a tactic with a slightly curves vertical balance line, what differs from the traditional straight vertical balance line. With this trick it is especially for beginners easier to draw movement. Here you find the exact procedure:

How to Draw a Fashion Figure in a Few Simple Steps: Step by Step Guide With Pictures. – Doina Alexei

Let’s go back to the basics:

What is a fashion figure?

In fashion design, a fashion figure is a sketch of a person wearing the clothing that will be. This sketch is the starting point for the development of the garment. It should reflect the cloth correctly in terms of style and proportion.

Movement patterns and body postures are also important. The figurine helps you to visualize the garment in 3D and to become aware of any problems early on when drawing the pattern and sewing. Where could it be tight? Where might there be too much fabric? This requires good observation skills. It is also important to understand how to dress a person to advantage and how „problem areas“  can be concealed. Here you should respond to customer wishes. The design such as the choice of fabrics and colors and their combinations can also be determined.

This all seems complex, but don’t worry, it can be learned. Fashion drawing is not about creating exact drawings. Nobody is asking you to create a realistic painting. A sketch is enough. Hands, feet and the face in particular do not need to be worked out in detail.

Drawing of a fashion figure

Things that also could be useful.

The five human body types

The human body is divided into five differnet body types.

Human bodies can be roughly divided into 5 types.

A-type: Here, particularly narrow shoulders contrast with strong hips.

O-type: The overall appearance is rounded and homogeneous. There is no pronounced waist.

H-type: The chest, hips and waist of this sporty type are almost the same.

Y-type: A narrow waist and hips are contrasted by broad shoulders.

X-type: This feminine-looking type has a particularly narrow waist but a pronounced chest and hips.

When designing for a customer you might want to have his or her posture in mind. 

Some tips to conceal problem areas:


Kleider in A-Linie: lenken die Aufmerksamkeit von wulstigen Oberschenkeln ab, kaschieren einen kleinen Bauch, lassen die Beine schlanker erscheinen.

Menschen mit Bauch: fließende Stoffe: Sie schmiegen sich sanft an die Kurven an und lassen einen kleinen Bauch weniger auffallen.

Stoffe mit vertikalen Linien: Sie lassen den Körper schlanker und größer erscheinen.

Kleine, zierliche Menschen: Kleidung, die die Kurven betont. Spitze und Seide sind schmeichelhaft.

Menschen mit langen Beinen: Ausgestellte Kleider oder Wickelkleider.

Kräftige Oberschenkel: Die Kleidung sollte nicht zu eng sein und mindestens bis zur Hälfte des Oberschenkels reichen. Wählen Sie matte, dunkle Stoffe.

Kleine oder große Brüste:

Kleine Brüste:
Ein Rückenausschnitt kann toll aussehen.

Große Brüste: Wählen Sie am besten einen V-Ausschnitt.

Dicke Waden: Der Saum sollte nicht an der Wade, sondern am Knie enden. Maxikleider sind auch eine gute Wahl. (B & J Ilzhöfer, 2016)

 

Manikins

You can buy jointed dolls from art supply stores. These are available in different sizes. First you have to determine the line of action and draw it with momentum and then place the stick figure over it. However, if you stand in front of a mirror and make the movement, you will see that all the other parts of your body are also moving. In addition, the manikin cannot make all movements.

Advanced tips and tricks

Under the URL: Illustrate your own fashion figurine | com2publish, it explains how to vectorize a figurine, create patterns and create a 3D effect with a grid using Adobe Illustrator.

You can also use YouTube. Pause the respective video at the desired point and then sketch the current movement. It is also possible to print out a specific figurine and then trace it. There are free templates on:

https://www.trendschnitt.ch/de/naehblog/naehgeschichten/mode-zeichnen-vorlagen

https://www.modefachschule.de/blog/detail/die-perfekten-figurinen-wenn-es-mal-schnell-gehen-muss-zum-ausdrucken (Sigmaringen Fashion College, 2017)

or Pinterest. There are also a number of apps on the subject, as well as books and the programs Adobe Illustrator CC Intermediate and Marvelous Designer. You can also find many templates on Etsy. You can also use licensed photos for a fee.

Bibliography

Angehrn, I.: „Was ist dein Bodytype und was steht dir?“ In Academy of Style, URL: https://academyofstyle.ch/bodytypes/was-steht-meinem-bodytype/, Abruf am: 25.08.2022.

Auftrag TG Texil: Mode-Figurine, URL:  https://www.friportail.ch/fr/system/files/fachbereiche/docs/Mode-Figurine_OSRM_0.pdf, Abruf am: 25.08.2022.

Hirt, S.: „Von Der Mode-Zeichnen Vorlage Bis Zum fertigen Entwurf – Schritt Für Schritt Anleitung“, in Trendschnitt, 2020, URL: https://www.trendschnitt.ch/de/naehblog/naehgeschichten/mode-zeichnen-vorlage, Abruf am: 24.08.2022.

Hofenbitzer, G.: Bekleidung – Schnittkonstruktion für Damenmode: Grundlagen Band 1, 2009. S……

Ilzhöfer, B. & J.: „Sommer-Special: Styles, Die Problemzonen kaschieren“ in Ana Alcazar, 2016, URL: https://www.a-n-a.com/shop/blog/style-notes/sommer-special-styles-die-problemzonen-kaschieren#:~:text=Wer%20die%20Mitte%20des%20K%C3%B6rpers,lenken%20von%20unliebsamen%20Zonen%20ab, Abruf am: 23.08.2022.

Klein, T.: „Tricks zum Zeichnen von Bewegung“, 2018, URL: https://blog.herz-der-kunst.ch/tricks-zum-zeichnen-von-bewegung/, Abruf am: 24.08.2022.

Mode Fachschule Sigmaringen: „Die Perfekten Figurinen, Wenn es mal schnell gehen muss (Zum Ausdrucken!)“, 2017, URL: https://www.modefachschule.de/blog/detail/die-perfekten-figurinen-wenn-es-mal-schnell-gehen-muss-zum-ausdrucken, Abruf am: 24.08.2022.

Naglschmid, S.: „Figuren zeichnen leicht gemacht – mit 5 Tipps“, 2019, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yhH4bh_BLc, Abruf am 25.08. 2022.