But what happens when you want to draw a whimsical skirt sprinkled with polka dots or high rubber boots with a great-looking plaid on them? Stripes are a staple in fashion illustration; you can find them on everything from bathing suits to a winter scarf.
Draw a polka dot pattern.
Polka dots are forever. People wear them on clothes as babies and kids, and for tweens and teens, the print is perfect for bathing suits and sundresses.
When drawing polka dots, make sure that some fall into the folds, or else the look can be very flat. Not every dot has to be a complete circle — halve them as you reach hemlines and side seams.
Draw a fashion figure of a woman. Map out a short little romper for the figure.
Draw full and half polka dots that follow the folds of the fabric on the body’s curves. Break dots in half and place each side of the dot on the line of the fold but a little staggered.
Scatter dots all over the print for a polka dot look. Polka dots can be drawn evenly spaced, almost in a grid-like fashion, but often they occur in a more random pattern.
Draw stripes and more stripes.
Who doesn’t own a striped shirt or a striped tie or a striped pair of socks? Most people choose to wear stripes that run on the vertical because they’re more slimming, but when drawing a fashion figure, your stripes can go any way you choose. And don’t forget about diagonal stripes, which can add a fun feel to casual pieces, like a skirt.
To draw a woman in a jean mini skirt and striped tights, draw the bottom half of a fashion figure of a woman. Map out a jean mini skirt. Draw in stripes, making sure the lines are curving upward or downward. When coloring in the stripe, leave a little white to add dimension to the fabric.
Sketch in some practical plaids.
Practical plaids are just that: practical! You may use plaid on school uniform skirts, pajama pants, field hockey skirts, or flannel shirts, but chances are you’ll never draw a fashion figure wearing a plaid dress to a fancy event. Although you never know — designers such as Vivienne Westwood might! Use your basic cross-hatch technique with its parallel lines to create a plaid.
Draw a grid of vertical and horizontal lines. Leave a little more space between the lines than you do when drawing a cross-hatch texture.
Draw tight zigzags on every other vertical line. Draw tight zigzags on every other horizontal line.
When you’re drawing plaid on an item of clothing, don’t lay it out flat like a checkerboard. Make the plaid pattern follow the curves of the body and the drape of the fabric.
Draw a plaid print on an old-fashioned halter swimsuit.
Draw a fashion figure of a woman. Map out a halter swimsuit with a center front seam.
Draw a basic grid system on the swimsuit, starting with the center front line going straight down the center front of the body. Draw vertical lines that start at the neckline. The lines go straight down along her body and then radiate out at the hip area. Finish with horizontal lines that wrap around the curves of her body, such as at her breasts, hips, and waist.
Angling the plaid on both sides of the center front seam creates a chevron pattern. In woven fabrics, this angling is called placing the fabric on the bias. A bias-cut fabric has been cut at a 45-degree angle instead of along the threads, tilting any patterns (like taking a square and turning it into a diamond). This shows how the fabric stretches on your model; woven fabrics stretch slightly on the bias (the diagonal).
Add the tight zigzag lines on every other horizontal and vertical line.
Add texture with a herringbone pattern
The herringbone texture is named after a fish, because the pattern of thin, parallel lines looks just like a herring’s spine. In fabric, herringbone is a texture in which the threads are woven together.
Drawing the herringbone texture is about knowing how to team up your lines and point them in opposite directions to form right-side-up and upside-down V’s (this alternating V shape is called chevron). Fabric with a herringbone pattern is often used to make pants and men’s sports jackets.
Draw a series of angled lines in a vertical row. Repeat in a chevron pattern, switching the direction of the angle with each vertical row.
Draw classic herringbone pants
Draw a fashion figure of a woman. Map out a wide pair of pants with a high waist. Add your herringbone texture, leaving an unfinished area for fashion balance.
Add cross-hatching to an illustration.
Draw a series of horizontal straight lines. Keep the lines evenly spaced and not too close together.
Draw vertical lines across the horizontal lines. Apply the same spacing.
Use for texture in clothes like a tweed skirt.
Draw a boa using the cross-hatch technique.
Draw the top half of a female fashion figure. Map out a tight tank top with a curved neckline. Draw two rows of zigzag cross-hatch around the collar line for fashion fluff.
Draw a textured jacket with stippling.
Stippling is a technique of drawing tiny little dots, and it never looks better than when you use it to add texture on a great-looking wool jacket or sensible, slimming pencil skirt. Stippling works well on fabrics with a rough texture, such as wool, crepe, and sequins.
Stippling dots represent holes, nubbing, flecks in the material, or areas where the threads overlap in the weave structure.
Draw the top half of a fashion dude. Map out a jacket. Stipple and cross-hatch the jacket throughout the design.
Show texture by drawing a woman wrapped in shearling.
Drawing a warm, shearling-trimmed coat and boots on your fashion figure is an awesome exercise in texture.
Draw a female fashion figure. Map out a fitted coat and knee-high boots.
Draw little broken lines on the perimeter of the trim on the coat and the top of the boots. Add small curved lines on the interior to create texture and dimension.
Draw a little leather jacket.
Draw the top half of a female fashion figure. Map out a short and tight little jacket. Add folds on the side where the waist might bend, on the elbow of the sleeve, and coming from the top of the sleeve.
Use the side of your pencil to block out the darkness of the leather and leave areas white for shine. Darken around the folds to show the depth of the fabric.
Try to draw a bouncy little tulle skirt.
Draw a female fashion figure. Map out a large, wide skirt with lots of gathers at the waistband. Draw the hem of the skirt with some waves to show the depth of the fabric. Draw a grid system on the skirt, being careful to leave some areas blank.
Add some lines that angle in toward the middle of the skirt from where the waves of the hem turn upward to indicate folds in the fabric.
Draw sequins on a short and sassy dress.
Just how fun are shimmering sequins? These glinting little discs on your fashion figure’s clothes make any outfit totally glam, provided you don’t go overboard — which is quite tempting!
Draw a female fashion figure. Map out a simple cocktail dress. Draw sequins by drawing little circles scattered across the dress. Add sparkles along the outline of the dress to show the light reflecting off the sequins, and add random dots for some more texture.