Magnetic Mannequin

So the Wooden Mannequin never worked for me as a visual reference for fashion illustration. I constantly fall back to my trusty friend the Croquis. Lately, I have been playing around with my travel design kit ideas and decided to create a magnetic croquis to use on a magnetic white board and eventually on the magnetic cutting board in my travel design kit.

Here is my latest How to project for the budding Fashion Designer.

First up you’ll need some supplies:

Magnetic Sheets

Magnetic White Board

Exacto Knife

Pencil & Pen

Croquis Image

Now the Steps:

1. First you’ll need to break out the croquis parts in sections so you can reticulate the figure. You’ll need Head, neck, Torso, Hips, Arms and Legs sectioned upper and lower, hands and feet.

I hand drew these parts directly onto the magnetic sheet using a black permanent ink marker. I will have templates you can to print out on a magnetic printer sheet (One Male, the other Female Croquis parts) soon. In the meantime you can always use my croquis templates from Croquis Part II or any croquis figure you want. I would encourage you to create a custom Croquis template and then create your own personal magnetic wardrobe consultant.


2. Next you will need to cut out the shapes.


3. Now begin to play with poses.

Here is a quick Doodle of poses for inspiration.


4. Now trace out your image.

First I tried using the dry Eraser pen. Once I had the image defined I would trace it onto paper. This would have worked if I had a white Dry Erase Board. Since mine is Purple it wouldn’t work.

Next I tried to place a piece of paper beneath my croquis parts. I found that the magnetic sheets that go into your printer are not strong enough to hold a piece of paper to the White Board. You could always try purchasing the thicker magnetic sheets available at most art supply stores or use thick cardstock and glue heavier duty magnets to the back.

It all depends on which method you want to use for transferring your pose. I just placed my paper on top of the croquis and traced the shape. Since my lines are black it still worked. I just had to be careful not to bump the pieces.

But make sure to decide which method you would prefer as this will inform how to create your own custom croquis project.


5. Last but not least Draw your Design. I chose an outfit featured in Flare Magazine May 2012 Issue ‘Beyond the Sea’ worn by model Bekah Jenkins and photographed by Chris Nicholas.

I only hope you have as much fun as I did with this project. Good Luck!

Family Portrait ~Nicole Kidman

This month Harper’s Bazaar Australia features a beautiful set of photographs of Nicole Kidman. This initmate family portrait was photographed by will davidson, styled by jillian davison.  A few shots feature her daughters Faith & Sunday. Intended for private use but the magazine persuaded her to let them use a few in the magazine. I am so glad she agreed. Lovely!

Images: Dust Jacket Attic


Today in the states we celebrate Memorial Day. Last year in remembrance I shared the custom of wearing a poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war. A symbol of honoring lives lost and keeping the faith started by Moina Michael who after reading the 1918 poem Flanders Fields wrote these lines in reply.

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies

The Weekend ~ 5/25/12

Seriously, if I had to pick only one food to eat for the rest of my life. You know those stupid quizzes? For me it would be a good fresh-baked baguette. Thankfully, since there are so many lovely things to pair with a baguette, I don’t have to live with only one . That makes me sound like I am “in” to food which I am not. This photo just evoked the thought of climbing in back of the van and traveling off to deliver bread over the French countryside.

I have begun the holiday weekend by taking an additional day off from work. Yeah! Yesterday I sold another print from my Etsy store. Yeah again! Sale #2 in 2 years. Thank you Ms. Newton. I hope it “Graces” your wall. I also discovered a new illustrator whose work I am crushing on. Anna Dray. Check out her Blog and Etsy Shop.

Then I came across this blog entry titled The Best thing about Summer. No it is not the weather but for this gal reading. I agree. I have read most of the books on her list…..I am significantly older. So naturally I have had more time to tackle must read lists. Right now I am working my way through Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I also picked up this magazine for the check out stand:

This could of course harken some upcoming furniture reorganization. Inevitable for me when I am seeking change. And I feel a need for change coming on.

I hope you find some time to rest over the holiday weekend, connections with your loved ones and a sense of renewal.

Weekend Reading List:

  • Looking For The Best Baguette in paris ~ LUXUO
  • Recipe for Simple Garlic Mushroom Bruschetta ~ Donal Skehan (Now I of course would saute the Mushroom in Marsala Wine since this is how I like them at one of my favorite haunts).
  • 10 Habits you must quit to be Happy ~ Marc&Angel Hack Life
  • What Midnight in Paris Teaches Us ABout Every Artist ~ Jeff Goins
  • Tools For Creating a Meaningful Life ~ Huffington Post


DCToolbox-Personalized Croquis

In Croquis Part II I showed how fashion illustrations distort and elongate the human figure. This creates a great visual effect but when it comes to actual designs we draw to scale. So, what if you drew true-to-life scaled drawings of your clients. Perhaps many of you already do.

I’ve found it especially helpful when doing custom work. I’m able to communicate my ideas more clearly and the client can visualize the design more accurately. Often understanding changes I’ve suggested tackfully pulling them out of their comfort zone/regular fashion choices.

One of the most important elements in design is proportion. By drawing a custom croquis you are able to create a harmony between the design and your individual body proportions. Ultimately producing more flattering designs

In theater school the Costume Design teacher use to draw sketches of the students as their characters. I enjoyed the realism in the details.  I could visualize each of my fellow actors as the characters they were playing.  Here are illustrated examples of drawings by Jacqueline West for Water for Elephants. You get the idea.

Most of us are 8 heads tall. In Croquis Part II, I shared the rules for drawing the average proportions of the eight head figure: the chin falls at 1, the bust line at 2, the elbow & waist at 3, hipline at 4, fingers tips at 5, knee at 6 and heel at 8.  The shoulders are 1 ½- 2 heads wide, waist is 1 head, and hips 1.5 heads.  Now this is the ideal or the average. Most of us don’t have the ideal proportions or even distributions of models. You’ll find that every person is unique.

Carl Jung wrote “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”  This is personified in this day and age where the ideal beauty is so far from the reality of the average. So today let’s apply the principles of drawing a person true to scale.

How to Draw A Custom Croquis:

First, to create our template we must take some measurements. Using a tape measure I start at the crown of the head. First I measure the head (the basic building block).

Next I note where the pivotal points of the body fall. I.e. where do the shoulders break, high point of the bust, bust point, waist, belly button, high hip, hip, knees, ankles, etc.? Then I measure the width of the shoulders, bust, waist and hips.

Once I have all my measurements noted I begin drawing my scaled template. When drawing a custom croquis I use a scale of 1/8” to represent 1”. As a working example I drew a scaled figure of fellow designer and NYFA student Gina Moorehead.

Gina is 5’ 4” or 64”. So using the only ruler I can’t live without  I draw a line 8 inches long (math review 64”/ 8 = 8”). If I were drawing myself at 6’ 1” or 73” I would draw a line 9 & 1/8” long. These measurements are true to scale and barefoot. Later I can adjust my figure to add heels as high as I would like them to be.

So once I have my 8” line I go back and mark the important points from the measurements I took on the template. These are indicated in Red. Notice that I draw the shoulders, bust, waist and hip lines indicating their width. For the other areas I make small tick marks. Once these are in place I begin to flesh out the figure.

*note you can always draw one half of the figure then fold the paper on the centerline and trace the other side so they are identical to one another. Placing tracing paper over your template makes this even easier.

Once the front view is completed place another piece of paper over top and trace the outline of your figure. From here you can draw the back view.

Now I like to ink them and add various design lines to the croquis figure. I also created a side view and added heels. Here are some other peoples custom croquis images/tutorials  I came across online Here & here & here & here & here & here . I think you get the picture.

Finally you are ready to draw your designs. You will get a much more accurate idea of what styles work for your body type. So go forth and draw yourself, your friends, and your family. Enjoy!

Image: (1) Acceptable  (2) Fabulous Doodles  (3) Simply Luxurious Life (4-7) DCTdesigns