Curvaceous Croquis

Fashion Illustrations are traditionally elogated and thin. I love them that way lyrical in their twiggyness. But this representation of woman is just another thing to add to the ever present and running debate about fashion and women’s body images.  Company’s like Dove began campaigns featuring real woman with curves. As they state it , “a world were beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety”.

A few Months ago I drew a custom croquis for myself to scale. I am 6’1″ and a size 12-14. This is a tight 12, or loose 14. What I refer to as Tween, between sizes. I am sure many of you can relate. I would be just as happy as a 14 or 12.  I just wish my body knew which one it wanted to be.  It has never matter what size I am 8 or 20 I have always fallen bewteen sizes. Anyhoo…

The point being I began drawing a series of Plus size croquis inspired by two of my students at the time who were designing various lines for plus size women.

Then yesterday I discover a blog Girl with Curves and an article on Hot Curves for V Magazine.  I thought it was good time to share my DCT Curvaceous Croquis templates. But now I want to draw more Curvy Croquis and make them that much more Curvaceous.

Croquis Pairs

So I have yet to finish the how-to on drawing your personalized croquis. In the interim I thought I would post some rough croquis pairs. When sketching designs we often need to show the front and back details of the garments. So I made these pairs with that in mind.

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DCToolbox-Croquis shortcuts

Today I am sharing some Fashion Illustration tools and shortcuts. There are multiple aids available. Everyone has their particular favorites. Here are a few I use regularly.

 Free Croquis templates:


 Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators by Sha Tahmasebi- What can I say 250 copyright free images with a CD-ROM. Sha Please do a second book!





 Designer Nexus– Website chalk full of resources; Croquis, flats, backgrounds, swatches, tutorials and brush kits. You’ll get lost for hours!





Fashionary– Fabulous tool. This is a sketchbook tailor made for fashion designers. Fashionary=”Fashion+Dictionary+Diary”. It is a cross between a dictionary (intensive fashion information) and sketchbook (figure flats). Read their blog and Watch the demos- Men’s & Women’s.

 *If I had any complaint it is that the sketchbook covers don’t differentiate Men’s versus Women’s. Since at the time I purchased mine they only had black available I can’t tell at a glance which one is which.


  • Do the Hokey Croquis! The Fashion Sketchpad by Tamar Daniel-I got the original sketchpad which is slightly too large for my taste. The travel size has been sold out for awhile so unfortunately I haven’t been able to try it out in comparison.





  • Adobe Creative Suite (Of Course!) Illustrator √ Photoshop √ Indesign √ . Check out the tutorials on Adobe TV.
  • Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for my iPad- I use this all the time. It has become my favorite tool. Watch one of the numerous tutorials out there.

Basic Tools:

So when it comes to basics everyone has their own favorites. But you will need all or at least some of the following:

  • Tracing paper
  • Watercolors or Watercolor pens
  • Watercolor paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Pens- I like Pigma
  • Pencils- I like .3mm
  • Rulers-This is the only ruler  I insist you can’t live without.
  • Light board
  • Papercutter

My latest colored Fashion Plate, “So you say.”. I created her using a mix of templates from Sha’s Book and sketchbook Pro on my iPad and of course my creativity.

Croquis Part II

The human figure is based on guidelines defined by mathematical formulae establishing the ideal human proportions. The classical canon is derived from the Greco-Roman ideal. In Leonardo da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man circa 1487 we see a visual representation of these proportions. Leonardo’s drawing correlates the ideal human proportions with the geometry of Roman Architect Vitruvius in his book Treatise De Architectura expressing his theory that man is the measure of all things.

There are numerous mathematical consistencies in the body. Our wingspan is equal to our height; our foot fits from elbow to wrist, our face is the length of our hand and on and on. The measurement of the head plays the pivotal role as the basic module for measuring the human body. This average is 8 heads tall, 2 heads wide.  Therefore the total height of an adult is eight times its size.

The Fashion Illustration Croquis is elongated to 9-10 Heads tall. This distortion of the figure lengthens the legs and lower torso. They are also drawn slimmer, 1 1/2 heads wide instead of 2. The body itself is divided in half- the torso equaling the length of the legs. The basics canons tend to remain the same.

Now the croquis can be stylized and will often change over time as fashions change. Everyone has their own variations, perceived ideals.

In comic books and Manga the figure is closer to 8 heads high and superheroes are often drawn with increased muscularity. Fashion schools often use a 8 1/2 head croquis for woman and 9 head for the male.

I tend to make the legs longer than the torso (opting not to split the figure in half), the shins elongated and the shoulders a bit broader. But at 6’1″ with a linebackers shoulder this makes sense. In my world Men just are not taller then woman so I use the 9 or 10 head figure for both.

The Dalai Lama says you have to “know the rules well, so you can break them effectively”. Like with music you learn the scales first before playing variations on the tune. So here we will start with the basics. Once you master these you can manipulate the croquis as you see fit.

So let’s start by looking at the basic building blocks. The body is broken up into sections each in relation to one another. These sections are then put together to create a balance figure.

Creating the template for drawing the croquis:

First draw a line down the center of your paper.

Then Draw parallel lines every inch for ten inches.

Drawing the croquis:

If 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.  By using the head-length units we can assure the right balance when drawing poses.  The shoulders are 2 heads wide, waist is I head, and hips 1.5 heads. The arm from elbow to finger tip is 2 head. Knee to ankle 2 head, foot 1 head, hand ¾ head.

The nine head figure is drawn in the same fashion as the eight head.  The shoulders and hips are still 1.5 heads wide and the waist is 1 head wide, etc. as listed above.  But as we said the nine head figure is elongated and slimmed. It is drawn as follows:

Female Croquis:

  • The head is drawn from 1 to 2.
  • The neck is from 1-1 1/2.
  • The shoulders at 1 1/2.
  • High pointof bust at 2 and bust line at 2 1/4
  • Waist and elbows at 3.
  • High hip at 3 1/2.
  • Hip at 4.
  • Crotch at 4 1/4
  • Finger tips at 5. (Generally mid thigh)
  • Top of knee at 6.
  • Widest part of calf at 7.
  • Ankle at 9.

**Some people draw the crotch at 4 1/2 and the knee closer to 6 1/2 and the widest part of the calf at 7 1/2. Like I said there is variations.

Male Croquis:

  • The head is drawn from 1 to 2.
  • The neck is from 1-1 1/2.
  • The shoulders at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2.
  • Pecsat 2 1/4
  • Waist and elbows at 3 1/4.
  • High hip at 3 1/2.
  • Hip at 4.
  • Crotch at 4 1/2
  • Finger tips at 5.
  • knees at 6 1/2.
  • Widest part of calf at 7 1/2.
  • Ankle at 9.

Here is a fabulous video tutorial on Drawing the Fashion Croquis by Elidada84 

I have created a blank practice template for male and female figures. Here’s Thread Magazine’s template for a croquis family.

Going forward I hope to bring you more information on drawing faces, hands and feet as well as various silhouettes, poses and body types. We will explore ways to create balance, movement and manipulate the figure.

I promise to have more templates and resources for you to explore and use but in the meantime practice practice practice.

Images: (1) Leonardo da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man- Wikipedia (2) Bina Albing’s Fashion Sketchbook

The Croquis-Part I

Fashion Illustration has been around for nearly 500 years. Serving in the design industry as a means of translation, communication and expression of ideas and design image into a finished garment. Fashion illustrations are a way of showcasing clothing and accessories designs and the croquis is the Designer’s tool.

The word croquis comes from the French croquer meaning simply to sketch, rough out, literally, to crunch.  In the fashion industry it has come to refer to a quick sketch of a figure. Clothing designs are loosely drawn and combined to create a cohesive, finished look. These drawings can be flushed out further later on to serve as art.

When designing a collection it can be time consuming to draw every croquis from Scratch. Designers will use a croquis tracing templates for figures and poses on which to quickly sketch their designs. Over time you can build up your own library of fashion images to work from. These templates for fashion design offer endless illustration possibilities.

There are croquis for Fashion illustrations as well as a croquis used for Technical Flat sketches. Each serving it particular purpose.

Fashion Illustration and Flat Sketch Croquis

In Part II I will show you how the croquis is draw and point you towards some resources. But to wet your appetite you might want to check out the quintessential reference for Fashion Illustration. 

 Nine Heads and its lovely companion

 Colors for Modern Fashion