RBBP with Jennifer Lee & Creativelive

A while back I participated in an online course through CreativeLIVE for the Right Brain Business Plan with Jennifer Lee. If you aren’t familiar with either one of them I highly recommend you familiarize yourself immediately. I have taken many courses on CreativeLIVE and not one has disappointed. But I am not one to turn my nose up to free learning especially creative learning. As for Jennifer Lee she is simply fabulous.

I am a Right-Brainer (I’m coining this term) to begin with but in her class I found a focus I needed to hone. And I realized I never shared my RBBP Perfect Customer Portrait collage. So here it is.

Customer Portrait

And then there is my Right Brained Business Plan (it folds accordion style)…….



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!

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

DCToolbox ~Travel Art Studio

Years ago I came up with an idea for travel design kits. They are of course specifically aimed at Fashion design. The inspiration was my years of playing with Tomy Fashion Plates.

Now that I have more time on my hands I have begun to delve back into the creation process of my design kits. So it occured to me that I could at least begin by organizing my existing travel art supplies. A mini studio that allows me to fashion sketch on the go.

First I purchased a Field Journal Notebook from Tom Bihn. I got it with the Cranes Crest paper for drawing. I had to modify it to hold my travel watercolor kit. Think Seam ripper.

Then I placed in some of my basic supplies (pencil, pen, eraser, cutting mat, ruler and blade). If traveling on an airplane make sure to remove the Exacto blade. You want to avoid an international incident.

My watercolor kit is larger in size. But I like having all 24 colors, palettes and brushes. There are smaller versions available like this one by Winstor and Newton. Or like so many you can create your own watercolor kit in an Altoids tin.

So with my mini travel studio I can sketch on the go. Whether drawing from life or an image out of a  magazine. Often I will do quick sketches using just a ballpoint pen.

Others I pencil in loosely and then color with my Copic markers once I get home. It has become a mini visual journal tracking the myriad of thoughts and images I am drawn to.

Now if I am going for a longer trip I take along my markers, a larger pad of paper and perhaps my iPad or laptop. So this requires a tote bag or backpack depending on where I am off to. But most days my mini kit is all I need.

If you have created a travel studio of your own I would love to see. Please share.

Croquis Pose Quick sketch method

I came across a video on quickly hashing out a croquis pose from a photograph. I wanted to make sure to share it with you but have managed to lose the link. Ugh!…the dangers of blogging and idea storage mishaps. Once I rediscover it I will post the link.

Since this is the method I use for quick sketches I will do my best to reiterate the idea. First I have created a Croquis drawing guidline sheet for you to use. I draw by eye on a blank sheet of paper keeping mindful of the body proportions. But the template helps in the beginning.

In Croquis II I went over the basics to creating the croquis figure. I talked about the average person being 8 heads tall. My tutorial talked about creating a 10 head figure. But as this illustration by Aciele shows you can make your croquis as small or tall as you desire. The process is the same so create them at your whim.

But for the purpose of this exercise you can use my new 10 head figure template. I made it a little lighter so it won’t compete with your pencil lines. I suggest you start with a simple pose like this one.

The center line on the template now serves as the plum line. Start by defining the angle of the shoulders, waist and hips. Then connect the shapes creating an outline for torso and hips and draw in the crotch. Next you will draw circles in for the elbows, wrists, breasts, knees, and ankles. Then connect these dots.

From here you can add in the neck, head and feet and flush out the figure. Once you are happy with how it looks ink the lines you want to keep and erase the pencil.

Like everything practice, practice, practice. Then you can move on to more challenging poses like this one of Veruschka by Richard Avedon, 1967

Hope this tutorial was helpful. Enjoy!

Images: Aciele / Frida Gustavson for Neiman Marcus / DCTdesigns


I am constantly striving to hone a method of illustrating that works best for me. I used to work with colored pencil. Then wanting a softer, blended look I began experimenting with watercolor. That just hasn’t seemed to work for me. My drawings became a hybrid-watercolor and pencil.

Then it all changed. This weekend I discovered markers. I know where have I been?……illustrating under a rock? To be more specific I discover Copic markers. After all Arturo Elena uses them.  I think I am in heaven. I love color and they have plenty to choose from. This allows me all sorts of options for blending and shading.

With markers I found I could create the saturation I was after. It allowed me to be more precise in application and build up the color and create depth in shading. Now mind you I can often overwork a piece to death. I have not mastered subtly or the art of using negative/white space as Anna Kiper so perfectly illustrates in her book.

There is definitely more refining to do as I develop my technique further. I am still using a light flesh tone watercolor base for the skin and colored pencils with the blend tool for texture. I love the warm and cool grey tones and pale yellow for a touch of highlight.

Armed with my new find I revisited two of my early sketches Tatiana and Knuckle Punch bringing them color. I still have more practice to do on leather since negative space seems to be a key. Remember not my strong suit. But for a first go I am really pleased. I think I have finally found a medium to work in.

Images: DCT