DCToolbox-Creating Custom Fabrics


Historically, the introduction of new technology does not usually result in an immediate change in design styles. Initially, design for any industrial application continues to follow the style associated with the preceding technology; the first motorcars, for example, were designed to resemble horse-drawn carriages. Change only begins to occur once practitioner’s come to understand the potential of the new technology and they are comfortable with it.

Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac, Digital Textile Design


 Many of my students develop custom patterns/fabric along with their design lines. As they develop their garments for the fashion show they often need small run yardage to complete their samples. “So where do we go to have small yardage made of custom fabrics?” they often ask.

Starting out with a minimum of 1000 yards as with traditional printing is just not practical. So there are digital printing options available. Here are four online fabric Printing Services: Spoonflower, Fabric on demand, Karma Kraft and Eye Candey.


Some of these services can even create original custom design artwork. Of course I discourage this for my students. But the service exists none the less ranging between $50-$200 depending on complexity and detail of the design. And if you envision needing larger print runs in the future some of these services also offer traditional printing methods as well (flat bed, heat transfer etc.). So it is a great springboard for dabbling in custom fabrics.

In the blog True Up Kim writes a great entry sharing her experiment using all four fabric printing services. Make sure to check it out to understand how each service works. So if you are working on a project that requires your own custom cloth you can determine which of theses resources would best meet your needs. Perhaps a little out of date but none the less valuable Kim created a great Digital Fabric Printing Guide from her experience.

If you are new to textile design begin with this tutorial on Vector Tuts+ by LoungeKat : A Beginners Guide to Digital Textile Printing. These books are also great resources to get you started on your custom Fabric designs:



Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles






Digital Textile Design





Textile Designs:Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and  Period





Fabric For Fashion: The Swatch Book




Good luck in your adventures with Custom Fabric Design and digital Printing!


Images: (1) Fabric on Demand (2) True Up (3-6) Amazon

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

DCToolbox- mydeco.com

Mydeco.com is a wonderful resource.

Working from furnished/unfurnished templates, uploaded floorplans and images you are able to create room designs, mockup moodboards and color photos.

When creating a moodboard for a design line, recoloring a bedroom photo to test colors, creating a dreamscape for my future home, or simply reading the blogs (US blog & UK blog ) I can get lost for hours. 


The mydeco manifesto (Brit Style)

 1. We believe small spaces were created to challenge us.

2. We believe in shopping in your jim-jams with a good bottle of red.

3. We believe dimmer switches will triple your chance of romance at home.

4. We believe wallpapering your downstairs loo is like wearing a fur coat and no knickers (not for every day, but terrific if you can pull it off).

5. We believe your home says more about you than your iPod.

6. We believe the guy next door is as inspiring as glossy magazines.

7. We believe home decorating is to Brits what therapy is to Yanks.

8. We believe in mixing and matching Granny’s tat with design classics, and that a find has the power to make us happy.

9. We believe the tyranny of bland magnolia must be stopped. And we won’t shut up until it’s painted over.

10. We believe that if you love it, it doesn’t matter where you bought it.


Well, as a “Yank” myself  I can tell you that room decoration is my therapy. And any of my ex-husbands can attest… When I need to change my mood, I rearrange furniture.

 These are just a few examples of images created using mydeco.com. Enjoy!

Jewelry Rendering & The Metal of a Man

A year or so ago I awoke with these images of necklaces in my mind’s eye based on the star constellations for each sign of the Zodiac. I immediately took to roughly sketching them.

This seemingly random burst of energy led me to seek out metalsmithing and jewelry making classes in my area. Until recently I had only ever done beading. So this was all unknown territory to me and like with any Art there is so much to know and understand.

Whether sculpture, painting, photography, woodworking or metalsmithing the materials, techniques and artisans all change. With clothing I can visualize a garment; Know what materials I want to use, illustrated the design, make the pattern and create the finished product. But metals?

So I sought instruction and found a fabulous school Danaca Designs. Slowly I have begun taking different classes. A few weekends ago I attended a Jewelry rendering class by Nanz Aalund.

In a first for me (I am not lucky by nature) I won the textbook; my name drawn from the hat. So now I really have no excuses not to keep at it.

Jewelry Illustration by Dominique Audette

Nanz talked of metal smiths and their history as freemen. That the saying the “metal of a man” referred to the silver imbedded in a silversmiths hands. When asked to show his metal these marks would show whether or not he used quality materials.

That any skill took practice. That there is a mathematical equation or number of hours needed to work at something in order to master it. Basically equating to 7 years. Hence some of the top apprenticeships tend to last 7 years. For me this conjured up another meaning all together to the 7 year itch.


As I stare at my jewelry sketches I haven’t the foggiest notion how to create my vision. There is far more that I don’t know in this artistic venue then what little I do know. So slowly I have been picking away at it. My goal ultimately to fabricate each of my twelve necklace designs. Hopefully before 7 years is up.

By no means do I expect mastery. I just hope to reach the visualization of my goal, meet new people and pick up a new skill or two along the way.

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