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

To the Dogs

I met this gal the other day while grabbing lunch. As we stood in line waiting to order her campanion eagerly awaited her return outside. From time to time darting dangerous close to knocking down the sandwich board posting daily specials.

So of course I had to sketch her up. For me there is something so satisfying about drawing people I come across along my daily routine. Capturing a Moment in the life of……kind of thing.

After which I instantly flashed back to this editorial from Vogue Germany March 2010.

What is it about people and their pets? Do we chose a pet that reflects/speaks to our personality or after a while do we begin to look like our pets? Perhaps our pets begin to look like us. Regardless, this gal seemed friendly, energetic and fit, so maybe there is something to the theory. Like I shared in Nicknames I can live with the moniker “gentile giant” but No I won’t be going out to get a Great Dane. My dog was an Akita, tall and hairy.

The Weekend 5/11/12 ~ Moms,Fashion Icons


Long before they were our mothers;

Before the era of fashion blogging;

When we thought they had no clue about our lives, about who we were.

They had their own fights over hair length and skirt length with their mother’s.

They had a whole life already lived.

Our Mothers were fashionable.

Piper Weiss write’s a blog dedicated to this idea of Mom’s as style icons, the fashions of our mothers. So to celebrate all the fashionable mothers out there watch the trailer for her book.

Then make sure to check out the White Cabinet where Liz Glasgow has dedicated an entire blog to the Fashion Illustrations of her mother Linda Glasgow.

When all is said and done I am sure you will search through old photos or look to your mother’s closet for design inspiration. If nothing else remember Mothers are fashion icons. Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s too!

Enjoy the weekend! Honor your Mothers. They brought you into this world. And as they remind….can take you out. To the Mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day…see you Monday.


Weekend Reading List:

Fashion Illustrators

So last week was a deluge of incredibly talented finds. Here are the newest (to me) fashion illustrators I discovered around the web. In one day I acquired a few new favorites. There truly is no end to the number of talented artists out there. It is like Christmas. So without further Ado I would like to introduce you to……

Malia from Deep Fried Freckles

Teri Chung ~ Check out her New york Fashion Week Illustrated

Fabiana Pigna

Hayden Williams

Soleil Ignacio

For more Illustrators make sure to check out Part I , II , III , IV , V , and Blogs  from my Fashion Illustrator Series.

The Weekend ~ 5/4/12

Tomorrow is both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. I couldn’t decide which event to illustrate so I did a piece for both.

First up is Cinco de Mayo and I decided everyone needs a Piñata Purse. You just know it has to be full of goodies. If not money than definitely sweets. And what could be better than that? The Margarita doesn’t hurt either. This drawing was originally inspired by this photo of Dita Von Teese for Cointreau, then the purse idea, last her colorful companion sprung to life.


For the Derby I immediately thought of Eliza Doolittle’s day at the races. So for this one my trusty blade came out for a quick paper cutting session. It’s all about the hat!


No reading list this week. Just artwork. Hope to see you all again Monday.


Images: Cinco de Mayo & Doolittle Derby by DCT