How to color Fashion design sketches

fashion design sketches I Fashion design for beginners I Fashion illustration techniques I Fashion illustration templates

We all knows that Fashion design sketches needs lots of practice, effort, patience and time. As a beginner, some might be nervous with fear that they might not make it and quit even before they get started, while others make it to the half way and quit of difficulty like I did when I started to learn fashion design sketching. I worked really hard to practice and put lots of time and ended up with a disaster sketch, which made me depressed and quit. However not longer, i was back again to give another shot to fashion sketching and guess what? I made it!

P.s. If you want to learn complete fashion sketching, then join my 30 days free fashion sketching course.

Lear how to make fashion design sketches step by step quickly with this fashion illustration tutorial and free fashion templates downloads. let's go!
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You might wonder how? its quiet simple. This time I figured out rather than starting all fancy fashion sketches, perhaps it would be easier to start with simple tips and techniques (which doesn’t require much time to practice) and convert all those tips together to create a masterpiece and it worked!

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And now I ‘m gonna share one of my quickest, easiest and smartest ways to color fashion design sketches, specially for beginners who struggle with fashion sketches. If you followed correctly, then I am sure that you are gonna achieve brilliant results like this right now.

Before we begin, let’s have a look at what we were gonna cover

  1. Tools and supplies
  2. The Croquis
  3. Drawing a Basic Shift Dress
  4. Basic rendering technique
  5. Exploring the Quick Rendering techniques
  6. Skin and Hair

So lets get started!

Quick and easy ways to Fashion sketches

Tools and supplies used in this tutorial

  1.  Poster colors
  2. Color pencils
  3. Black marker
  4. pencil
  5. Brush
  6. Eraser
  7. palette
  8. A4 white papers (bond paper or any art paper)

It all starts with croquis, the beginning of fashion sketches.

In my words, croquis is a paper fashion model, which needs to be dress up with our imagination and creativity.

In fashion sketching, croquis is the key to success. A poor croquis might ruin your entire sketch. Download the free templates from the library to get started.

 Apart from my templates, the other places i like to find croquis are

I suggest to download them all and file them and make your own croquis templates book, which comes handy in every project.

Draw basic shift dress on your fashion croquis

(i use mechanical pencil 0.5mm with 2b lead which is dark as well as it gives a great line quality. If you are just starting out, I recommend H pencil Because of light lines to avoid any mess)

  1. Start with any neckline you like and extend the line upward a bit then join inwards as shown in image.
  2. join shoulder.
  3. Draw the armhole and sleeves.
  4. Follow the curves of the body and draw hem.
  5. Draw the folds on elbow and waist.

If you want to skip drawing and start to color right away, I have included Dress templates. Feel free to download

Make 5 Photocopies or trace. (preferably on bond paper or any art paper) [disclaim]Using light box saves lots of time. you can make your own very easily[/disclaim] Now that you are ready with croquis with shift dress, Let’s get into these quick rendering techniques.

Quick fashion sketching coloring technique

  1. Make a flat coat of color
  2. Give depth with black color pencil
  3. Highlight with white colour pencil
  4. Outline and done!

Lets see how it works!

]Note: Let the first coat completely dry before going to pencil colors as it may leave uneven patches

I’m using poster colors in this tutorial, but you can use markers, water colors, acrylics. Speaking of acrylics, you should definitely check Jennifer Lilya, a famous fashion illustrator who makes amazing fashion illustrations using acrylics and the result turns out like watercolors. Do check.

Fashion Illustration #1

P.s. If you want to learn complete fashion sketching, then join my 30 days free fashion sketching course.

  1. Start by painting any color of your choice. Instead of plain color, I have used 3 tints of a color and let it dry completely.
  2. Shade dark areas with black color pencil. try to be as delicate as possible. (If you are not comfortable with black pencil, use darker shade of base color. see Fashion illustation #4 for details.)
  3. Add white pencil to highlight light areas like bust, folds on waist and hem. (use shading reference sheet included on downloads for help with shading).
  4. Lastly outline using black pen (either gel or ball point).
Fashion Illustration #2 (Animal print + Sequins)

  1. Draw a style line from waist to hem. Paint irregular broken horizontal lines which creates zebra like print.
  2. Fill the other half with pain color.
  3. Shade with Black and white.
  4. Create sequins effect by adding black points with brush and let them dry completely.
  5. Add white dots either by brush or white gel pen. add crossed lines with white to give shimmering effect.
  6. Draw outline and also draw rough lines on print.
Fashion Illustration #3 (Printed style)

  1. Find any interesting fabric or magazine paper.
  2. Trace the dress and cut.
  3. Stick to the croquis and photocopy.
  4. Follow the same process of shading and outline as previous sketches and you are done.
Fashion Illustration #4 (Graphic look)

  1. Find letters or words on magazine or news paper.
  2. Check for pleasing placement and stick to the croqui and photocopy.
  3. Paint the base color of your choice.
  4. This time, Instead of black shading, for more realistic look, Use darker shade of base color (in my case, grey on shoulder and sleeves and darker green on dress)
  5. Highlight in white pencil. (if you cant find good results with pencil, go for white paint or gel pen)
  6. Outline in dark color instead of black. (this shading gives more realistic and neat look, yet i’m more comfortable with black outline).
Fashion Illustration #5 (Lace)

  1. Start with a base color. For tie and dye effect, Wet the sketch with plain water and dab some paint drops and spread. Use as many colors as you like.
  2. Once its completely dry, Scribble random lines with dark color.
  3. Scribble in black lightly on top to add depth.
  4. Followed by shading in black and white.
  5. Outline in black. Instead of straight lines, go with curves this time.
Now lets see how to color skin and hair

There are soo many ways to color skin and hair, since this is for beginners, I tried to make as easy as possible. Skin color mixing: a drop of orange + Small tip of green and lots of water to make it transparent.

  1. Start with a thin coat leaving light areas.
  2. let it dry and touch with second coat for shadows (under chin, forehead, below sleeve hem and dress hem.
  3. Draw lips and eyes with pen or pencil.


  1. Draw base coat of any color transparently.
  2. Add second coat of dark color.
  3. Followed by outline in black.

Don’t stress too much on skin and hair. Just go as simple as you can. So these are the few possibilities to draw quick sketches in no time. With this technique you can try enormous variations.

And this is how my sketches turned out. Click on them to enlarge.


Note: This tutorial is meant for beginners with difficulty in sketching or the ones who wants to get started after a break. Once you mastered this technique, I highly recommend not to stop here and move on to further techniques. I know how difficult it is when starting out fashion sketching. I have been through that stage. But with simple tips and techniques, you can achieve amazing fashion design sketches in no time. There are tons of resources online to learn in which Idrawfashion and Brooke Hagel have dedicated section for tips which are very helpful. Do check them.

Hope this helped you. If you liked it, help me by spreading a word through sharing.

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