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Are you an amazing fashion illustrator? Do your fashion illustrations belong behind gilded frames in art galleries? Me neither…

But there is hope. When I was in Fashion Design school in Firenze, Italia, we used to sketch for hours on end. As an assignment we were to create our own personalized fashion croqui (pronounced crow-kee) from scratch. An average croqui’s height, if you will, is made up of 9 HEADS. I’ve plugged this book by FIDM professor Nancy Riegelman into this article because it helped my best friend learn to sketch beautifully and she gifted the book to me as well, I found it very helpful. The croqui to the far left is on FIDM’s website, and illustrates how the human body is broken up into equal sections, or 9 heads. Designers Nexus offers many free, downloadable fashion croquis, flats and sketches for your convenience, examples are pictured above right.

Besides teaching yourself to sketch beautiful croquis on your own, like I know you are all going to do, there are enough free croqui downloads out there to give you a head start. We have a tutorial on BurdaStyle where you can download our croqui for free while also learning how to create technical flats, which are technical illustrations, showing the details of a garment: seamlines, zippers, buttons, darts, topstitching, etc. . It is very important if you wish to produce your clothing with a factory, to create technical flats of each piece. These illustrations are equivalent to an architect’s sketch of a house plan; they define exactly how the garment is to be produced, down to surface embellishments.

The link to the BurdaStyle CROQUI:
(right click and download)

The Tutorial for the BurdaStyle technical flat:


  • 27348_1300120490_7089_n_large

    Mar 31, 2010, 10.07 PMby baerbelborn

    I think its a bit dull if every single fashionista draws the same height, proportion and doll like everyone else. Life is too short to copy

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    Mar 31, 2010, 04.06 PMby cokinhas

    How, in my old professional school I learnt that the proportion of female croqui was always 9 heads and a half head, to the feet. I usually started with the anatomic doll, with all those article arms and legs. Then I started to draw just like the first draw, using all the lenght of the sheet of paper. It was a bit easy if used an A4 size, but more difficult to draw in an A3 size.

    Sorry for my English!

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    Mar 31, 2010, 12.49 AMby stefanisarah

    I’ve read that according to da Vinci our body is 8 head lengths tall, instead of 9. Read it here: http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/2009/04/body-proportions-explained.html

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    Mar 30, 2010, 05.04 PMby mlssfshn

    Gedwoods, your not alone, I wasn’t independent enough at 18 or have family support so I settled for a Fashion Merchandising degree at a college 2 hours from home. Thought, I think, it’s more rewarding to get things the hard way=) Since I’ve always been a one man band, I haven’t really drawn my designs. They, more offend than not, go from my head directly into fabric or pattern. Now, I’m try to incorporate more sketch into my time because if I want to grow my line I know I’m going to have to give part of the work to someone else. I do everything by hand but would love to learn how to use illustrator and software to make patterns. It’ll happen one day I’m sure=) I’ve been using designer Nexus for croquis and a friend gave me a copy of Hokey Croquis so I can work on my technical drawings. Both have come in handy in the last couple of weeks because my husband has a dress design he wants me to work on and I’ve been able to draw it from his description, because he refuses to use the aids to sketch.

  • Photoge01_large

    Mar 30, 2010, 01.42 PMby gedwoods

    I have to say that I was, as a young man, really interested in fashion design as a possible career, but was conscious that my ineptitude at drawing made me a weak choice for that profession, and I allowed myself to be steered into other things (e.g. science!). I have found, however, over the years, that I do have an eye for drawing despite my earlier doubts, that I am highly creative, and that I would have made an excellent fashion designer (sigh)! Still, life being what it is, I can hardly complain – I’ve become a highly successful scientist, and increasingly I have the privilege of also working with fashions, designs, and sewing, even to the extent of being able to integrate some aspects of this into my research!

    3 Replies
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      Apr 1, 2010, 06.57 PMby susanne2011

      Wow Gedwoods, that is cool to hear! I also always believed I was not artistic / creative enough, so I went into science and am a post-doctoral scientist now. I only started sewing 2 years ago and discovered that there is a creative person inside of me, it took me 27 years to figure this out. I wish I was again in my teens and at the point where I could choose my education/career again.
      So funny to hear that you have a similar story, what kind of science are you in? How have you integrated fashion into your science?
      I’m an evolutionary biologist (see a bit on my website: www.susannedenboer.com, which is both about sewing and science).

    • Missing

      Apr 2, 2010, 03.08 PMby thdanmolegmailcom

      As someone who has a similar career story, I’m dying to know what you do?

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      Apr 6, 2010, 11.39 AMby stellag

      amazing…so many people stuck not doing what they were destined to do.
      I went into Computer Science but my dream was always fashion design.
      I can illustrate and design but have not done much hands on…so now I am starting. Any suggestions for a good sewing machine (want to be able to sew leather, jeans, silk etc)…good luck to all to fullfil their soul desire!

  • Baldbookgeek_copy_large

    Mar 30, 2010, 07.49 AMby william james

    i always found fashion illustration hard at college

    • This is a question
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