The Balance Line/ Plumbline in Fashion and Figure Sketching

Using the PLumbline/ balancer line in fashion drawing and illustation by Laura Volpintesta
Henri Matisse, balance line/ plumbline in figure drawing

“The vertical is in my spirit. It helps me to define precisely the direction of lines, and in quick sketches I never indicate a curve, that of a branch in landscape for example, without being aware of its relationship to the vertical. My curves are not mad.”  Henri Matisse , Jazz

“La verticale est dans mon esprit. Elle m’aide à préciser la direction des lignes, et dans mes dessins rapides je n’indique pas une courbe, par exemple, celle d’une branche dans un paysage, sans avoir conscience de son rapport avec la verticale. Mes courbes ne sont pas folles.” Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse STanding Model- the plumb line/ balance line in model drawing
Henri Matisse

 I love jazz music and bought a copy of Matisse’s book Jazz many years ago at the Strand bookstore on 12 street in the Village in NYC…..

When I found the above quotes in the book, my heart jumped because I felt he said something that I always experienced and wanted to share with my classes.

He validated that amazing tool of using the pure vertical and pure horizontal as tools for being able to gauge curves and angles with amazing accuracy and precision… clarifying and simplifying the drawing process and making it easier to draw difficult things.  We both use the balance line in fashion illustration and figure drawing, along with vertical and horizontal guidelines, as a tool to gauge curves.

THESE YOU TUBE VIDEOS/VLOGs you find below were designed to show how the PLUMB LINE or BALANCE LINE works in fashion design. We hear about balance line fashion illustration technique all the time, but that doesn’t mean we understand it, does it?

If you enjoy this content, my   Soulful Fashion Foundation Immersion Course takes beginner to intermediate students through an entire process to develop solid model drawing, rendering, and color media techniques for technical and creative developments and presentations for fashion design in 12 weeks (or longer if you like), based on the college courses that I have been teaching for 15 years. Subscribe here to stay posted of free events, articles, and course releases.

Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse’s obvious s-curve/arabesque exists,as he says in Jazz, only exists and has power in relation to the pure vertical and the edges of the paper or frame.

ABOVE ALL, remember THIS: as long as you use the balance line fashion illustration technique to place those feet in relation to the head, you will be able to place those hips as far out as you want to the left or the right without her ever looking like she is “tipping over”.  Experiment!!!! Most of these videos are pretty short, the most important ones are longer.

Love, Laura

Settle in with a cup of tea for an in-depth learning experience.  The video is cut into short numbered segments for convenience.

If you just want to skip to the bare-bones of sketching and “get it over with”, go to VIDEO NUMBER 6! (scroll down)

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Untitled design

video 1

video 2

video 3

 video 4

video 5

 video 6

video 7

You can always reach me here at the site!

I would love to know about your experience using the plumbline in these videos.

I invite you to browse the COURSES tab on my homepage in the browser header to see what kind of course you’d like to divei nto to realizez your illustration and design sketches!



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