Movement, what is it? 

What comes to mind to you when you think about the concept or FEELING of movement, of motion, when thinking of figures and of clothing?

What about when thinking of design?

Fashion Model Drawing Sessions with Laura Volpintesta. MOVEMENT

MOVEMENT is a "design principle"

As much as it describes actual MOTION, “movement” is also a design princple that is present, conscious or not, in all design, imagery, and visual expression. That’s the “DRY” version of what movement is. (and we’ll get more into that in this post)

Meanwhiile,on a more personal level, movement is  something I feel in my gut. It’s like the, wind. It’s like feeling, it’s like action, vitality, it’s like life and energy, iit’s exciting. It’s enthralling, flowing, natural, and, well, …..moving!

The first thing i want you to pay attention to/think about  is diagonal lines:

Movement in fashion illustration can be anywhere

I’ve included this detail above of a fashion sketch from my weekly zoom sessions in Fashion Sketch Group, to show you how much movement is in my handwriting, in the shadow on the floor, in the bend of her leg, in the stroke of the pencil, in the sweeping strokes of the background.

We know we see and feel movement, but how do we DEFINE what it is that makes us see and feel that? These are the kinds of things I teach in my COLOR THEORY classes for my fashion design i students at the university  and I’m running it for you all this summer for the first time. Are you in? Because Color Theory is two things: COLOR and DESIGN PRINCIPLES, explained and experience.


Movement is diagonal in nature

The most simple paradigm shifts can change everything. For me, it was the discovery that “movement is diagonalin nature.

Diagonal lines, diagonal shapes, and even architecture or roads  in perspective , communicate a sense of motion.

If you think of the pyramids, you really don’t think of movement, do you? No, there is a dominant stability (straight, horizontal) base that really anchors it heavily to the ground. (THAT is a fact, but also an experiential knowing that you can feel in your body)

And, yet, like churches and many other forms in the world, the narrow tip at the top creates motion still, because the wide bottom “carries your eye” to the narrow top.

There is a progression, a constant change, from bottom to top, that also says “movement ” or calls you to action.

Movement in drawing is energy and life!

So again, here is just a leg. But look closely avobe. the whole LEG is diagonal. again, the shadows on the floor, the shadows and tugs of the fabric pulling against the body, all diagonals. And this gives vitality, it makes your drawing “dance”.

And when you love movement, you ARE dancing while you draw. I teach my students to stand while they draw and to use their whole body instead of their fingers. The sweeping movements of your arms and the energy in your body MAKE A DIFFERENCE in your drawing and your personal experience!

Another “diagonal” that creates movement is in the quality of line. Line is line, but if you can zoom in it is also a shape.  Many lines start of thick and finish off thin. This is ALSO an example of a progression, a line that comes in bold and then fades out (or vice versa) also adds vitality and visceral, vital, pulsing energy to your sketches.

Movement makes your fashion drawings dance

The sketch above is also from my live sketching group. Now that your eye is trained, can you find the diagonals? The criss-crossing of her strappy sandals? The core of each leg, even though she is standing firmly on both feet? WE STILL FEEL MOVEMENT don’t we?

And this is why I say we learn to draw more by changing how we see than even by drawing itself lo.l

There is an imaginary line through the face of any fashion model (by the way when I say fashion model, I mean whoever you are drawing in your fashion illustrations. It’s ANYONE you want!). Imagine an imaginary ruler running up the center of her face, between the eyes, nose, center of lips , chin… that center line of her face becomes diagonal when the head tilts in any direction.

 Can you feel it? It gives an ATTITUDE and an EMOTION and a FEELING as well as movment. Right??

Like wise if you look at the sketches on this page and notice if you had a ruler from ear to ear, or shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee, hip to hip, toe to toe….all of these relationships have a DIAGONAL spirit in what I call “action poses”…. in fasHion illustrations  and drawings that have DYNAMIC MOVEMENT in theT

movement in fashion illustration laura volpintesta
THIS tossed feather print also shows movement, and feathers make you "think" movement by association. Also, look how this fabric moves and ripples throug the hem! From FAshion Sketch Group

Asymmetry loves movement!

Sweeping diagonal lines and /or shadows on your fashion illustrations, even on your flat sketches, are guaranteed to add life to them and to distract from any little things that you aren’t happy with in the sketch. This is the magic power of ASYMMETRY in drawing and painting as well as in fashion and design!

Notice them in today’s drawings and allow yourself the luxury of exploring your next fashion drawings infusing them with very essense of “DIAGONALITY”… diagonals, movement, life. You can always contrast them with some stabilizing, still, static, anchored elements somewhere else in the page composition. 

 For example, the four edges of your page are ENTIRELY stable and containing, a frame for your wild expressions! the horizon line or architechture may be totally horizontal or vertical. Look for thoss contrasts and give them some attention in your sketches.

Using the Element of Movement in Fashion illustrations
Marker sketch from Fashion Sketch Group zoom session

I hope you found this post helpful. Do browse around the blog, there are so many articles and tips, resources, tutorial to spark and ignite your inspiration on this journey of self expression and creative discovery, for professional or private purposes.

I hope you’ll subscribe to get your welcome bundle and I hope you’ll share your discoveries with me in the coments below.

Laura VolpintestaLaura Volpintesta, fashion illustration tribe

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