Sketching Fashion Figures,

or any figure, in profile, always seems to present unique challenges. The most common problem is that the figures become too thin when rotated into profile, and that we don’t understand what the anatomy is doing. I’m here to help you with that today.

There’s also a video in this post, to help you with sketching profile fashion figures, scroll down to view the demonstration.

profile fashion figure sketch

practice, practice, practice- playfully- sketching the fashion figures from all angles! This can be the most joyful practice.

Profile fashion figures About Laura Volpintesta Marker fashion illustration
Profile marker fashion sketch of Prabal Gurung Fall 2016 by Laura Volpintesta

profile fashion model sketch by Laura Volpintesta

understanding body anatomy and mechanics (above) and practicing them helps us sketch with flowy ease (below)

profile fashion figure sketch proportions laura volpintestaProfile Fashion illustration apps with Laura Volpintesta course online, laura volpintesta, fashion illustration

One of the keys to sketching the profile fashion figures is to follow the natural curve of the spine which becomes visible in profile. Another key is to really understand how the balance line works in fashion drawing, so her feet are under her head, supporting it. . Also notice how the neck protrudes forward from the shoulder line!

sketching the profile fashion figure Laura Volpintesta

live model drawing with brush pen- profile view- by Laura Volpintesta

We seem to have a “frontal” orientation to seeing things, as if they were two dimensional, like letters. But Figures have a wonderful 3dimensionality.  One of the coolest things in a live model drawing class is having a circle of students around a standing model,drawing from every angle, constantly reminded of the number of views a garment or outfit can have.

fashion sketching Profile fashion figure Laura volpintesta

Profile figure has a natural curve and flow following the spine and muscle tone naturally!

sketching the profile fashion figure by Laura volpintesta

The mannequin or dress form rotates on its stand for the same reason…. the designer can constantly rotate and turn around what they are working out.  A sculptor in clay works on a lazy susan or turntable  so they can rotate their work constantly into different views to make sure they all……”jive”. (Love that word).  Because if you are sculpting a figure (which a fashion designer is…) then you need to walk around the room to see each angle. EVERY ANGLE MATTERS in fashion, although many think of clothing as just a front and a back.

Real size fashion model drawing by Laura VolpintestaReal size fashion model drawing by Laura Volpintesta

The fact remains that STILL, it will have a side view even if you never thought about it! So consider that sketching profile fashion figures is part of your vocabulary.

sketching the profile fashion figure- fashion illustration laura volpintesta

These illustrations are from my Swatches to Gouache online course– check it out! Several free lessons are on the sales page

So here is today’s YOUTUBE video. I hope it helps you clarify some of the overall landmarks and keys to creating a profile figure sketch.

Inevitably, in the early weeks of sketching fashion figures/ model drawing or even later on, the issue of the profile comes up. Why do they look STIFF? Why do they look like they are tipping over? Why is the body looking straight as a broomstick? It’s because we haven’t sat down and really mastered that profile by giving it the love and attention it needs to be understood and demystified- and that’s why I’m here to coach you!!

fashion sketching the profile figure laura volpintesta

figure rotations in proportion- from front, side/profile and 3/4 angle…. we can build a body easily- this was a demonstration from a classroom session at Parsons.

Here are some of the key points that will help you un-do your frustration with sketching fashion figures in profile.

Turn up some nice tunes to draw to, and gift yourself to drawing as a therapeutic treat, like a pedicure or a massage.  Get into the groove, and dance like nobody’s looking!!! …literally, and figuratively. That’s what we always do in Fashion Sketch Group!

Remember that your sketches can’t look relaxed and lovely if you aren’t feeling comfortable and unfettered while you work- so make it a priority to make your physical  position and environment comfortable and ergonomic while you are fashion sketching (or costume sketching);


Don’t forget to subscribe,  Fall is a perfect time to start up and move with a group of like minded fashion and art lovers and designers. Or, meet all year long by joining Fashion Sketch Group membership meeting 4 times per month!

Never hesitate to let me know if you have questions!

Fashion Design 2_ Art Supplies-4Draw on.

Love,  Laura


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