From profiles to proportions: a beginner’s guide to fashion illustration

When beginning your journey with fashion illustration, experiment with sketches first and foremost. Make sure to pare it back before all else: the core foundation of fashion design lies in mastering the basics before crafting your own style. Follow these introductory step-by-step tutorials by fashion illustrator Scott Mason and you’ll be sketching figures, defining poses and layering garments with confidence in no time.

How to begin a fashion illustration


Not sure where or how to start? Begin by mapping out a model proportionately. Seize your Graphite Pencil and start experimenting with sketchy lines and shapes to roughly map out your model’s figure. Start with the head, then make your way down. When it comes to the torso, ensure it is three times the size of the head and the legs are five times the size.  

Next, add simple details – hair, eyes, eyebrows and shading – to the profile and head. Refine the arms and hands with details such as highlights on the curvature of joints. Then place clothing onto the form. Roughly sketch the clothes on top, and then replace all your sketchy lines with confident ones. Add finishing details such as shading and texture where needed, and you’ll have a completed fashion sketch. 

Pose ideas


Have fun with this simple but effective exercise if you’re lacking creativity or struggling to visualise the perfect pose for your model. Designed to loosen your style, it’ll provide you with a pageful of experimental pose ideas.  

First, use Promarker in a bright colour to draw random circles and shapes across different areas on the page. The key to this part is not overthinking.  

Use a 0.1mm nib Fineliner to add details within the shapes of a head, torso, legs and arms – one figure per shape – and the shape itself will help dictate whether your model is standing, kneeling, sitting or walking without paying too much attention to proportions. You’ll have a page full of pose ideas that you can tweak and use in the final illustrations. 

How to draw a profile

To master the details in drafting a model profile you’ll need to focus on achieving the right angles, curves and expression. First, use a 2B Graphite Pencil to draw a sloping line for the forehead. Then create the round of the nose and lips, dip back in for the chin and round, then follow the line up slightly and finally down for the neck. A tip is to vary the pressure you’re applying to each feature to give the impression of dimension and shadow. 


Using a 0.1mm Fineliner next, go over your pencil lines. Then start by colouring in the profile with Promarker. Follow up by adding in accessories such as hats or scarves, consider embellishing with a print design and finish with any shading you’d like to add to the profile. 

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