Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bean Up to... Fashionary, a new kind of sketchbook

Fashionary sketches
Sketches of outfits I've worn, including my wedding dress
One of my favorite things to do as a young girl was draw outfits in sketchpads my Mom stapled together from scratch paper. A friend of mine taught me how to draw a human figure during theater camp (yes, I was a drama geek). It involved a horizontal oval, inverted triangle, another horizontal oval, six circles and some lines. It worked, but each drawing took a relatively long time. I recently began sketching again and thought about making some sort of template so I wouldn't have to keep making the same figure over and over again. And then I discovered Fashionary via What I Wore. I was so taken with the idea that I ordered one right away (well, I waited a week, but you get my point).

Fashionary typography & presentation board samples

Fashionary technical drawings & pattern templates

The first part of the book, which was created by Hong Kong designer Penter Yip, includes useful information for fashion designers, such as technical drawings of different pieces of clothing, pattern templates, a schedule of major fashion events in different countries and samples of presentation boards. Most of Fashionary consists of pages with "blending figures," however, or female figures in very faint, dotted outlines. You can sketch an outfit over them and it saves you a lot of time and hassle. If you want to work on your fashion illustration skills, as I do, Fashionary lets you skip the irksome process of drawing a body and skip directly to sketching the outfit itself.

Fashionary sketches
The dress on the far left is a practice sketch I copied from a drawing on The others are all sketches of clothing I own. It's like seeing myself stretched out!

My drawings aren't perfect by any means, but I'm looking forward to improving them, especially in terms of being able to capture fabric textures more realistically. I'm not a designer, but sketching is a great form of stress release and Fashionary makes it even more fun. I highly recommend it. The sketchbook is US$16 and you can order it online from Etsy. If you don't feel like buying it right away, you can download sample blending figure templates from the Web site.

Also, if any of you have tips on good online resources for fashion illustration techniques, please let me know!


  1. This is so awesome! I might just have to order it!!

    Your sketches look amazing.

    Lulu Letty

  2. I really like your sketches... and the idea is amazing.

  3. Maria & Nadine-Thanks! The Fashionary is so much fun! It's basically my new toy.

  4. Your sketches look gorgeous!
    Mine always come out cartoony!

  5. Oh my god this book is amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Ooh, how nifty! I used to love drawing pictures of different (and very strange) outfits when I was little. I like your sketches.
    -Andi x