What Do Fashion Designers Use to Sketch? the Secrets of Fashion Designers

what do fashion designers use to sketch? Do they use any new technology, or do they work like common people with pencils and paper!

Fashion design is an attractive and continuously developing field that combines creativity, artistry, and functionality. Whether you are an ambitious designer, a student in a fashion program, or just someone who has a passion for style, fashion design is an important part of your life.

In fashion designing, Sketching is the first step in turning your ideas into real designs.

What Do Fashion Designers Use to Sketch?

In this article, we will explore the world of fashion sketching and discover various useful tools and techniques to help you create amazing fashion sketches

Essential tools for fashion sketching

First, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need when starting with fashion sketching. The right tools can make a big difference in the quality of your drawings.


Choose a sketchbook with blank pages that don’t have lines, and it should be big enough for you to comfortably draw your designs.

A sketchbook is like a canvas for a designer, where they shape their ideas. It can be used for rough work as well as for the final artwork.

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For sketching, you’ll need a good set of drawing pencils. You can use a regular pen, but it doesn’t allow as much flexibility in changing your design.

When it comes to pencils, it’s a good idea to have a range, from 2H (hard) for lighter lines to 6B (soft) for darker and more expressive lines. Mechanical pencils can also be convenient for some people.

They come in different hardness levels, so you can choose the one that suits your style best.


In fashion sketching, a good eraser is your best friend, and you probably agree if you’ve started sketching.

I’d like to mention that apart from fashion sketching, whenever I create any other pencil drawings, I use the eraser as a shading tool. I’ll explain how to use it as a shading tool in a future article.

Rulers and Curves:

Straight edges and French curves help you create precise lines and curves in your drawings. The way artists use them varies from person to person, and there’s no one hard and fast rule for it.


To add color and depth to your drawings, invest in high-quality markers. Copic markers are a popular choice among fashion designers for their vibrant colors and versatility. However, some people prefer alcohol markers as their first choice.

Colored Pencils:

Colored pencils can be especially useful for adding texture and detail to your sketches. They are particularly handy for presenting fabrics and patterns, which are essential for the final design.

Gouache Paints:

While you can use watercolors, many fashion designers find joy in working with gouache. The advantage of gouache is that it dries quickly, and you don’t need any specific medium to mix it with.


If you are using watercolors or gouache, you will need a good set of brushes for delicate work. While regular brushes work for fashion designing, you can also use expensive brushes if you prefer.

Fabric Swatches:

Having actual fabric swatches or sample patterns can be helpful for presenting realistic fabric designs in your sketches. This allows you to make your imagination more realistic.

Tracing Paper:

This is a kind of transparent paper on which you can easily trace your designs. Tracing paper allows you to make copies of your initial sketches without damaging or refining them.

Fashion Sketching Techniques

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Now that you have your tools ready, let’s learn about some fundamental sketching techniques that will help you create stunning fashion sketches.

Croquis and Proportions

A croquis (pronounced kro-kee) is a basic outline of a fashion figure, and it serves as the foundation for your designs. It’s a specific proportion on which you build the outline of your design. You can either create your croquis or use pre-printed croquis templates to save time.

  • Start by drawing a straight vertical line, representing the center of the body.
  • Add a horizontal line to mark the shoulders.
  • Shape the head in an oval form, and then draw a vertical line from the head to the bottom, representing the body’s proportion.
  • Divide the vertical line into eight equal sections. The fifth section denotes the waist’s representation, and the seventh section represents the hips.
  • Focusing on the main body shapes, use the basic shapes to define the head, hands, and legs.
  • Keep in mind that you’re only showing the shape here; no details are needed.

Proportions are essential in fashion sketching. Pay attention to the length and width of body parts and the spaces in between. Understanding proportions will make your sketches more realistic and aesthetically pleasing.


Folds or Creases are like the way your clothes wrap and move when you wear them. They’re all about showing how clothing naturally shapes itself, which you can feel once you put it on.

Just like how a piece of clothing drapes over your body and flows, you need to express this in your sketch. To suggest folds and drapes in the fabric, you have to draw lines and curves. It’s essential to include these lines and curves in your fashion sketch to make it look true to life.

Creating a dynamic and realistic posture involves bending the arms, legs, and curving the fabric. This way, you can show the folds accurately in your sketch.

Fabric Rendering

Presenting clothing effectively in your sketches is a significant challenge for fashion designers.

First and foremost, you need to observe real fabrics and their textures. To depict various textures in your sketches, you must use techniques like hatching, cross-hatching, and stippling.

For delicate fabrics like silk, use lighter lines, while for stronger materials like denim, opt for bolder lines. To put it simply, use a 2B pencil for soft fabrics and a 6B pencil for thicker materials.


Fashion sketching is an essential skill for anyone who wants to become a fashion designer or is looking for a creative outlet. What do fashion designers use to create sketches? Now that you know the correct answer, with the right tools and techniques, you can bring your fashion ideas to life.

Whether you choose traditional or digital sketching, remember that practice and dedication are the keys to improving your fashion sketching skills. So, pick up your sketchbook and start creating your fashion designs.

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