trying to draw

Ahhh… now I get to demonstrate just how backwards I am when it comes to observation and technique with a pencil. But I said I was going to share my scratchings every few days, so here’s some hand studies I did today. All I can say is that I better step up before I bore everyone to death with this stuff.

Hands. I’ve numbered these illustrations so it’s painfully obvious how rusty I was starting out.


These next ones turned out okay. I was ripping up old W magazines to find hand pictures. There are hardly any interesting hands in these magazines! Often they are limply draped across a handbag or just limp. I like hands that are interacting with things. That kind is more difficult to draw. When I draw my fashion drawings, I want it to look like the hands are manipulating the clothing, or placed naturally on the body. Unfortunately the artificial postures of fashion magazines offer little to observe.

Okay, that was okay for today but in the future I’d like to be a bit more ambitious.

  • I need to buy some coloured paper, and some quality chalk and conte, and just get dirtier.
  • Pay more attention to anatomy. Get a book on it.
  • Practice drawing shoes, all sorts of shoes.
  • Develop my analog colouring techniques. I want to play with coloured pencils again.
  • Draw an interior of a room that doesn’t look like a tunnel and figures in it that don’t look like they’re floating.
  • Scribble insanely so I’ll stop being so uptight and representational.

Often I bat around the idea of producing the “fashion comic book” but I’ve been dissatisfied with my lame attempts at it to date. If I’m ever going to make that idea reality I will need to produce figures interacting with an environment in a dynamic way. I know I can do it. I just have to get the momentum going. It was oddly difficult to get myself to sit down and draw today but once I did it I enjoyed it. With a little discipline hopefully it will become more entertaining and rewarding.

What do you think? Does my process towards greater versatility with illustration interest you or bore you?

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13 thoughts on “trying to draw”

  1. i think that attempting to have greater versatility in your drawing will only benefit your fashion work, by forcing you to become even more observant of the detail of things around you, and will also make you more diverse in general, which (i think) is always a good thing, especially for artists and designers (people who are more than just *fashion* are more interesting people in general).

    you seem like the kind of person who does what she says she’s going to do, and does it well, so i can’t wait to see what progress you make and the results of your drawing exploration and growth.

    i also want to and am aiming to improve my drawing skills beyond my fashion drawing (though i have even further to go than you, clearly!). i’ve been wanting to draw shoes as well. i just saw a great little article in the august issue of british elle that is about the winner of a recent shoe design contest held by the magazine, and it’s revived my shoe sketching bug again!

  2. Nice work here. I am always a fan of watching how other people work at overcoming certains “barriers” that they think they have. Mine would probably be faces and hands. I struggle a lot with drawing straight technical things, but love doodling beautiful curving lines. Hence, my fashion illustrations have been becoming more and more “curvy”.

    I like how you mapped out your hands. One day I have to sit down and try “learn” the things I never got out of illustration at school.

    Good luck with you illustrating endeavors. I think you should keep up your idea of posting it on here. People always like to see the workings of illustrators. It’s fun!

  3. How many fashion illustrations did you see at school that had no hands? Many I suspect if it was like my school, always convenient to do a pose with no visible hands! We had many students do faceless illustrations too, handless and faceless models, quite hilarious! Boy, hands are really tough to do well! And a dodgy face can make a beautifully drawn form look childish or silly, these two things are a dead give away on your talent level. Needless to say my hands and faces aren’t too hot!

    I think that one can learn to do many aspects of fashion illustration in a mechanical, methodical way, and manage to pull off something reasonably decent (ie representational but boring), but faces with expression and hands that look real seem to require deeper study and some element of ‘REALLY’ seeing and feeling, it’s a more intuitive almost ‘otherworldly’ kind of observation. I’ve experienced different sensations when I start looking at forms really deeply and asking questions to myself such as where does the line go and what shape is it, what is the background space like? I seem to loose all sense of time and awareness of what’s happening around me. It happens rarely but when it does it’s meditation and I usually like the result. Better than drawing off some grid or fashion template! Even if it’s a little ‘off’!

    It’s a fascinating and brave idea that you have to chart your progress of loosening up and exploring your illustrations further. Fantastic, and it actually really motivates me too. I’m going back to some exercises from ‘drawing from the right hand side of the brain’, I found this book really helpful. Cheers for getting me all inspired!

    The final hands you’ve drawn are pretty amazing, I know how difficult it is to portray the subtle shape changes in the fingers and get the perspective right. It’s really pretty darn good Danielle!

    Get the pencils out! I don’t know if you can get hold of these ‘Steiner School’ pencils but if you can they are really soft and never need sharpening, and very vibrant lively colour too! They’re made by Mercurius which is stockmar and Lyra brands in cooperation, they’re called ‘colour giants’. Check em out, not cheap though!

    Keep going!

  4. I’m not bored at all! I have to learn how to draw too, and I taught myself a little buy looking at vogue’s and trying to copy the photos. I never really learned how to draw in high school, but I love your sketches. Keep up the updates because any little thing that you learn is beneficial to your readers too.

  5. Hey Danielle,

    It looks like you are practicing the same thing I am right now. I find hands extremely difficult. I have a great book to recommend to you, it was my textbook in University for figure drawing, “Master Class in Figure Drawing” by Robert Beverly Hale. I have been revisiting all of my old drawing books and this one is a really good one to have especially if you want to learn to draw the body from the inside out.

  6. Thanks Jill,
    I think that I will take a look at that book. Always good to have great reference material when you are working on illustrations, and trying to sharpen your skills.

  7. Hey, coming at this from a non-technical, non-industry perspective, I still find this interesting. And think a fashion comic book is a FABULOUS idea!

    I don’t have time to really think about learning to sketch right now, but what I think would be fun is a fashion coloring book. I know there are some, but I keep thinking about ones that people could play with to actually learn good artistic concepts of combining their clothes.

    But of course, what else would I be thinking about?

  8. All right! With all that encouragement I better not let everyone down! What a response – that’s a big motivation.

    The fashion colouring book is a good idea Rebecca… that reminds me…

    …the other thing I’ve always wanted to do is a set of paper dolls.

    Wait a minute…

  9. danielle, i love paper dolls. I’m actually working on some magnetic ones for Stereoette right now, perhaps we could do a trade… ;o)

    i cant draw shoes at all, though.

    btw, in response to your question, i’m loving this post – i realy enjoy watching the process you go through to create illustrations. you should def. do more.

  10. paper dolls are great! I have some websites bookmarked somewhere with some really cool magnetic ones. Unfortunately those links are bookmarked on a computer that’s still in a box somewhere right now! Moving always sets you behind!

  11. wow again…………… many times do you get told your too hard on yourself its honestly true thats fantastic!

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