Drawing Eyes

Moving to the next lesson in my Fashion Design Studio book, I was inspired to focus on drawing eyes. This lesson's objective is to learn to sketch the features of the face. Fashion models have simplified features, so that attention is not drawn from the clothes to the face. However, style is exaggerated on the features as well.

So the eyes are slightly elongated with thickened eye lids and full lashes that sweep upward. A minimal make up look is desired.

Eyes can be challenging for me to draw. Perhaps because I am right handed, the right eye is easier for me to sketch. The left never quite matches the right eye. This is, therefore, very good practice for me.

I learned that the eyes are spaced a single eye-length apart. I found that helpful tonight as I worked my way through the drawing practices. And the closer the image, the more detail is required on the face. The eyes are considered the feature to give the most depth and personality to, rather than the nose and mouth, which are kept very basic.

My first eyes…a side view and front view.

Narrowed eyes and deep eyes. Note the simplified lashes. The most attention is given to the pupils and irises.

Beginning sketch for eyes that will be colored in.

Adding details and color. You can see my challenge with eyes. They don't quite match. The right one feels natural to me as I sketch it. The left feels awkward to draw. It would help if I was ambidextrous! I could simply switch the pencil to my left hand to draw the left eye. I made adjustments to my colored drawing and evened up the eyes a bit.

Although the fashion figures I will be drawing will focus on the outfits more than the facial features, I welcomed this opportunity to practice on the eyes. There are lessons coming up on drawing noses and mouths, hands, feet and hair, but the eyes called out to me tonight. I felt inspired to start there.

Why? Because the soul is glimpsed through the eyes. Intimacy starts there, with a look that sees deeply into another.

"Eyes are captivatingly beautiful. Not because of the color but because of the words they hold within them." Unknown

Communication starts there as well. The eyes can convey humor, love, sorrow, hope, joy and despair. So much of who we are can be conveyed with a glance, through eyes that are clear and full of life, or eyes that are guarded and veiled.

I intend to keep practicing on the eyes. It is important to me. As I snapped a pic of my final work, my iPhone camera, at least, recognized that there were eyes on the page. It struggled to focus on a face that was not there, putting up squares to define where the rest of the face should have been. I'll take that as encouragement!

Fashion Design in the Garden

I picked up my sketch pad and pencil this evening and moved my creative studio outdoors. The next lesson in my Fashion Design Studio book was to flesh out the stick figures I created last time, implementing what I had learned about drawing the human body.

I not only happily anticipated sketching out my first design figure, I looked forward to doing so in my beautiful backyard garden. The mild weather continues, pulling me outside. I carried my supplies to the brickio and brewed a cup of lemon balm tea while I was out there.

My cat Shy Boy thinks if I'm sitting in the garden, it is for the purpose of holding him. He grew weary of my sketching after a while and moved to lounge nearby on the fire pit. What an inspiring space to create in. I paused frequently to gaze at my herbs, grasses and flowers, and sip my tea.

Here is my progression this evening:

I started with the basic figure, striking a pose. The most challenging part of fashion sketching, for me, is going against my instincts and exaggerating the length of the torso, arms and legs. I learned long ago to draw an adult form seven heads tall. In fashion design the standard is eight or even nine. This figure is about 7 1/2 heads tall, which is an improvement for me.

Adding in details, while keeping the facial features very minimal. I laughed as I drew because as a kid, I struggled with posing arms. I usually just drew people with their arms folded behind their backs! I feel like I am getting the hang of arms and legs.

Time out for tea. I picked sprigs of lemon balm out of the garden and let them steep in very hot water. This mug with the mesh basket and lid is the perfect way to make tea for one.

The lesson tonight focused on the body not the clothes. I sketched a simple dress, using an example from the book. I was pleased with my first model.

Then the part that is always fun for me…coloring. I did the flesh tones first, using Prismacolor pencils in ginger, tan, and harvest gold, with a bit of pink on the cheeks. Using more than one color, and adding shading by imagining where the shadows would be, creates depth and a more realistic skin tone.

Clouds gathered to the west, and the falling temps drew in mosquitoes. I moved indoors to complete my lesson. I enjoyed every moment of my creative exercise, which is all part of a larger project to design a piece of clothing. I am not minding the step by step process. I am learning as I go and having fun.

The next few lessons will focus on details of the body. I'll be sketching hands and feet, faces and hair, and capturing the full body in many different poses. And then, after I am quite comfortable drawing fashion figures, I'll begin learning elements of clothing design, such as collars and bodices, pants and pleats.

It's a journey…a leisurely fashion design journey. I am loving it.

Creating a Bohemian Inspiration Board

Tonight I enjoyed returning to the process of designing a piece of clothing. I created a second inspiration board, filled with bohemian style clothes that caught my interest. This board now accompanies the classic chic one I created a week or so ago. My own design will most likely fall somewhere in between the two styles.

Although, working on this board tonight, I again realized how much I am drawn to this particular style. Bohemian is defined thus:

The clothes reflect that sense of freedom with garments that flow. Layering is another important element of the boho style along with earthy colors, fringe, tassels and long wraps and scarves. Hippie is another term for boho clothing, or gypsy style.

I used the internet to find images of boho clothes that appealed to me. After printing those pics out I arranged them on a piece of poster board.

I love the art of collage and the process of creating boards. Each new year begins with a fresh vision board containing my new word for the year, my symbol, and images and words that represent the direction I am heading.

These inspiration boards are very specific to one idea, but in the same way, they represent my thoughts and dreams and the direction I am heading.

I discovered years ago that as soon as I put these intentions out there, the Divine immediately begins to rearrange life to meet me where I am on the path, guiding me, bringing opportunities, providing continual inspiration as I journey.

This journey, designing articles of clothing that reflect my wild heart and my classic chic/bohemian lifestyle, is no different. I am casting a vision forward, and taking the action steps as inspiration comes.

I am finding joy in the journey and taking delight in the creation process, and truly that is enough. Almost. I intend to create at least one piece of clothing, or even better, one complete outfit that I can wear as an artistic expression that declares, This is who I am.

I can visualize myself wearing those boho clothes that I have created. I can see them. And that's where the creative process starts. Stay tuned.

Fashion Design Studio

It has been a very busy week. What a joy to have some quiet time late this afternoon, to dream and create and play. I returned to the creative activity I selected a couple of days ago:

Design and sketch a piece of clothing.

I am resisting the temptation to rush ahead and draw an outfit or an article of clothing. Instead, I am taking the time to learn the process of fashion design. Oh, it is simplified, compared to the classes one would take in a college course. However, I am learning from an excellent book geared toward teenage girls or young adults. It is perfect for me and part of a very enjoyable journey. I love that these words are printed on the cover of the book:

Creative girls draw.

Yes they do!

My creative studio this evening is my bedroom. My diffuser has Young Living peppermint essential oil in it, which seems to be a great mental stimulant. The setting sun is filtering through the blinds. I am barefoot and bare legged, wearing cool and comfy clothes, in deference to the heat outside. My bed with its lightweight summer linens and fluffy pillows is serving as my desk and my chair.

In such pleasant surrounding, my imagination is free to expand and take flight.

I have started at the beginning, which is always a great place to get underway, becoming comfortable with drawing fashion figures. Before I can draw a skirt or a top or a flowing wrap, I need a form to put it on. I appreciate that this book takes the time to introduce the human body as a series of shapes and connecting lines.

I have had fun tonight, sketching these simple basic figures. I learned about proportion as I drew, and how the body is divided into segments. As I practice different poses, I see how the bones give structure to the human form, how the shoulders and hips tilt in opposite directions, and how truly wonderfully we are made.

It has been very good to spend time this evening familiarizing myself with these basics. The act of drawing is searing these important details about form into my brain. My next lesson will be to flesh out the stick figures, giving them shape through the curve of muscles.

Then I will be ready to study aspects of clothing and style and design a piece.

Did you realize that the shoulders and hips don’t tilt at the same angle, ever? I had to stand up and strike some poses to see!

My next lesson…fleshing out the basic form.

I don’t know, exactly, where this journey will lead me. I hope to a finished article of clothing, that I designed, that I can wear. Beyond that, who knows? Fashion design has long been an interest of mine. I am excited to be taking action steps instead of just dreaming about it.

The Divine has noted my dreams and my actions. The morning after my post about designing a piece of clothing, one of my Facebook notifications was about a new frame I could select for my profile picture. I laughed when I saw what it was. And then tears filled my eyes. The frame makes my profile pic look like the cover of a fashion magazine.

How amazing is that? Yes, it means Facebook is tracking my posts. But more than that, it is a wink from the Divine. It is an invitation to keep playing in this creative area. It is a Divine promise to meet me on this path, if I will keep walking, and show me how far my intentions can take me.

I am willing to keep going. How could I refuse such a playful invitation? That fashion magazine cover looks good to me. I am inspired to make it a reality.

Have fun designing your own fashions with this cool book:


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Design a Piece of Clothing

When I realized recently that the style of clothing that I am drawn to falls into the Bohemian range, I thought my desire to design my own clothes would fade away. Not so. I have found my thoughts returning to tops and dresses and wraps I’d like to design and wear. As I created a new version of the “draw a creative action” game last week, I included a slip of paper with these words printed in it:

Design a Piece of Clothing
This afternoon, I felt inspired to stir up the new slips of paper and draw one from the jar. I was already thinking about sketching some clothing ideas. This, then, was a way to see if my thoughts and the flow of life were in sync. I would let myself be guided, while holding a desire in my mind. 

I was playing. And as often happens, the Divine was delighted to play as well. 

I drew out the slip of paper with the creative action of designing and sketching a piece of clothing printed on it. Unlike last year, when I played this game, I don’t feel the need to complete the action in one day, since I am not selecting a new slip of paper each day. That decision gives me the freedom to take my time with the projects…as much time as I need. 

Design a Piece of Clothing
Design a Piece of Clothing
I have therefore divided this creative activity into two sections: designing and then sketching. Tonight I focused on the design aspect by creating an inspiration board. I got the idea from one of the books I purchased earlier this year. And I love the concept. In designing my own article of clothing, it helps to know what I am drawn to and what colors and patterns appeal to me. 

This first inspiration board is a collection of pieces from the J Peterman catalog. I like the classy casual styling of his clothing. I don’t want to duplicate Peterman’s style. I want to be inspired by it. I enjoyed browsing through a stack of Owner’s Manuals, as he calls them, cutting out the pieces and words that drew me. I was delighted that several of my selections had Italian influences. 

Design a Piece of Clothing
Design a Piece of Clothing
This was an extremely fun and satisfying activity for me tonight. I intend to create a second inspiration board featuring more Bohemian style clothing, which appeals to me strongly. With  those two boards to guide me, I’ll move on to actually sketching out my own desgins. I expect my style will fall somewhere in between classic casual and boho. I can call it Boho Casual…or Classy Bohemian. 

Or perhaps I will just call the look Cindy’s Style. 

I love the Ira Glass quote at the bottom of the page in the Secrets of Fashion Drawing book. “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.”  I am ready to tell my story through the creative outlet of fashion design. 

Design a Piece of Clothing

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment

Liz Gilbert has a wonderful TED Talk about creativity, in which she compares the curiosity driven life to a hummingbird that flits from flower to flower. I love that image and I wholeheartedly embrace a life driven by curiosity.

Liz says, “The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for a instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?”

My attention has been caught recently by fashion design. Inspiration has planted ideas, fully formed, into my head. Curiosity compels me to follow this path for a bit, to see how to get from where I am, in my abilities, to actually wearing one of the designs I have imagined.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
This is what I love about living the creative life…the Divine never leaves me floundering. This new path of creativity has appeared for me to explore, by way of inspired invitation, and immediately what I need next shows up.

During my last two visits to Barnes & Noble, I’ve found beginner books on fashion design. One was even deeply discounted. I didn’t go into the bookstore looking for these books. I was browsing. One of the books caught my attention, caused me to turn my head an inch, made me pause. And Greg found the other one and led me to it, literally.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
Tonight I spent time leafing through the pages, captivated…and curious…about this wonderful new world of fashion design. The books work well together. Fashion Design Studio is full of figures to sketch designs on and lessons on drawing techniques. A part of me wants to jump right to those figures and draw, in an attempt to create the clothes that I can see in my mind.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
That will be wildly fun for me.

However, I don’t want to rush down this path. I am willing to meander, pause, respond. Looking through The Secrets of Fashion Drawing, I found pages and pages of foundational information on basic skills, technical terms, color and drawing. This is where I need to start…at the beginning, learning as I go, spending a bit of time seeing what is here for me.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
Tight away, I see how important it is to have a designer sketchbook, separate from my art sketchbook. The authors of The Secrets of Fashion Drawing wrote, “…a sketchbook is comparable to a ship’s logbook; it is the record of a creative journey where the destination is unknown, the diary of an adventure.” That is so true and perfect for me that I will be purchasing a sketchbook just for capturing design ideas, drawings and notes.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
I ended my night of learning by doing an exercise from The Secrets of Fashion Drawing, as a way to refine my eye and hone my drawing skills. The instructions were to take a garment from my closet, leaving it on the hanger, and draw it.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment

I chose a black pullover with a stand up collar, long sleeves and side pockets with white piping. One tip that I immediately found helpful was to fold my paper in half, to better create a symmetrical image.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
This was a quick, and fun, exercise. I gathered info, instructions and techniques and put them into practice.

I don’t know where this fashion design journey is going. I only know I am curious enough to take the time to find out.

Liz finishes the quote above with these words:

“For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.” 

That’s exactly what I am doing here. I’m picking up each clue, unfolding it, and seeing where it leads me next.

Drawing Exercise-From a Garment
If you would enjoy learning more about fashion design, check out these two books:

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Fashion Design

Inspiration led me to explore in an area I’ve been thinking about, but had not yet taken action in. A few weeks ago, an idea sparked, creating interest in developing a line of clothing especially geared toward women in their middle years. 

Fashion Design, Playing in a New Area of Creativity
There is a great deal of freedom that comes to women in their 50s and 60s. Often we’ve raised a family, and successfully helped them to establish lives of their own. We have grandchildren to dote on. Yet we are far from settling into sedentary lives. At this wonderful stage in the journey, we have the time to pursue our own interests again, the curiosity to develop our desire to travel and see new places, and the patience and ability to learn exciting new skills. 

I am in this age group, and I am experiencing all of these marvelous things. As a woman in my 50s, I’ve learned what I like and don’t like, fashion wise. And most importantly, I’ve learned that the person I dress to please…is me. I am envisioning clothing that is fun, playful without looking like I’ve shopped in the junior department, made from ultra comfortable and flattering materials, and is sensual more than sexy. I want to feel beautiful and feminine and at ease wearing these clothes. 

Fashion Design, Playing in a New Area of Creativity
At the library, I found two books to increase my knowledge about fashion basics. Online I located fashion design templates, intending to print out blank copies so that I could sketch my concepts on the female form. 

I left the office without doing that, and I currently don’t have a printer at home. Since one of the library books is subtitled A Guide to Sketching Stylish Fashions, I got the distinct impression that perhaps forgetting to print out templates was not an accident. It would seem I was being guided to create my own templates. 

Fashion Design, Playing in a New Area of Creativity
I have learned to not back down from a challenge. I’ve also learned to trust what is unfolding, and that if I am inspired to create something, I must possess the ability to carry the idea out. 

Grabbing my sketch book, I began with simple freehand figures, composed primarily of circles, ovals and rectangles. The more I sketched, the more fun I had, and the figures became more fluid. I believe with a bit more practice, I will be able to ink in my drawings, creating my own templates to copy. 

Fashion Design, Playing in a New Area of Creativity
This year is about being tender, and artistic. It is an invitation to offer compassion and love, to others and to myself, and to play as I discover new areas and new levels of creativity. 

Joseph Chilton Pearce wrote, “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

I so agree. And I must lose my fear of not doing something perfectly. As I create, as I play, as I focus on making robust art, I am learning and growing and getting better at what I am doing. Inspiration may challenge me with an idea or project, but it will never tease me with something that is impossible for me to accomplish. 

I am excited to see where this newest adventure leads.