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.