Modulated line


Each time I see a drawing and especially a fashion illustration I think about the followings:

- the composition is well arranged in the page? Are the visual elements centered or the composition has a center of interest?

- lines: are they thin or thick? colored or just black and white?

- anatomy: are they any problems regarding the drawing of the human body? are the proportions and the measurements of the body – good?

- the color: is it ok? is there something that bothers my eyes? maybe the juxtaposition of complementary colors or are they too many patterns used in an outfit?

These, any many others – I have to check them first. In time, this will happen in a second and you will immediately recognize the errors : if something is missing or if it is too much.

When drawing a fashion sketch you should always think about the modulated line. It is the line that helps you “colorize” the drawing, even if this one is in black and white. You should use 4 to 8B pencils in order to have a scale of many grays in your drawing.


Use soft lines there where the light comes from and darker, stronger and bolder lines in the shadow – as in my drawings below. Use lines, dots and surfaces to create patterns and structures – to make the illustration nicer. Click on the images to see them bigger.

fashion illustration ioana avram 1 fashion illustration ioana avram 2

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Fashion Watercolor tutorial for beginners

I just posted this video tutorial on Youtube: Fashion Watercolor tutorial for beginners. Hope you will like it. And here is the explanation, step by step. First of all, prepare your skin color. The skin color is made of orange-red, purple, a touch of blue, a touch of green, a little touch of white and water, as you consider it to be for your watercolor. If you want it softer, just add more water. It took me more than 40 seconds to match the colors and to combine them. You will learn to prepared the skin color by doing, and you will know when the right skin color is done. Until then, just try to match the colors until you get the result. Learn the exact intensity of the skin color and try to reproduce it and to combine those colors I mentioned, until you are satisfied.

Second, start painting the eyes. They are the most difficult part of your drawing. If the eyes are ok, there is a big chance for you to finish the drawing with great results. Start painting the eyes with the skin color and add more purple and blue and at the end, a little bit of black just to underline the shape of the eyes.

Paint with layers, start with the light shades and add more and more at the end. Go to the next level, the third: paint the lips and the nose shadow and let the eye area dry until the end, when you can add some contrast.

Fourth, add the background color and the hair. The background should help the painting to have a volume. It will help your portrait to appear closer, and sharper. The hair, you can learn how to do it in this tutorial on my Fashion teaching site.

Fifth and the last stage is to take a look at the image and add some contrast, details and improvements to your painting. Enjoy your art! Hope this helped you!

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How to add accents in fashion illustration

I will use today one illustration - remarkably done by Gary Tu, my fashion illustrator friend from Taipei. I just wanted to underline the importance of working on layers, as David Downton does. Here are some stages of this watercolor. I found Gary’s illustration and tried to de-composed it into elements. What if there is no color at all?

Well, you can add contrast and play with the following elements: either you have colors, or the contrast between black and white and color, or contrast between the shapes, between the forms, between the line strokes, pressure.

But anyhow you will need a contrast, you will need to add accents to your fashion illustration. The first image looks boring. By adding color you add contrast and you de-balance the image to one side. Then, at the last image, the weight of the image is now contra-balanced by the touch of black shapes. The lines are sometimes smooth, sometimes strong and bold. The areas of color or gray grading are either strong and bold, or fluid and transparent ( you can see the layers beneath).

Hope this helped you to understand the necessity of adding accents in any composition of fashion illustration you are working on. Do not hesitate to send me your drawings so that we can talk about them, here, on Fashion teaching.

Once again, many thanks to Gary who provided the images.

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