Drawing a Fashion Figure – Tracing Method

by Helena  - August 24, 2018

This method of figure drawing for fashion design or fashion illustration is very easy and great for beginners as well. You can make your own fashion croquis templates that you can use over and over in your illustrations. It won't take much of your time and will turn into a great practice and improve working with visual reference as well as your drawing skills.

Step 1: Find Visual Reference

If you want to use the tracing method to draw a fashion figure, you will need a clear visual reference. So the first step is to go online and find photos of models that you like. They can be runway models, more curvy or even muscular, fit models. Choose the visual reference according to the body type you prefer.

The phots should be clear, displaying all the body parts nicely and with adequate lighting. It would be the best if you could find photos of models in swimwear or lingerie so you can see the anatomy clearly and also see where the shadows and highlights will be positioned. For example, this photo below is a good reference as it represents a nice fashion pose and there is no clothes so it is easier to trace the figure.

figure drawing tracing method

Step 2: Tracing the Fashion Pose

For this method you will need a tracing paper or a light board. For beginners I would recommend a lightweight and smooth tracing paper. However, if you wish to use the markers after you have your fashion figure traced, then the semi-transparent paper is a better option.

There are a lot of different options to choose from on Amazon (affiliate link).

Make sure you do this first step right and it will make all the other steps easier. Take your reference photo, ruler and a pen. Draw a straight vertical line that goes through the center of the clavicle bone and straight down through halfway point between the ankles. 

figure drawing tracing method

Put your tracing paper over the reference photo and trace the balance line. The next step is to trace hear head. The easiest is to first draw the eye line which should be half point for the head and then you can trace more accurately. Then you can trace the clavicle which will show the angle of her shoulders.

After that you will make two circles by tracing her breasts. This is just a reference so don't worry about proportions. This will serve you to find the apex line which will be halfway through the circles. You can also add two circles where the shoulder joints are and trace the elbow joint with smaller circles. The wrists will be even smaller circles and you can trace the basic shape and size of the hand.

drawing fashion figure tracing method

Make the pelvic box by  denoting the hip joint and trace a rectangle with crotch as the bottom line. Then trace the knees and ankles with circles of the appropriate size. And you have your basic fashion figure gesture.

Step 3: Adding Anatomy Features

Take a new tracing paper and place it over your basic drawing. Trace the balance line first and then start tracing body parts roughly around the joints. Don't worry about the details, they will be fixed on the next step.

figure drawing tracing method

Step 4: Improve and Finalize

The last part involves improving and finalizing the basic fashion figure you made by tracing the reference photo. You can spend more time here adjusting the proportions to your taste or client's needs. Sometimes I make the figure more slim and other times I will make a fuller lower body. The one thing I always do is elongating the calves so the figure becomes a 9-head fashion figure instead of a regular 8-head human figure.

figure drawing tracing method

The tracing method is great for all levels. Beginners can draw without worrying about proportions and angles and experienced illustrators can use it to quickly sketch a set of new fashion poses when needed.

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