How to Draw Fashion by Computer

By Kathryn Marmon

Fashion illustrators can draw with pencils or use computer software that incorporating sophisticated tools.
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Computer software programs for fashion illustration and garment design are available in basic levels for beginners, and also in more advanced software, for the serious or experienced seamstress and designer.

For clothes designers who will be working with other professionals, fashion design software will help you improve the quality of your pattern or sketch. You can alter your drawings and add details without pencil or eraser smudges. When you are happy with the design, it can be saved as a file and sent to the manufacturer, publisher or printed for your own use.

Add color and depth to your illustration
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The Computerarts Web site offers a tutorial on fashion illustration and how to work with a photo editor. The procedure and steps should be similar to using most photo editing software. Draw your fashion illustration, using black or color pencil techniques. Scan your original illustration into a computer. You can now use a photo editing program to clean your sketch and to remove all smudges and marks.

A second sketch in the background can give texture to your illustration.
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Enhance the white areas of your sketch with the "levels" or "variations" tool. Available in most photo editors, this tool lets you select a lighter or darker version of your image. Use this tool to adjust your image and brighten the whites. Be sure you have scanned your sketch at the appropriate DPI (dots per inch) for reproduction. Your publisher can advise you regarding the required print quality, but 300 DPI is the standard.

Adding color to your sketch is the next step. Computerarts suggests creating a new layer and filling it with a selected color from the editor's palette. Select your new color using an "eyedropper" tool, a common name in several editors, and drop it into your background using a "paint bucket" or a similar tool. The color will be translucent, allowing your illustration to show in the background.

Fill the objects of your drawing with color beginning with the central figure. Select the main person or object and turn blacks to white and whites to black by using one of the program's drop-down menus and selecting the invert option.

Again, select a color with the "eyedropper" and fill in the figure using the "paint bucket" tool.

This step adds depth to an illustration.

Finally, create additional interest in your sketch by adding such design elements as letters, other background images, makeup on people and highlights on clothing and figures. Other computer software available fashion for design projects will show your garment on a 3D figure that you can rotate. Make a pattern with the help of software like BrowZWear's 3-D V-Stitcher to specific measurements and send it along with your illustration to the manufacturer, or print it to make the garment yourself.