I’ll be using an image from the Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture Collection as inspiration for this tutorial. She is a designer that specializes in beadwork on fabrics, with tone on tone or silvery embroideries on lace and tulle and varying transparencies, making it super challenging but exciting to illustrate with markers.
Let’s begin by gathering a reference of what you are going to draw. I use my iPad to save paper and be able to zoom in for details. The use of a reference helps me illustrate the fashion figure with ease, in order to accurately render the figure’s hands and feet. I then take my Bienfang Marker Paper and lightly sketch the figure using a 2H pencil to prevent smudging. If smudging occurs, lightly dab with the kneaded eraser to clean up the sketch. Marker paper is very translucent, so make sure you place a white sheet in between the sheets so the markers don’t bleed through the page.
When using Copic markers, it is easier to go from light to dark colors so that you don’t bleed them together. Give it a quick second to dry. Skin tones are how I usually start off all my illustrations – I consider it a key factor in my work. Skin to me is multi-dimensional in color. I rarely use just one, I combine E41 Pearl White + E00 Skin White.
First, pass with the marker, filling in the general shape of all the areas of skin. Then, pass with the E41 Pearl White. Look for the shadows and start to build dimension. Skin tones markers are essential in a fashion illustrator palette. I recommend using the Copic Sketch Markers Skin Tone Set, which includes E00, E11, E13, E15, E18 for the skinand R20 to blush the model’s cheeks.
After completing the skin, I work on the stunning dress. I use Copic Pale Grey B60 as my base color. Start by outlining and, using the medium broad tip, fill the contour and sculpt the dress like it falls on the model. Apply the color of the garment lightly on the side near the light source as the actual color in the center.
When it comes to embroideries, I absolutely love using super brush tip. To get details, start with Copic Robin’s Egg Blue B02 for the darker shadows and Ice Blue B12 to stipple the embroidery details. When picking a color to use, I make sure to use a test sheet of the same marker paper to make sure I’m about to use the right shade.
Between Warm Grey No. 3 W-3, Ice Blue B12, Robin’s Egg Blue B02, and Light Grayish Cobalt B95, I continue to build the texture of the dress, once again going from lightest to darkest color. On my reference photo, the shimmering beads on the fabric appear to have multiple light sources. So, I focus on working on a few at a time so I don’t become overwhelmed by all of them.
Lastly, I finalize my favorite part of the model, the face. I start with the eyes, using Copic Holiday Blue BG05 for the iris and Copic Multiliner size 0.1, the finest point, for the pupils and the outline of the iris. I softly sketch the nose and eyelids with a mechanical pencil.
For hair, I always start with a shape combining the colors Champagne E71S + Light Walnut E57, then continue to make a couple of strands with Light Walnut E57.
I use two strokes of Flesh Pink E95 + Barley Beige E11 for the top of the lips. For finishing details, I use a Copic Multiliner. Make sure you don’t outline everything — only key areas, for better definition of the illustration.
Hope you enjoyed this fashion illustration tutorial. If you are working on fashion illustrations, please leave a link of your work on the comment section below. I would love to check out your work.
If you are in Miami June 27th, come meet me at the LMNT Gallery for Kaleidoscope, a creative group show that I will be apart of.