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How to Add Color, Texture & Shadows to a Fashion Sketch

Learn how to add color, texture, and shadows to a fashion sketch from fashion designer Garo Sparo in this Howcast video.


This is how you indicate color, texture and pattern. I prefer to use colored pencils, they're great because you can get all sorts of harder lines and what not, and then you can smudge it all over the place to give yourself more depth and shadow.

So I’m going to go with these three colors, different shades of blue for this dress, and just start of really, really light. I’m going to connect my colors across giving a beautiful butterfly inspired design. And I’m going to go in with another color.

And this particular dress is going to be made out of a very smooth mesh, so the texture itself that I’m trying to accomplish here is something that is just smooth, and just not too textured. So that’s a challenge in itself but it seems like it’s working out for me.

After you’ve done all of your light shading, I think I’m going to leave some panels of white in there, which will look cool. Now you go back in and you do harder lines wherever you think there should be a shadow. And usually if you’re doing a dead on sketch, somebody that is facing dead on to you, all the shadows are going to be on the sides of their body, et cetera, et cetera.

You can create a source of light if you want, but pretty much it’s like looking in the mirror, and take a look at yourself and where the shadows fall on your body. Don’t worry about these hard lines that you’re making because you go in later with your smudge stick, which is a wonderful thing, everyone should have a smudge stick, and blend all of this together. And you want to kind of like, anything that's falling to the back of your design, you want to give it a little bit more color, because that’s just saying it’s in the back and it’s shadowing it more. So I think I’m going to keep that white in there.

So now I’m going to go in with my smudge stick handy dandy, and now you want to blend. You don’t want to mix your colors, so if you get too much of a blue in one corner of your smudge stick, you can chop it off, you can do all kinds of things. But I’m just going to rotate it and do it with a purple with that, which I got to do a little bit more purple shading here. I’m losing my shading.

And now as the final step, just to indicate that this is mesh, I’m going to go over certain sections of the garment and just kind of create a meshy pattern. You don’t have to cover the entire thing, it’s just to get a notion of what is the fabric choice. I’m doing it on the white sections because it will show up the best.

And that’s how you indicate color, shadow and texture.

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