If you’re working in the fashion industry or want to become a freelance fashion designer, you need to be familiar with “fashion croquis” and how they’re used. Because a fashion croquis is key to visualizing your designs before they come to life.
In this article, I’ll be talking about what a fashion croquis is, how it’s used in the fashion industry, and provide practical guidance on how to draw fashion sketches using using software like Adobe Illustrator.
And as a bonus? I have free downloadable fashion croquis templates for babies, children’s, women’s, and men’s that you can use for practice or on real projects!
Let’s get started!
Fashion croquis – the term sounds sooo fancy! But basically it’s just a sketch of a blank figure that you use as a base for fashion designing. It’s like a template that you can draw your designs on and visualize ideas.
Croquis are practical tools that designers use to bring their ideas to life and represent their clothing designs. They come in all shapes and forms; there are ones for babies, toddlers, kids, women, and men. They are also offered in different sizes such as petite, plus size, maternity, etc., so you can design for any body type and need.
There are two types of fashion croquis widely used in the industry; the Creative Fashion Illustration Croquis and the Technical Flats Croquis.
The Creative Fashion Illustration Croquis is known for its artistic and expressive nature. It usually follows the 8, 9, or 10 head figure proportions, allowing for elongated and stylized body shapes. Visualizing design ideas and concepts is an integral part of the fashion design process, and fashion designers frequently begin by sketching their ideas on croquis
This type of croquis is often used by couture fashion designers or in-house designers in communicating fashion ideas. It provides a more artistic and conceptual representation of designs, focusing on capturing the feel, vibe, and flow of the garment.
Creative fashion illustrations emphasize visual impact and aesthetic appeal, making it suitable for presenting design ideas to clients, showcasing runway collections, or creating fashion sketches for promotional purposes such as social media posts and illustrated magazine covers.
Technical Flats Croquis are used as practical guides for accurate production. Technical Flats Croquis prioritize precision and provide realistic representations of garment proportions and fit. The blank body usually has guidelines to help illustrate construction details, such as seams, darts, pleats, and closures.
These croquis are commonly used to create technical fashion flats for line sheets, tech packs, and production specifications to facilitate effective communication among designers, manufacturers, and everyone involved in the product development process.
Creative Fashion Illustration Croquis (Left); Technical Flats Croquis (Right)
While both creative fashion illustration croquis and technical flats croquis have their place in the fashion industry, the choice between them depends on the specific purpose and context of the design.
For this article, I’m going to focus more on the significance and use of Technical Flats Croquis in the design and production process. That’s because they’re more commonly used in the industry for development (vs creative fashion illustration croquis which are used more for artistic expression).
Let’s take a closer look at each of these uses.
In the fashion design process, artists frequently begin by sketching their ideas on croquis. These initial fashion design sketches serve as a fundamental tool for visualizing, developing, and communicating their design ideas.
By sketching garments on croquis, designers can experiment with different silhouettes, style lines, cuts, and fabrics to see how they might look on an actual body. It’s like playing dress-up with 2d paper dolls!
Designers can use fashion illustrations to create a cohesive vision for their collections, ensuring that the overall aesthetic, theme, and style are consistent.
Fashion illustrations are invaluable when presenting design concepts to other people involved in the design process. By showcasing designs on croquis, designers can effectively communicate their vision and give viewers a better understanding of what each piece will look like.
Croquis serve as the foundation for creating flat sketches, which are the foundation of line sheets and tech packs. Fashion designers rely on croquis to develop detailed flat sketches that highlight the intricate design details and construction of each garment.
When it comes to technical flats illustration, fashion designers often choose Adobe Illustrator for creating fashion design sketches because of its efficiency. (It’s also the most commonly used drawing software in the fashion industry.)
Here is a quick guide on how to create sketches on fashion croquis:
Select the appropriate pose from your croquis library: Select the pose and view/s that best suit your design. Consider the details you need to showcase to communicate the design effectively.
For example, if the garment has dolman sleeves, it would make sense to pick a croquis pose with one or both arms stretched out. If you’re designing pants with cutouts on the side, it would be vital to add in a side view sketch in there.
Create layers (if you’re using a software like Procreate, or AI): Organize your work by creating separate layers for each piece of clothing you want to design. This will help you stay organized and make the process more efficient in case you need to make changes later on.
Start sketching: Using the Pencil tool or Pen tool, trace over the shape of your garment on a layer above your croquis image. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test out different techniques to enhance your illustration and create accurate and polished fashion drawings.
Add details: Make your fashion design sketches more accurate by adding style lines, seams, darts, or pleats using lines or shapes. Ensure these details have their own layer, making it easier to edit them later on. Use varying line width, color, and style to differentiate each design details from each other (for example, solid lines for the outside shape, broken lines for stitches).
You can also use create fashion design sketches using other software such as Procreate, or directly draw on your croquis by hand, either on paper or on a drawing tablet.
Getting started: If you’re new to Illustrator, I have a free beginner’s series just for the fashion industry!
Maintaining a collection of Technical Flats Croquis templates saves time and provides consistency in your fashion design process, especially when creating line sheets and tech packs. Some fashion brands might provide them in-house but for freelance fashion designers who work with multiple clients, this is such a life saver! (Download my free fashion croquis templates below!)
Customizing croquis to suit your design needs is an important step to ensure accurate representation of your clothing designs. This enables you to match specific garment styles, proportions, and measurements required for your designs.
Familiarize yourself with the standard symbols and annotations used in Technical Flats to effectively communicate garment construction details.
Find the right balance between expressing your creativity and ensuring accuracy in your fashion illustrations, so your design ideas are effectively communicated and manufactured correctly.
(When I first started in fashion, I got carried away and included unnecessary “accent” or “shadow” lines in my flats. I got a lot of questions from the factory to ask if they were stitch lines. Some of these unnecessary lines still exist in my older YouTube videos, so be mindful. Yikes!)
Creating your own unique croquis can be a fun experience that allows you to add a personal touch to your designs and hone your drawing skills. But not everyone has the time for that. That’s why I’m giving you my croquis library!
My free Fashion Croquis Templates include a range of body types, genders, and age groups, so you can design for any audience.
You can load the Adobe Illustrator files directly into the software and draw digitally, or use the printable PDF to sketch by hand.
Here’s what my free fashion croquis library includes (in both .AI and .pdf file formats!):
I also encourage you to explore other resources available online. There are loads of tools available online like the Prêt-à-Template App, a mobile/tablet app that offers a range of croquis templates.
If you’re looking for more options, you can also get paid downloadable fashion croquis templates available on platforms like Etsy or from independent artists. You might just find one that suits your aesthetic and needs!
Whether you choose to draw on croquis by hand or use software like Adobe Illustrator, getting comfy working with croquis is a great way to bring your creative vision to life.
By understanding the different types of croquis, their purposes, and how to make the most out of them, you can draw your designs much more quickly in the right proportions.