Sketch Beautiful Fashion Flats in Illustrator Tutorial {Sew Heidi}

How to Make Your Fashion Sketches in Illustrator More Beautiful

This tutorial covers 3 easy shortcuts (less than 1 minute each) to add more life, hand drawn aesthetic and beauty to your fashion flat sketches in Adobe Illustrator. You can easily add these details to your existing designs as well as start a new habit of doing this for all of your new ones.

1. Add A Hand Drawn Feel to Fashion Flats in Adobe Illustrator

Utilizing the lesser known Profile option at the bottom of the Stroke Panel, you can add more of a hand drawn feel to your style lines. First, make sure to Show Options from the drop down on your Stroke Panel (1).  Next, select the style or movement lines on your drawing (2), and from the bottom of the Stroke Panel (Window > Stroke) choose any of the various Profile options (3). I find that Width Profile 1 (4) works quite well, but others give a different look, so find the one you want and use that.

It’s a small and simple change, but your sketch will already have more of a hand drawn look to it.

2. Add Subtle Shading to your Fashion Illustrations for a 3D Look

Yeah, I know a fashion flat is a far cry from 3D, but this trick will help bring some life into your fashion sketches. I like to create small shapes where there may be some shading in real life and add those to the sketch. You can create the shapes using your favorite drawing tool, for this example I’ve used the Pencil Tool. Make sure they’re closed shapes and give them a black fill and no stroke to start (1). Next, open the Transparency Panel (Window > Transparency), set the opacity to about 20-30% (depending on how dark you want the shadows to be) and change the blending mode to Multiply (2).
When you are working on a black and white sketch, the blending mode won’t make a difference, but as soon as you add a pattern or color fill, it will automatically create a darker shade of whatever is under it.
See below how when you look up close, the blending mode of mulitply versus normal creates a much more accurate shadow.
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 5.07.56 PM

3. Add a Thick Outline to your Fashion Sketches in Illustrator

Last but not least, one of my favorite tricks utilizes the Appearance Panel to add a thick outline to the outside of the sketch. Once your illustration is done, make sure the entire sketch is grouped (Object > Group). Select the sketch and from the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance), click the drop down and choose Add New Stroke (1).
Now you’ll see this stroke in the Appearance Panel and you’ll want to increase the stroke weight quite a bit. In this example, I’ve bumped it all the way up to 7pt (2). Right away, it is not giving the effect we want, but we’re about to fix that. Grab the stroke layer that you just added, and drag it under the Contents to change the stacking order – this will apply the stroke just around the edges of the Contents (3), and not around every single object.  This one’s a bit tricky to demonstrate in writing, so if you’re lost, you can watch the video version of adding thick outlines here.

You can see this adds a quite a bit more depth to the sketch. If the stroke looks too thick once you’ve completed the above steps, you can always edit it via the Appearance Panel later.

Now, we can see how the fashion flat sketch has been transformed quite a bit by using these 3 easy tricks in Illustrator to make our designs more beautiful!

If you found these tutorials useful, you’ll love my Ultimate Guide to Adobe Illustrator for Fashion. You can snag it right here! ?


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