Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Category: Fashion Illustration

Understanding Gesture for Art, Figure Drawing & Fashion Illustration

I am fortunate that when I studied art in college, my figure drawing instructor relied heavily on gesture and contour drawing. My text for that class was The Natural Way to Draw. Gesture drawing is a way to feel or empathize with the subject’s attitude and movement and to subsequently capture it with quick lines.

Everything has gesture:

In gesture drawing, you are not capturing the outside of an object. You are capturing the movement, the energy, and the attitude of the object.

Provo has created some good Youtube videos that explain gesture drawing.



Provo says that exaggeration helps increase the drama.

Most fashion illustrations are highly exaggerated:

 Illustration from Pantone

Although gestures are often comprised of a few simple lines, they are not stick figures. Stick figures are stiff. They do not capture movement or attitude.

Draw the Spine First and Add Mass and Details Later


Provo begins by drawing the head first. I suggest that you begin a gesture drawing by drawing the spine first. The spine is where the movement is usually expressed. I draw the head after I draw the spine. If you place the head too soon, it will restrict the movement of the figure.


How to Draw Quick Sketch Gestures for Figure Fashion Illustration – Tutorial by Yelen Ayé

The spinal column is important in capturing the gesture of a figure’s movement and attitude. Draw the spinal cord first and build the figure around that,

Add detail in the neck area and add the suggestion of facial features. Some of Yelen’s drawings have more finished faces, but this face is very simple–just a few shapes.

Here are some of his other face drawings:


Image Credit Yelen Ayé

  Image Credit Yelen Ayé


Image Credit Yelen Ayé

Image Credit Yelen Ayé

Add a mid tone color to all of the flesh areas.


Quick Fashion Illustration Figure Sketch – Yelen Ayé

For this three quarter view fashion sketch, Yelen Ayé used the following  Copics:

copic E13 (skin tone)
copic E74 (brown)
copic E49 (dark brown)
copic YG91 (pale green)

He drew the image with an ultra fine point Sharpie pen (brown)

I own none of the rights to the images or to the video. All of these are from Youtube and the rights belong to  Yelen Ayé.

How to Draw Fashion Heads – Yelen Ayé Fashion Illustration Tutorial

This tutorial begins at Minute 7:57

Yelen Ayé is an inspired fashion illustrator, and a couple of his teaching videos are on Youtube. I have copied the steps from his video, and I have placed them on the paper so that they are easier to understand. I own none of the rights to the images or to the video. All of these are from Youtube and the rights belong to  Yelen Ayé.

Yelen draws the face with brown Sharpie Ultra Fine. The eyes are on a line that is in the middle of the head.

Beneath the hairline, the face can be divided into thirds. The Brow Line is at the bottom of the top third. The nose line is at the bottom of the second third.

The eyes are the shape of a low, flat and rounded triangle that rests on the eye ine. There is one eye’s width between the two eyes

The bottom of the lower lip is halfway between the nose line and the bottom or chin line. Draw a flattened circle for the middle of the mouth.

Draw the cheek bones. Place lines to show where the brow ridge begins to recede on the top of the brows, This is where the area will begin to fall into shade.

Make slight indentations at the temple areas.


Draw both ear tops. Then add both ear bottoms.

Draw the upper eyelid and indicate one eyelash. Draw the iris of the eye. It disappears beneath both eyelids and appears to be a circle that is flat on both the top and the bottom.


Faintly draw a line from the outer corner of both eyes This will be about where the neck falls beneath the jaw. Notice that the neck is only slightly inside where the line meets the jaw You will erase this line. Be sure that it is very light.

Add the hair

Shade with medium gray,

Add darker gray tones.




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