Fashion Illustration Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to practice creating quick fashion sketches. They will learn how to proportion the human body and will drawing garments in realistic ways.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the unique considerations and focuses of fashion illustration
  • Sketch the human body in proportions relevant to fashion illustration
  • Conduct quick sketches of clothing items on the human body


90-120 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.


  • Croquis


  • Slideshow of fashion illustrations and drawings
  • Sketching paper and rulers
  • Sketching pencils and colored pencils
  • Croquis templates


  • Begin class with a slideshow of fashion illustrations. While most of the illustrations should be of clothes on people, show a few of clothes by themselves, as if on a hanger or flat surface. As you go through these, ask students to discuss them.
    • How do these relate to other sketches you may have seen/completed as artists? Is the goal of a fashion sketch (a croquis) the same as any other kind of sketch?
    • Why is a sketch generally sufficient for illustrators? What is the goal of fashion illustration? Do the people in these sketches look a little unusual to you? Why do you think that is?
    • What would be the differences in sketching clothes on a person, versus on a hanger? What is the goal of each kind of sketch?

Human Figure Drawing

  • Students will be completing their own fashion illustrations, but first they must practice drawing the human form as fashion illustrators do. Draw out a sketch of the average human body, being eight heads tall. Explain that fashion illustrators actually make their figures nine heads tall, elongating the legs to make the fashions look sleeker and the model look thinner.
  • Ask students to take out a piece of sketching paper, and draw a vertical line down the center. Students will then measure their paper into eleven equal sections, marked by ten horizontal lines. Show them how to construct a sketch of a model in basic shapes, and have them follow along.
    • The second section from the top should contain an oval for a head.
    • The next two sections should contain a rectangle neck, upside-down triangle torso (with shoulders two heads wide), and oval arms.
    • The next section should contain an upside-down triangle hips, oval forearms, and the top of oval legs.
    • The next two sections should have diamond hands, as well as the rest of the leg above the knee.
    • The next two sections are ovals for the lower legs, from knee to ankle.
    • The final section is diamond-shaped feet.
  • Show students how to use this as a model for a human form, connecting the shapes with realistic curves and contours. Have them follow along.
  • Give students time to outline 5 fashion models using this method, but tell students not to draw clothes on them yet.

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