Friday, September 27, 2013

Sample Fashion Project: Renderings

When you've finished your thumbnail sketches, the next step is the renderings! As discussed yesterday, you should go back through and find what you think are the strongest looks and pieces, things you want to show your interviewer as a representation of your ability as a designer and your understanding of their brand. The sweet spot as far as numbers are concerned is between five and seven (That means five, six, or seven...not just six). Any less, and you haven't got a fully fleshed-out project, and any more, and it becomes an issue of your not being able to edit.

The fully rendered drawings serve a few purposes:
1. To show your designs in greater detail:
          The thumbnails were more conceptual, but now you get the chance to draw them larger and with more detail and feeling.

2. To show your drawing ability:
         The truth is, you will rarely-to-never use your drawing skills as a fashion designer. It's more important that you know how to use a computer . However, design companies like to see that you can, in fact, draw. Not only this, but if you were interviewing someone, wouldn't you want to take some time to look at pretty pictures? I would.

3. To show your styling aesthetic:
          Your fully rendered drawings are your opportunity as a designer to show how you would style your pieces into fully realized looks. This doesn't just mean the clothing. This includes accessories, hair, makeup, and footwear. As any good fashion devotee knows, one skirt can look like ten different garments when styled different ways.

Once you've chosen your looks, you'll want to decide on rendering style and presentation. I chose a simple background here, but there is a whole world of options where presentation is concerned. I will, however, warn against getting too crazy. While you may want to do a more complex background, that's not entirely necessary. You may be excellent at photoshop, but the main point here is to show you design ability where the clothing is concerned. If your background in any way detracts from your designs or drawings, you should tone it down. It's not about the background.


My preferred rendering method is outlining in black prismacolor on Graphics 360 paper and then coloring from the back with Chartpak Ad Markers. However, you may be more fond of watercolor or just straight up colored pencils. If you're really, really good at photoshop or illustrator, you can even do it that way.

It's not always necessary to have different poses, either. I think that one person who looked at this particular project actually commented that they almost liked the thumbnail drawings more than the actual renderings. It's really a matter of taste and what you feel most comfortable doing. I, for one, absolutely love the look of a watercolor drawing or painting. However, I don't feel as comfortable rendering in that medium for a job interview, so I stick with what I know best. Experimentation is for fun time. The drawing comfort zone is for getting things done.

Once you've got all your girls lined, I suggest coloring them all at once. By this, I mean you should do all the skin first, then all the hair, then all the pink, and so on. This way, all the colors will look cohesive throughout your project instead of, like the coat drawing in this one, having one that ends up streakier than the rest. I also find that if I don't do all the hair at the same time, there will be some variance in how shiny each girl's hair looks. That can be a distraction if it's too different or obvious.

When you're satisfied with your renderings, take a little time to arrange them in an order you would like them to be in a runway show. One of my professors always told me to put the your best two drawings on either end of the grouping: a really good one to start, and a really good one to finish. Sandwich the weakest one in the middle. That way, they'll hopefully forget it was a little off by the time they get to the end.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the illustrator flats. I know, I know. That's not as exciting. But, it's a big part of my life as a designer. And it's a big part of anyone's portfolio.

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