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Section 2: Computer Design/Illustration

Hi everyone!

Hope you enjoyed the last post and got a few useful pieces out of it. As a reminder, this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide, but merely an introduction to what usually is an 11-week class at my alma mater (at least from 2004-2007).

In conjunction with fashion sketching, this next segment focuses on the computer design aspect of fashion illustration.

 Computer design board of mine from 2013.

This is personally my favorite way to do design work and to get a quick idea of where I should place colors, how something might look finished, etc. These are also very good ways to present your work whether online or to a potential customer.

For computer design you will need the following things:
  • Scanner
  • Micron pens
  • Photoshop or similar editing software

If you don't have a scanner, you can go to a FedEx/Kinkos and use their scanner/copiers which is what I used to do before I had a scanner or a printer! (Poor college student solutions, y'all.)

First, scan your flats or croquis sketches into your computer at 300 dpi. You will want to Micron all the edges first and then erase the pencil on them. Make sure all your lines touch another line otherwise you will run into minor coloring problems later (I'll explain.)

 I usually have a seperate folder for each collection and folders inside that collection folder of flats and croquis.


 2 things -

After opening selected items I am editing, I typically will use the magic wand. Hit select----> inverse. Edit, copy, edit paste into your new board.

Shown above is my new board. I like to use 11 X 17 on my design boards and definitely make sure you use a 300 dpi!

Now is a good time to clean up around your flats or croquis. I tend to make notes around all of my flats, so this is why I have to clean it up. I also don't usually adjust the size of either flats nor croquis, but go ahead and do what's best for you!

Now you can go ahead and fill colors! I use the paint bucket for this step.

Some notes: Technically, in fashion design school with a flats board you will be taught to draw one half of your image in Illustrator, then mirror the image and connect them both to create one flat garment. I am doing essentially a quick and dirty method because I just want to quickly see what a garment might look like and post up my images on the internet somewhere just for concepting purposes or to show someone else. 

Also of note - the top on the right was adjusted going into Image----> adjustements ----> threshold and made a tad bit more clear. I don't typically do this, but the option is there for those of you that want to adjust the way your sketches appear.

People make beautiful flats boards and this is an example of what a true flats board should look like, done in Illustrator. 



Now this is the fun part. How do I get my patterns onto a garment in Photoshop?!

First, open your pattern in Photoshop. Ideally, this would be the true, seamless repeat but it's ok if it isn't if you're just looking to get an idea of how it will look on a garment.

Hit "select all" on your pattern then go to edit ----> define pattern. 

 A box will then pop up asking you to name the pattern. 



 Take a look at the upper left hand corner and you will see your pattern that you defined in the swatches box. From here, you can select the pattern you want to use on your garment. After that, you can use the bucket to fill in the areas that will have a pattern on it.


 As you can see, because the red/white pattern I have here is not the full repeat, it doesn't quite match up. However, this can still get your idea across.

I've gone ahead and used my self-designed Victrola repeat on here just to show you what a seamless repeat will fill like.


  Now, in all actuality, I would scale down the Victrola repeat to get a closer idea of how it will look on the garment. You can do this by opening your repeat and going into image----> canvas size and scaling the repeat down. Save this one as another file, don't save over your original!

You will then want to go back in and define the pattern again with the new size settings, then fill away!

I did this when I was getting an idea of the print on my vintage romper, although I did something slightly wrong because it shouldn't have the white line in there on the repeat. It was a quick look, so I didn't bother adjusting.


After filling your garments, I like to go in and shade a little bit to make the garments look less "flat".

Go into the dodge/burn tool on your left side tool panel. Burn will make the edges darker and dodge will lighten up whatever you swipe your brush over. Make sure you select each layer you're working on before doing this, otherwise you won't see any changes.

You can see a bit of shading with the dodge/burn tools here. Play with the size of brush you use as well as the opacity on it to get the effects you want.

After all that, go ahead and play with how you're arranging your flats or croquis! This is what my finished board ended up looking like.
I actually don't know why this looks so pixelated since it says it's a 300 dpi on my Photoshop. I may have had to re-download it from the internet somehow when my last computer died a few years back, but hey.

When saving your work, you will want to save 2 versions - a flattened and a working layers version. The working layers version will be in .PSD format and will allow you to make edits still. It will also be a larger file. 

The second one (go into layers---> flatten image) with the flattened image lends itself to be saved better as a JPEG. This is also a smaller file. Once you save something as a flattened image, there is no going back which is why I advise saving both working layers and a flattened image.

Below is my "Inspiration Board" for this mini-collection. This type of board is optional, but I tend to make one in order to understand which hues I will be using. I usually place images, prints, or even fabrics that I might use in the collection or just use photos that give me a general feeling I want the collection to convey.

I'll be going more in-depth about collection-planning in a later post and how to make a more cohesive collection.



So that's mostly it!

Have fun, play around, and feel free to develop your own techniques. My process isn't a be-all-end all, but it's an insight into one way of doing it.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will get back to you!


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