Fashion illustrations markers technique 1200

Learn how to apply the techniques of fashion illustration using Copic Markers, with the support of professional Holly Nichols.

How to Use Copic Markers in Fashion Design

Materials Used:

Copic Markers

  • Smooth Bristol Paper
  • 2H Pencil
  • Black Colored Pencil
  • Water
  • Small detail brush
  • Copic Sketch Markers: E00, E11, B39, R00, R11, E70, E71, RV95, E47, E49
  • Copic Multiliners (Black) 0.03, 0.3
  • Copic Opaque White Paint

Step 1: Light pencil sketch

Pencil Sketch Women

I start all my figures with a very light pencil sketch so it doesn't smudge the graphite when I apply color. I have used a 2H pencil here to sketch the figure as well as my ideas for the garment design. This step takes a lot of sketching and erasing while I work out all my ideas. The vision of this design was a draped gown with a sheer embellished robe.

Step 2: The skin

Skin Tone Sketch | Copic markers

I sketch the skin with a layer of E00. After the first layer is applied, I create shadows (in most of my sketches, my source of light is coming from the right, so shadows are seen on the left) with another layer of E00. To add a little more depth, I apply a bit of E11 over the existing shadows.

Step 3: The gown 

Draped Gown Sketch | Copic

To sketch the draped gown, I apply a flat layer of B39 with the chisel edge of the marker, which I find easier to use when covering a large area. Similar to the way I created shadows with the skin, I reapply a second layer of B39 to create more depth.

Step 4: The robe

Drawing Transparent Material | Copic

I begin with the color for the robe. I apply a first layer of R00 with the brush tip. My strokes are light but long. At this stage, I try to keep the application gentle and move my hand as if I am "feathering" with the marker. This light application helps give the illusion of transparent material.

Blend Colors | Copic

Step 5: Darken the folds

I add R11 to darken the areas where the fabric folds or creases. I want to keep the majority of the robe the lighter shade, but I add shadows at the edges and where the fabric turns. After I have applied R11, I apply E70 right over it. Again, I am keeping consistent with the "feathering" motion. (Side note: It may be helpful to practice this motion on a piece of scrap paper before trying it on the actual drawing. After a while, your hand will become used to making this motion).

Robe Illustration | Copic Markers

Over the first two shadow colors on the robe, I will apply E71 sparingly to certain areas. The areas I have added E71 include the edges, creases, and a bit in the gap behind her legs where the robe falls behind her.

Adding Texture | Copic

Step 6: Embellishments

Now comes what I consider the fun part, where I begin all the embellishments. In this step, I have used the brush tip of E71 to apply a stylized floral pattern. The flowers are meant to lift off the sheer fabric. I want them to look as if they have fallen on the garment, so most of the volume of the floral pattern will fall at the bottom, but I have left some trickling up toward the top.

Stylized Floral Embellishment Illustration | Copic Markers

To indicate that the fabric is sheer over the top of the figure (where it falls over the blue dress) I will apply Copic Opaque White mixed with water with a small round brush. I have used about 3 parts water and one part paint. Just at the edge of the sheer fabric, I have drawn a very thin line of just the opaque paint (without water mixed in).

Sheer Fabric Illustration | Copic Markers

Step 7: Opaque white

While the paint is drying, I will return to the floral embellishing. I apply RV95 over what I already have to add a deeper value (this will be important in later steps, when I add opaque white over the floral embellishments. The darker the background, the better the opaque white stands out). After I apply the RV95, I apply a very small amount of B39 over the flowers and have it act as their outline. It is important not to use too much, because the robe should not look weighed down.

Opaque White Floral Embellishments | Copic

Step 8: The hair

I have applied E47 to her hair. I use the brush tip almost always when doing hair. Again, I use my feathering motion technique.

Coloring Hair | Copic Markers

I apply E49 to the roots of the hair and toward her neck to create a shadow. In this step I have also added more shadows to her skin, using another layer of E11 and also introducing E13.

Illustrating Realistic Hair | Copic Markers

Step 9: Final details

Apply details, such as lips with the brush tip of RV95, more shadows to the robe using E71, and give her shoes using B39. Notice that I am pulling a lot of the colors I have already used into these details.

Fashion illustration | Copic Markers

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