Body Positivity

How to Make Your Own DIY Croquis

I’ve been thinking about this post, and started it at least 3 times, for almost 2 years now. It was actually on my list of ideas for blog posts that I was brainstorming when thinking about starting SeamsLikeStyle. So House of Curves was nowhere even on the horizon or in anyone’s mind…. The post just never happened. I never got around to finishing typing it up or taking all the “action shots”. Well, since we’re celebrating ONE THOUSAND MEMBERS in House of Curves Hangout with our official website launch – what better time than now and what better place than here?

Before we take this journey into how to make your own croquis, you may be wondering what exactly is a croquis, anyway? Croquis is actually a type of drawing technique. It is a quick and sketchy drawing of a live model concentrating on the essential elements of the body and pose. There won’t be too much detail, in fact some don’t have anything besides an outline of the body. Some will have some shading or other markings to create more of a 3D effect to the drawing.

An example of croquis drawings from DeviantArt

In fashion, croquis are used to design on top of. In major industry the accepted proportions of the croquis is usually 9 heads tall, meaning the height of the head multiplied by 9 is the total height. There are some other generally accepted proportions: we don’t need to get into that because we like to Break the Rules around here and stray from industry accepted guidelines! That’s the whole point!

Why Would You Want To Use a Croquis?

A croquis is definitely not anywhere near a sewing essential. You don’t need it to sew. Sometimes, though, we want to be able to “see” how a pattern is going to fit us. Or we want to see if two fabrics would go together in one garment. Or we want to decide between 7 different fabric options and 3 different pattern options and it’s just too much to keep straight in your mind!

You could do a Google search for “plus size croquis” and maybe find a sketch that resembles you enough to use. But we’re creatives, damnit, and that’s not DIY enough for us! So, let’s get started with making our own personalized croquis.

First Step: Take Off All Your Clothes

No really, take off your clothes. This is the uncomfortable part. To be able to make your own croquis based on your own actual body, you’re gonna have to take a picture. You’ll need to either wear tight fitting clothes that don’t alter your shape or take your clothes off. I suggest keeping on whatever undergarments you usually wear because that is the best representation of your body under clothes. Stand in front of a solid something. You just need something to create a contrast between your body and the background. Take one or more pictures, depending on what you want to design on. Take at least one straight on, but you could do a 1/4 turn, a side profile, back view… You can stand completely straight, put a hand on a hip or bend a leg. Take multiple and decide later if you want!

Second Step: Create Your Outline

This next step is pretty simple in idea, but there’s lots of options for how to do it. I’ll give two examples: Digital and Hand. If you want to work digitally, you will load your picture into your favorite editing/drawing program, create a new layer and sketch/trace an outline of your body with a drawing tool of your choice. (I’m not going to go into detail on this. There are tons of programs out there and if you need help there’s lots of resources out there already – sorry!) If you want to work with pen and paper you’ll need to print out your picture on regular paper (it could be in color or black and white). Lay a second, blank, piece of paper over top and use a window or something to create a shadow box and trace over the outline of your body. Add as much or as little detail as you want, color in your hair, eyes or even your skin if you wish. You could even add in the foundation garments if you choose.

Third Step: Save Your Croquis!

You’re basically done. All that’s left is to save your croquis in a way that works for how you want to use it going forward. If you used a digital program for tracing, you can save it as an editable file to work within the program or as a non editable file that you can still use as a layer to draw on. You could also save it as a printable image to hand draw on. If you started out with a hand trace you have options, too. You could trace multiple times to have a bunch to use. You could make copies with a copier or scan the paper onto your computer. Once scanned you could use a drawing program to design on top of it, or you could print a new page every time you want to hand draw. You could even keep one master copy and trace it into a sketch book every time you need to design something.

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  1. This is exactly how I made my first croquis and it worked really well.

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