It doesn't matter if you don't draw well
© photo by Charlotte Abramow
During my first year of art school, I hated live drawing classes (4 hours every Friday mornings) because I felt like I was not drawing well enough.
I had friends who came from expensive private schools before arriving to this first year in Duperré where they had learned to draw as if they were going to be illustrators. Some of them had also a natural talent that I didn't have. My drawings were alright but not very interesting. At the end of the class, our teacher would ask us to put our drawings on the floor and to look at each other's work. Sometimes she would comment and congratulate some of us - the same ones each Friday.
Then I did my BA in Fashion Design and I learned that I didn't really need to draw real bodies anymore because fashion designers don't really care much about real bodies. It felt good because I started to find my drawing style but I also knew I wanted to do costumes and designing clothes for models was frustrating.
When I started my MA in costume design at the national school ENSATT we were all coming from different backgrounds (we were 6 in my class). Because my teachers were real costume designers, I learned that there was not a right or wrong way to communicate our design. Some of my teachers didn't even draw their own designs, they would hire illustrators to do so. It felt liberating to realize that our abilities as future designers didn't depend on our drawing skills. I started to not care about my drawings anymore and decided that I would reproduce real bodies from photos that would look like the actors (or the actual actor's photo if I had one) I was designing costumes for and then draw the costumes on top. I stopped wasting time trying to achieve the perfect sketches and instead focus on trying as many designs as possible as well as perfecting costume details like seams, folds, pleats, texture, prints....
Today I still combine this way of sketching costumes with mood boards in order to communicate my designs and inspirations. I don't draw very often and I think I should start drawing more often again although I'm still not a fan of live drawing classes because models are naked so it's boring lol. I though about drawing while commuting or in the street but I don't feel confident enough for people to look over my shoulder.
Here are some of my drawings for theatre and opera projects I did couple years ago. I found them at my parents' ex-house recently when I had to empty my room. As you can see, I kept the original tracing papers.
Let me know your process when you start sketching designs and what techniques you use. Sometimes it changes depending on the project so I'm always very curious about the "behind the desk" of other designers' work.