Fashion illustrations need outlines, because without them drawings often look somehow undefined and unfinished. Outlines help the drawing stands out and keep viewer ‘s attention.
How to begin?
One of the worst things that can ever happen to your illustration is to have it perfectly sketched and at the moment you begin to colour it the pencil laid below smudges. Ordinary pencils smudge (if you use markers) or are visible in not a very pleasant way (if you use aquarelle). That’s why I recommend you to trace the fashion sketch using a tone that even if it smudges it will still look all right like light brown shades- you still can see the sketch while you render it, but after you’re finished there is no ugly, non-erasable grey lines below .
First to color or first to outline the sketch?
Generally speaking, it depends on the case and the media you prefer to use.
I use markers and more frequently it’s easier to lay down the fill color then to outline the shapes, compared to trying not to cross the boundaries you have set.
Except for the times you want to be really, really precise with small details for instance, I recommend you to colour the shape and to outline it later.
What colour should the outline be?
Look around you- is anything outlined in black? Black outline should be applied only to dark grey or black objects.
For any other case use a colour that is few shades darker than your fill colour. Take a piece of the same paper you use for the illustration and try on different options before applying the outline to your original image.
I miss the right colour?
Use the old trick with the greys. A light grey and a dark grey pens are “must have” for the cases you lack proper outline colour. The first goes perfectly with white, light blue and green , pink and yellow. The second one can save you when you miss purple, dark blue and green, brown shades.
Use those wisely and always try the results on a separate piece of paper before applying the colour on your illustration.
What to use when outlining white?
The best solution that I’ve come to is to use a light grey pen. It seems more natural on the paper and you don’t lose the white’s lightness as it happens when you outline it with black.