There are many techniques of how to draw shadows for the skin of the fashion sketches. This is my preferred method, because it is quick and easy to do and the final result is a very nice mix between realistic looking skin and the manner that fashion sketches need to be done- not too overworked. Enjoy this how to draw skin tutorial and pick the best of it to apply to your personal style.
Step 1: Color the skin
The first thing you need to do is to fill your fashion figure with a solid skintone color. It could be brighter or darker, depending on your personal preferences. Just make sure the rendering is flat, with no gaps.
This coloring technique can be applied to almost every type of drawing media. You only need to get a skin color that you like and to follow the steps.
Tip: If you want to follow along and use the fashion template of the example illustrations click HERE to open and download it.
Step 2: Draw the face shadows
Fill the area between the eyes and the eyebrows with a darker shade of the skin color. Make the same with the space below the nose tip, the lips, cheekbones and the inner part of the ear if it is visible.
Notice the tiny shadow that is left at the side of the forehead and the very important shadow that the hair casts, because it is overlapping the face of the model.
Tip: For fashion illustrations you don’t need too dramatic shadows. Usually runway shows and magazine photo sessions are very well lightened and only the most essential shadows are kept visible.
Step 3: Face highlights
Once you are done with drawing the skin shadows it’s time to make some highlights. Take a white pencil or gauge paint and fill the areas shown. These are: the most bulged parts of the cheeks and the chin, a tiny circle of light on the tip of the nose and a dash of white on the bridge. Don’t forget the forehead area over the brows.
All the highlights should be gently blended with the skin color if they look like having very sharp boundaries. Make it look natural.
Step 4: Draw the neck shadows
The shadows underneath the head is a must. Make sure you follow more or less the form of the chin and make this shadow wide enough. Draw some shadows around the collar bones of your fashion figure- this will make her look more skinny. However, if you overwork this area it is going to look not healthy and scary. Try to find the proper balance.
Step 5: Neck highlights
Emphasize that the neck is a cylindrical shape by putting a highlight by one of its sides. Finish the collar bones and highlight the shoulders.
Tip: Close your eyes slightly and look at your drawing. Check If the main color you see is the one of the skin. If it’s not, and you still can see a lot of the shadows and highlights- you have overworked it.
Step 6: How to draw chest shadows
One of the most frequent mistakes when drawing the chest is to cast the shadow under, while shadows are actually placed on the breasts. There is still a small amount of shadow underneath, but if you want to draw them looking real the shadows should be drawn more or less like shown on the example illustration.
Darken the area of the armholes and blend it with the rest of the skin.
You can also cast delicate shadows on the torso details if you like to have them in your fashion drawings.
Step 7: Chest highlights
Draw the highlights only at their upper half of the chests. Keep the shape of the highlights rounded, curved and relatively small.
Add light to the torso details as shown.
Step 8: Shadows on the arms
Arms in fashion are not very detailed when it comes to rendering the skin. Just cast a shadow following the outline of the arm from its part closer to the body.
Tip: Try not to touch the outline with your shadow tone, but still keep the shadow very close to it. This will help you build more 3D look of your drawing. Goes the same for legs and arm.
Step 9: Highlights of the arms
Make the same as in the previous step, but with the opposite side of the arms. Make sure you have enough base color skin between the shadows and the light.
Step 10: Draw the legs shadows
Next comes drawing shadows on the legs. Look how they kind of repeat the outline of the leg, but the shadow gets a little bit thinner when reaching the knee area. Cast tiny, short shadows in the highest inner part of the tights and around the bone of the calves if you like to have it drawn.
Step 11: Legs highlights
In order to make it look realistic you need to add highlights too. Work on the inner part of the tights, the knee and a little bit on the calves. Don’t touch the outline.
Step 12: Draw shadows to the hands and feet
Hands and feet in fashion illustrations are very specific. They have very few detail. Cast shadows to the bottom part of the fingers if they are clenched or if there are fingers behind others. A little bit on the knuckles too.
As for the feet- just continue the shadows the way you made the legs.
Step13: Hands and feet highlights
Highlight slightly the opposite side of the palm and also the finger knuckles.
Continue the highlight from the legs to the feet. Make sure you are following the form, and not drawing it straight.
Now you know how an easy way how to draw the skin for your fashion sketches. Finish the coloring of your illustration and give her (or not) some clothes.