Join Robin Schneider for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing a skirt, part of Illustrator for Fashion Design: Drawing Flats.
Now that we have our template place and our guides drawn, let's draw a skirt. You want to make sure that you restore your foreground and background color to Illustrator default if you changed it in order to draw your guidelines. You're going to want to make a new layer because we certainly do not want to unlock the guideline layer. As a matter of fact, I'll name this guides right now and let's make a new layer and we could start drawing the skirt. So we'll grab our Pen tool and start at the waist. I'm going to do a little bit of a lower waist so I'll start here.
The second click will be at the high hip. And the third click will be down at the hem of your skirt and I'm going to use this short one here so I can zoom in easily. I'm going to go with my Convert Anchor Point tool and curve this line. But a shortcut to get to it, while you're using the Pen tool, if you hold your Alt or Option key, the tool will automatically change to the Convert Anchor Point tool and you can just click and drag without going all the way back to the toolbar. So that's kind of a nice handy little tip. So now, I'm going to switch to the Selection tool.
Another shortcut, I can do that by holding the Ctrl or the Cmd key and it will let me access the tool I was previously using, which in this case is the Selection tool. I'll marquee select this. Click once on Reflect, Alt+click or Opt+click on the center line and make a Vertical Copy. Now I can select both pieces, right-click, Join. And if you like, we can take the Direct Selection tool and select that top line and play one more time with the Reshaping tool.
Click and drag straight down just a little bit to curve the top of the skirt. It's a new toy we might as well play with it. We're going to switch the Pen tool, change the fill to none so we have a better chance to see what we are doing. I'm going to zoom in a bit closer and now we're going to draw a zigzag line across the bottom of the skirt. It's important to make sure that you actually click on this existing anchor point so that you are continuing the line. Notice if you look at the Pen tool it has a little asterisk icon.
That means I'd be starting a new line. But when I hover over this point, it changes to a forward slash (/). That indicates that I'm going to be continuing the line that I've already drawn and that's what I want. So I'm going to click and now this is what this double line is for. The second click is down, back up to the top line, down, up, down, up and I'm going to this all the way across. They don't need to be consistent because the drapes in the skirt wouldn't be balanced and completely proportional, so I'm going to go back and forth until I get to the end and make sure, I see the circle next to the Pen tool and close my path.
Now I'm going to curve all of these with the Convert Anchor Point tool; and here is the key to this. You want to drag the handle out until it reaches the next anchor point. Whether it's the right anchor point or the left anchor point, it doesn't matter, whichever one it hits first, that's when you're going to stop dragging out the handle. So I'm going to start with all of the top anchor points that are pointing up. I'm going to click and drag. And here on my right-handle reaches an anchor point first so I'll stop there. Click and drag.
When my handle reaches the anchor point, I stop, click and drag, click and drag. This time the left one hit first. Click and drag, click and drag. Now I'm going to do same thing for the bottom row. Click and drag and if you drag in the wrong direction, just untwist, click and drag here and I'm going to work my way across like this. Now you'll notice when I drag out the bottom handles, I'm dragging them far enough so that this vertical here is almost a straight line.
It's not on any kind of an angle and that's important. That's what's going to really give you a more natural draped look. Now at this point, if you need to, you can make some changes. I'm going to grab the Direct Selection tool and if you want, this is a good place to move things around. Maybe you want a softer bit over here, not quite so harsh, and then I can drag the handles and making sure to always keep that squared off smile shape. We'll have a nice smooth curve here.
Maybe there's a lot going on over here so we'll just make that a little bit shallower. We'll pull this handle out farther so this is a nice crisp smile. Basically, this is the look that we're going for. It's going to give us a really nice drape along the hemline. I'm going to fill it with white. And very important now, I'm going to lock the layer. If I don't do that, it's going to move on me when I try to do the next step. Make a new layer and now, we can go ahead and add the fullness lines to this.
We're going to grab our Pen tool. Every place that you have one of these vertical lines, we're going to turn that smile into a cone shape. So I'm going to click, click up. And then, while I'm still holding the mouse button, I'm going to drag up a little bit reaching towards the waistband of the skirt. If I were to now go and click on the next one, look what happens. It connects the line which is not what I want. So I'm going to Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z to undo that. What I want to do now to release the Pen tool is click Enter or Return on my keyboard.
Now when I place the Pen tool again, it didn't continue the line from the previous one and I can go up and click, drag, hit Enter or Return, click, click, drag, hit Enter, making a very subtle cone shape. Here's the next one. Now I don't have a very specific edge here so I don't need to put a line there, but I'm going to put one on this side of the smile. Click, drag, Enter. This is a frown. Here's another smile, so it needs to form a cone shape, click, drag, Enter, click, click drag, Enter.
Another smile, click, click drag, Enter, click, click drag Enter. So I'm creating these very subtle cone shapes and that is what you're aiming for in order to get this nice soft drape look to your skirt. So here's the last one. And now, it's a really good idea to go back to the Selection tool, select all of them while it's an easy thing to do, by marquee selecting, and I'm going to group them together, right-click Group.
This way if I ever need to select them again, one click will get all of them and I don't need to select them all individually. Now at this point, it looks okay but we can finesse it just a little bit further by using profiles. I'm going to open the Stroke panel, go down to Profile on the bottom and change the Profile to this triangular one. I'm also going to change the line weight to .75 making it just a little bit thinner. And now when I release this, you can see I have a very nice draped skirt.
I'll go back and unlock the main body of the skirt so I can work on it now and here's where I can do some tweaking if necessary. I'm looking at it and it feels a little bit wide at the hips. So I'm going to go ahead and adjust that. And I can adjust that by deleting one side, taking the other side and nudging it in with my arrow key till I get the shape that I like. And now I can copy, paste in front and reflect this new side into place. And just to make sure everything works, I'm going to select the skirt bodice and the side I just copied, right-click, Join, right-click, Join, and now I've got my skirt.
If you want to add a waistband or yoke to the top of the skirt, you're going to do it the same way that we did the collars on the shirt. With the Direct Selection tool, you're going to select the front of the waistband, copy, paste in front, use your arrow key on the keyboard to move it down. Make sure to get rid of the fill and now I can switch to the Selection tool or black arrow, hold my Alt key and drag from the side to extend it, release the Alt key and drag from the top to move it up just a little bit to make sure the line is consistent all the way across.
Now I can select both pieces, open Pathfinder, up to the menu, Window>Pathfinder, select Pathfinder Divide, right-click, Ungroup and now I have a waistband. One last piece to the skirt, take the Direct Selection tool. Select the upper part of the waistband, copy, paste in front, right-click, Join to get the back of the waistband. With the Direct Selection tool, you can click that upper line. We can grab that Shaping tool and go ahead and give it just a little bit of a curve.
And as I mentioned earlier, we want to get rid of these little spiky things. So I'm going to select everything and make sure in my strokes that I have round caps and round joins. In that way, that stuff is all nice and pretty and we can change this to gray and that is how you draw a skirt with flare.
- What is a flat?
- Scaling, rotating, and duplicating shapes
- Simplifying and mastering the Pen tool to get you up and running quickly
- Drawing shirts with sleeves, collars, and placket details
- Drawing skirts, trousers, and jeans
- Using custom brushes to add stitching and trim quickly
- Creating and using symbols for buttons, zipper pulls, and drawstrings
- Drawing and rendering croquis with faces and hair
- Creating professional quality layouts