This Was My Secret Weapon

Something funny happened to me last week.

Not funny “ha ha” but funny like, “Whoa, universe.”

I had been planning on writing this email to you about how you can still be a designer even if you can’t draw.

And then, as I was cleaning out old files on my computer, I came across photos from 2010 when I was working on my own clothing brand.

I still look at those first years of entrepreneurship as one of the best times of life. But it’s crazy to think about how little I knew.

I didn’t have a fashion background.

I didn’t know anything about fabric.

And I certainly didn’t have a clue about apparel manufacturing.

As I clicked through the photos, I eventually came across my first ever sketches.

There I was, sitting at a table with a piece of paper and a pen just sketching away.

Somehow, I was able to sketch out 10 different designs that didn’t look like my mom saved them from kindergarten.

The kicker is, I couldn’t draw – I still can’t.

But the reason the sketches look good enough to fake my artistic skills is because of the tool that I’m going to share with you today.

If you have an idea for a clothing line but you can’t draw, then here is the French word I don’t want you to forget.


Say what?

According to Wikipedia, a croquis is a quick and sketchy drawing of a live model.

According to me, it’s your new best friend.

What I did when I was first starting out, that you can do now, is use these croquis as a template for sketching out designs.

Because the hardest thing about sketching clothing is portraying your designs on a human form. There are hips and shoulders and breasts and thighs… it’s nearly impossible to get those proportions right.

By using a guide, you don’t have to worry about sketching the body – you can focus on sketching the garments.

Here are the exact steps to follow:

  1. Go to Google, click on “Images” and search for croquis that represent your target market. There are female croquis, male croquis, plus-size croquis, baby croquis, kids croquis, you name it…
  2. Save as many files from Google as you want and print them out on actual paper. The darker the better.
  3. Once you have your croquis in front of you, put another piece of white paper on top of the paper with the croquis.
  4. Start sketching by tracing over the croquis. First, just practice tracing it exactly. As you get the hang of sketching each form you’ll be able to…
  5. Sketch your own designs on the croquis form, using it as a guide.

If you do this once a day for a week, I guarantee that by the end of the week your designs will look 10x better than they did at the beginning of the week.

As with anything, it takes practice. But using this tricky little tool will make it far less frustrating as you ride the learning curve.

And to make it even easier for you, I’m linking an assortment of croquis for you below. So, go wild:

Women Croquis

Men Croquis

Children Croquis

Baby Croquis

Plus-Size Croquis



P.S. If your sketches still aren’t looking the way you want them to, even with the help of the croquis, don’t worry. Any seasoned pattern or samplemaker can work with you based off of a rudimentary sketch. Or you can always take an artistic friend out for lunch in exchange for their help!