About

Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
20 mins

Fashion Design Workshop
Swanky yet demure, this circa 1940s swing gal rocks it every time she jitterbugs, jives, shimmies, snaps, taps, and strolls her way across the dance floor. A cosmopolitan girl, she can be seen twirling around with a well-dressed fella in a Zoot suit five nights a week. In between songs, you’ll find her in a booth sipping Shirley Temples— with two cherries.

Posted by Walter Foster Publishing Published See Walter Foster Publishing's 4 projects » © 2019 Stephanie Corfee / Walter Foster · Reproduced with permission.
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You Will Need

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 1
    Step 1

    Sketch a simple stick figure with one hip slightly raised.

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 2
    Step 2

    Rough in the joints and limbs. This pose is symmetrical and crisp, which will make the clothes look all the better.

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 3
    Step 3

    Draw a light midline and horizontal gridlines on the face. Then start roughing in the shape of the dress. This model’s hair is parted in the center with rolled waves tucked neatly in place. The flower on the belt, T-strap heels, chiffon godets in the skirt, and gathers at the bustline are perfectly in sync with this decade’s fashion.

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 4
    Step 4

    Darken the final sketch lines and erase strays. Then refine the details of the dress and shoes.

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 5
    Step 5

    This gal has a perfectly manicured brow and full lips. Start adding in more details, including center seams and gathering in the skirt insets using long, sweeping lines. Add a chunky bracelet to go along with matching stud earrings.

  • How to create a portrait. '40s Swing Fashion Illustration - Step 6
    Step 6

    With the exception of the godets, lay in the base color of the dress evenly with navy marker. Then fill in the godets with navy colored pencil, which will help indicate the sheer texture of the material. Apply red marker evenly on the belt, leaving small gaps of white to give the look of patent leather. Repeat this process on the shoes. No proper swing gal would ever mismatch her shoes and belt! Finally, use a white pencil sharpened to a crisp point to add the polka dots. Move slowly and work in even rows until the entire dress is filled. Be patient! You will love the pattern when it’s complete.

    Consult books or online photo references to get a feel for the clothes from this era. Flowing, below-the-knee skirts and fitted, seamed bodices are the hallmarks of 1940s glamour.

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