In my first post of this series, I discussed the problems with typical fashion croquis.

In this post, I’m giving you a review of fashion sketch books – drawing pads filled with printed croquis. If you’re not a skilled figure illustrator, these pads can give you a jump start into designing your creations.

I have tried almost all of the fashion sketchbooks out there. Here’s my take on them.









The Fashion Sketchpad, The PANTONE Fashion Sketchpad, and the The Pocket Fashion Sketchpad: are part of the same line, and they all feature the same style of croquis. These croquis are the elongated, alien-like creatures that I mentioned in the first post of this series. The good: Paper quality is excellent – that is a pet peeve of mine and this stock holds colored pencil nicely. The resource materials are fairly extensive. The covers are sturdy; the ring binding allows you to open the sketchbook flat. The pocket version is a good size to slip in larger purses. The bad: I just really can’t stand how elongated those croquis are. It really does mess up proportions most designs. Good for: high fashion croqui illustration, if you don’t mind the extreme elongation.


Essentials Fashion Sketchbook: no picture of the outside cover on this one. Why? It’s just a plan black vinyl/leatherette cover. This is also a purse size book.  The croquis are printed in light blue, which means their lines will definitely disappear when being copied on a black-and-white copier. There is a brief reference in the beginning, not as extensive as The Fashion Sketchpad series. Croquis are extremely slender (easy to “pad” them, though, since the ink is so light) but only about 8 heads tall. Legs are extremely elongated and body is short, but, again, you can make adjustments and it’s unlikely the original lines will show very much. The good: Decent paper quality, fairly thick stock. Easy to adjust croqi “dress size” since they are printed in faint blue. Sturdy cover . The bad: While not as elongated as the Fashion Sketchpad series, the croquis are still extremely distorted proportionately between torso and legs. Good for: versatile sketchbook for on the go, as long as you can work with these croquis.


The Fashionary Series: I haven’t actually tried these sketchpads (you can purchase their general women’s sketchpad, Fashionary Womens A5, but one nice thing about this series is that they do have different kinds of pads, from menswear to children’s wear to shoes). Fashionary offers a sample page to download at their site. And previewing the download is what convinced me to NOT order one of these books. The croquis are outlined with blotchy red dots (the other books use fine lines of grey or light blue). There seem to be good reference materials included with these sketchpads, but personally, the blotchy red dots made the decision for me.



Cashmerette Curvy Fashion Sketchbook and Cashmerette Curvy Sketchbook: The new girl on the block comes from popular curvy sewing blogger Jenny Rushmore (who is beautiful in just about any garment she features on her site!), and it’s a step towards realistic croqui proportions.  It goes a little too far for my taste, featuring a croqui (which you see on the cover above) that seems to be fairly short (maybe 6 heads tall?), with little distance between the bust and the waist, long between the waist and the bottom of the torso, and short legs (Jenny will, however, for a fee, create a custom sketchbook for you). In addition, the paper stock was disappointing.  I couldn’t put down a consistent area of color with my nice Prismacolor Pencils.  The covers are fairly light weight, which causes me concern as to their longetivity. The good: the first curvy sketchbook on the market, and the custom option is really nice. Since these pads were designed with a home sewist perspective, the pages are project oriented, with room for notes and other information (the larger Curvy Sketchbook includes a space for a fabric swatch and more information). The bad: I would have liked to have seen more figure variety, or at least a figure closer to medium/medium-tall height. Also, the books have fairly flimsy covers, which leads to two potential problems – 1) it may be difficult to sketch if you’re not sitting the pad on a flat surface, and 2) the purse-size Cashmerette Curvy Fashion Sketchbook could have issues with wear and tear from riding around in your purse.Good for: Trying out your designs on a petite curvy figure – that’s how I’ll be using them!


And coming soon…


Gertie’s New Fashion Sketchbook: hasn’t been released as of this publish date, but I’m looking forward to Gertie’s take on fashion drawing figures. From the released photos of pages in the book, it appears that it will contain some of the same type of reference material seen in some of the other sketchbooks, with a focus on vintage styling. The figures are adaptable to more slender or curvy shapes, which is an interesting feature, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that works.