Every now and then, you will have to make something in your drawing that you just don’t know how to make. You just don’t know enough about it to be comfortable or confident enough to draw, at least without a lot of help.
For me, that something is a blouse.
As a guy who wears men’s clothing, I never really paid attention to blouses. I have always been very unfamiliar with them and naive about them. At least I was, until having to research for this article!
As I think back to my experiences with drawing women, I usually practiced drawing them with simple clothing like a t-shirt. Why wouldn’t I? T-shirts are much more familiar to me. That said, I am sure I have drawn a few women in blouses, sometimes without even realizing what exactly I am doing.
So how do you draw a blouse when you don’t know anything about blouses? The same way you draw any unfamiliar subject. You learn about it, see examples of different kinds, and get reference photographs to help you. That is exactly what we will do in this article.
In order to draw a blouse, it is helpful to first understand just exactly what a blouse is. Although similar to a shirt, a blouse is characterized as being a loose and often baggie upper garment. The word “blouse” can also be a verb meaning “to hang loosely” when referring to a sleeve, for example. A blouse is considered a garment for a woman or girl, although in many many years past blouses were also commonly worn by men who were peasants, workers, and even artists!
The varying styles of blouses are endless. I mean, seriously, look at all the different styles of blouses present in this one shop alone!
Therefore, it can be difficult to generalize blouses as mostly looking the same and drawing them in a similar fashion every time. Since the styles can be so vastly differing, the parts of a blouse vary greatly from one blouse to another. The parts of a blouse all depend on the style of the blouse.
If we had to identify what all blouses have in common, the similarities would be very basic and limited. A blouse is similar to a shirt. All blouses have an opening for the neck. All blouses have an opening for the arms to go through. Blouses are loose-fitting.
That is pretty much where the similarities end. Blouses can be equipped with a collar or without a collar. They can have ruffles or no ruffles. Blouses can be plain or patterned. A blouse can have a bow or no bow. Most have sleeves that can be long or short, but there are some that are sleeveless. Blouses can be made out of countless types of materials. Some are one piece in the front and others must be fastened with buttons or even tied together.
This graphic can help you visualize a few basic styles of blouses. It might also help you get started drawing or sketching a blouse on a woman if you do not have a better frame of reference.
How to Draw a Blouse on a Woman
Now that we are more familiar with blouses, let’s try drawing a blouse on a woman. We will still use a reference photograph in the following example to make things even easier.
You will also see that I tend to use a top-down approach to drawing blouses, just as I do with other shirts. This approach begins by drawing the neckline, working down toward the bottom part of the blouse, and finishing up with the sleeves.
The blouse I chose for this tutorial has loose-fitting long sleeves, a collar, and a big bow.
First you need a place to start, so most often it makes sense to begin drawing a blouse after you have already drawn the head and neck of the woman. Since the focus of this tutorial is on how to draw a blouse, I am going to just stick with a basic outline for everything above the neckline. Make sure there is enough space on your paper below the neck to draw as much of the blouse as you intend to draw.
This particular blouse has a collar, so that is the next step. Pay attention to the angle and width of each side. The bow will partially cover the corners of the collar, so draw the corners lightly or just don’t connect them.
Now it is time to begin working on the bow. Just like blouses are unique, the bows that accompany many of them are just as unique. Pay attention to the characteristics of the bow in your drawing.
For our example, we will draw the bow in three parts. Sketch the basic shape of this first part. Don’t forget to overlap the corner of the collar. Add some fold lines that run the length of it and around where it curves.
Next, draw the long part of the bow. Note where certain parts overlap other parts. Sketch in details. Also, keep in mind that the length of this bow is nearly the length of the torso, so keep in mind proper head to torso proportions for a woman.
Finish the top of the bow on the other side. Try to replicate the lines that indicate folds and creases.
The next step is to draw the blouse below the bow and where it is fastened together. There is one button visible. Again, plan for where the waistline should be and check to see that the distance from the neckline to here is not too long or too short.
From here you can connect to the waistline to complete the outline of the blouse, minus the sleeves. Look closely at the stance of the subject. She is leaning back slightly with the lower torso slightly protruded.
Also remember throughout the following steps that a blouse is loose-fitting, so allow the outline some freedom to be loose, wiggly, and a bit baggy.
From those seams at the top are some prominent folds. They look like they were made intentionally during the manufacturing of the blouse to contribute to the baggy appearance and intended style. Sketch these slightly y-shaped folds so this important characteristic is not absent from your blouse drawing.
Look at the reference photograph as you try to mimic the rest of the folds that run the length of the blouse…
…and repeat on the other side.
Now the only thing left is to draw the sleeves. Draw the loose folds that drop from the shoulder and extend to the bend of the arm.
Then continue drawing the bottom of sleeve. Notice the subtle spiral folds that wrap around the forearm. Also notice the loose bulkiness of the sleeve of the blouse from the top and around the wrist.
Finish by repeating with what you can see of the other arm and you are done!
You can apply a similar progression of the same steps from this tutorial to drawing other blouses. Just pay attention to the unique characteristics of the blouse you are drawing and make adjustments as needed.
Drawing Blouses from Now On
So remember that even if you know nothing about blouses, drawing a blouse on a woman does not have to be difficult. Like anything that is unfamiliar to you, all you need to do is build your familiarity by looking at different examples, identify the characteristics of the blouse you have to draw, and use reference photographs as you need them. You might not become an expert on blouses, but at least you will no longer “know nothing” about them, and they will be much easier and less intimidating to draw!