If you have ever wondered how to draw a woman in a dress, there are two obvious tasks you need to accomplish. First, you need to draw the figure of the woman. Then of course, you need to know the parts of the dress in order to draw that. Easy enough, right? So, why not add an extra element of challenge and draw the woman in motion?
That is what we’ll aim to do with this lesson. The video and the steps below will show you how to draw a lady in a dress, spinning around in a field of grass.
First things first. Let’s get a little more familiar with what we will be drawing.
What to Look for in the Woman and the Dress
I do not claim to be a fashion expert, and I am certainly not one to know all the characteristics and fine details of a woman’s dress without having a resource to help me. For that reason, I found this photo of a woman wearing a dress that we can use as a reference. This will help in the next step when trying to draw the woman’s figure in motion. It will help even more later on when we need to draw the twirling dress.
Before we begin drawing, let me point out just a few noteworthy things from the photo to keep in mind. Since the woman is twirling, you can notice her figure leaning back. Also, you can tell she is twisting to her right. Her torso is slightly more turned than her lower half. She is also using her left arm to bring her dress along for the spin. Since the woman is in motion, you notice her hair and the bottom part of the dress trailing along.
The dress has lace along the bodice and along the edges of the shoulder straps. There appears to be a knot in the back where pieces of the garment are tied together. The upper half of the dress is form-fitting, while the lower half is loose and free-flowing. There is a flower pattern on this dress that you can choose to draw if you want, but I left it out of this tutorial.
Ready to Draw
Hopefully you are now ready to draw along with this tutorial! You can watch the video for a summary of the steps and read more detailed steps below, along with viewing the illustrations for each step. Besides my drawing paper, the only materials I used for this were a mechanical pencil with 2B lead and a kneaded eraser. Just remember to sketch your guidelines lighter than how they appear in these images.
How to Draw the Figure of the Woman
Let’s start by seeing how to draw the woman’s figure. Begin by sketching the shapes for the head and the neck. Remember that we want her to lean back slightly, so draw the shapes at a slight tilt as opposed to an exact vertical position.
Next, sketch the shape of the body between the neck and the waist. Again, the woman is leaning back a little. Make sure to show the arch in the curvature of her back. Notice how the small of her back is in close alignment with the center of the neck?
Complete the torso by drawing the shape for the pelvic region.
Sketch the shape of the upper thigh that tapers toward the knee. Draw a round circle for the knee joint.
Complete the woman’s left leg by drawing a cylinder shape for the calf that tapers at the ankle. Then sketch a basic shape for the foot. Remember that this foot will not be flat on the ground.
Repeat a similar process for the woman’s right leg. Keep in mind that the woman is spinning. Her right leg is the leg she is pivoting on, so her foot will be flat on the ground and pointing forward from her point of view.
Now it is time to sketch guidelines for the arm. Make a round shape for the shoulder. Then sketch the rest of the upper arm and the forearm. The lady’s arm is extended straight for the most part, so there should not be a noticeable bend at the elbow. Sketch the basic shapes for the hand in such a way that it appears to be holding on to fabric.
Sketch a rough outline for long, flowing hair. Since the hair is in motion from the spin, draw it trailing behind her rather than flat against her back.
Next, sketch some guidelines that will help to place the facial features. Draw the line for the eyes about halfway between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin. Draw the other lines as shown below. Make sure that your facial guidelines are placed properly.
Use the guidelines and the reference photo to draw the eyes, eyebrows, nose, smiling mouth, and any other facial details you wish. Remember that you do not have to stick to the reference photo or my drawing exactly. You are the artist, so it’s up to you. If you wish, you can change the woman’s appearance simply by making the facial features look different from what you see here. I would still make sure she is smiling, since she conveys a happy mood by spinning around.
Sketch in the flowing sections of hair. Make a few strands flow away from the mass along the outer perimeter to make it look more natural.
For the upper arm, use your kneaded eraser to get rid of the shoulder and elbow joint guidelines. Draw lines indicating the muscle connecting the upper and lower arm.
Complete the arm by erasing the guidelines within the forearm and drawing the thumb and fingers as seen below.
Draw a few details to define the lady’s feet, including her ankles. Don’t forget to make some loose lines to represent blades of grass.
How to Draw the Dress
Now that we have drawn a woman, it is time to see, step by step, how to draw a dress for her. Begin by sketching lines for the shoulder strap and the part of the bodice of the dress under her armpit. Also sketch in where her dress is tied in the back and hanging from a knot.
Now form the skirt part of the dress. Make sure it is curved at the bottom to help with the appearance of a dress in motion.
Go back up to the top part of the dress. Draw some lace that follows the curvature of the woman’s figure and that borders the shoulder strap.
Complete the bodice of the dress by drawing a few spiral folds. Also make sure to draw the visible seams of the dress shown below with the blue arrows.
Before finishing the lower half of the dress, use your kneaded eraser to erase those guidelines we used to draw the woman’s legs. You can leave a small guideline in place to show the bend of the knee that will press against the dress.
Now let’s finish the dress off by drawing a few different folds that will make it look like an actual dress. Begin by drawing some pipe folds from the woman’s waist that lead to where she is holding the fabric between her thumb and finger.
This woman is spinning in a clockwise direction. As she spins to her right, the bottom of the dress from her left side is clashing against the part from her right side that hasn’t moved yet. Draw a few folds to represent this clash, as seen below with the green arrow. Draw the hemline along the bottom of the dress shown with the blue arrow.
Complete the dress by completing the hemline and the folds in the fabric that flow in the direction of the spin. Complete the underside of the dress (as seen on the right side of this drawing) in the same manner.
If you were following along and drawing with me while reading this, you should have something similar to the drawing below.
That concludes this tutorial on how to draw a woman in a dress! Not only that, but completing this tutorial means you were able to draw a moving woman in a dress, a bigger challenge than drawing a woman standing still. If you made it this far, congratulations!
Of course if you wanted to take it a bit further with additional details, like dress pattern and shading, that is your choice. My goal here was to just show you the basics for getting started. As you can see, it’s not all that difficult a process. If you can draw the figure of a woman and if you can draw the parts of a dress, you have all you need to draw a woman in a dress!