Fashion Design Tips to Improve Your Characters




1. Introduction to Fashion Design

We use clothing everyday for its functionality but also as a form of self expression. Clothing can change depending on our mood, what we’re doing, or how we want to be seen. This is why fashion design is an important element to creating well-rounded and believable characters. Clothing can give us a lot of information about who a character is and it can tell a story through their appearance. If you find the process of fashion design overwhelming, I have outlined some tips and steps you can take to get started!

2. Intro to Drawing Clothing

When creating a design for your character, it is good to understand the basics of how to draw clothing. By studying how clothing works you can explore many different styles with confidence. Here are some tips to get you started!


2.1 Form

Clothing may seem complicated at first but we can simplify them into their basic forms. The main forms that are commonly found in clothing are cylinders, cones, and spheres.

Cylinder: sleeves, pant legs

Cones: skirts, wide sleeves

Spheres: round puffy sleeves


By blocking out simple forms, we can create more elaborate and complex designs!

2.2 Folds

There are also common folds we can use: pipe folds, diaper fold, and zig zag folds. By using folds we can express how the fabric behaves. Is it soft and flowy or hard and rigid? Practice using these folds to create interesting shapes!

Pipe Folds happen when fabric is bunched up at the top and flows down. When drawing pipe folds, imagine pipes being placed all around the form.

Diaper Folds happen when you have two tension points and the fabric is hanging loose in the middle. The folds go back and forth in between the 2 points and spread further from each other as you go down.

Zig Zag Folds happen a lot when fabric is creased or compressed. To draw them imagine a letter Z wrapping around the form.

2.3 Movement

Clothing is also affected by our movement. Places where we move a lot like our elbows and knees are more likely to be creased if the fabric is stiff.

Stretching : folds and creases fan out from 1 point of tension.

Bending : this occurs when clothing is stretched on the outside of the bend and compressed on the inside.

Twisting : this occurs when one part of the clothing is being turned one way and the other is turning the opposite way. This creates a series of S-curves and the folds look like a spiral.


3. Building Your Design with Character Traits

Before starting a design, we must first establish who the character is and the world they live in. Different types of clothing can give off a certain impression of your character to an audience. Clothing can also be used as a symbol or to signify a character’s status in a system. Think about how fashion can reflect your character’s personality, age, occupation, interests, social class, or lifestyle. Fashion and clothing is also highly dependent on the world they live in and their environment. Climate, time period, and culture influences the way a character uses clothing. The best way to gain inspiration for your designs is to do some research and study different types of clothing and how they are used.

List of Character Traits







Social Class


Time Period



4. Shape

The shape and silhouette of clothing have a great effect on the impression of your character and can help highlight certain traits about them. Shapes have the power to influence our emotion because we associate different shapes with different meanings. There are three main shapes used in character design and they are generally associated with these themes:


Circle: soft, cute, completeness, unity, harmless

Square: strength, stable, balanced, reliable, supportive

Triangle: sharp, directional, dangerous, dynamic, unpredictable


Notice how in the 3 designs above, they are all wearing a uniform but the shape is different. By using shape in our designs we can express different impressions of the same type of clothing.


These are just general ideas about shape language but you can use shape however you want as long as it serves a purpose. You also don’t need to stick to one shape for each character. By changing it up and experimenting with different shape combinations you can create interest for your design.

4.1 Silhouette

Silhouette is also important for the overall balance of your design. If your design still looks good using simple flat shapes, it ensures that your design is readable and clear to the audience.


By designing using flat shapes and silhouettes, you can create multiple designs and improve your shape quickly.

5. Color

Color can also give us a lot of information about a character. It can reflect a character's mood, personality, and social status. It can also reflect the environment they live or their culture. Color can also be one of the most difficult parts of the design process with so many colors to choose from. Here is a step by step of how to choose color and create a palette for you design!

5.1 Hue, Saturation, Value

Hue: the dominant color family

Saturation: the intensity of the color

Value: the lightness or darkness of the color

5.2 Color Harmonies

1. Monochromatic: this palette uses one hue and mainly changes the saturation and value of the color


2. Analogous: uses 2 colors beside each other on the color wheel.


3. Complimentary: this palette uses 2 opposite colors on the color wheel.


4. Split Complimentary: to create this palette start with 1 color, then pick 2 colors opposite from it on the color wheel.

5.3 Color Tone

Color Tone

Neutral: These colors are desaturated and earthy. They usually feel safe, calm and rustic.

Pastel: These colors are created when you mix a lot of white into a color. They feel light, youthful, and happy.

Vivid: These colors are very saturated and bright. They are usually associated with outgoing personalities and gain a lot of attention.

Deep: These colors saturated and have a dark value. They are usually associated with moody and serious personalities.

5.4 Color Ratio

Color ratio refers to how much of each color you use in your design. A general rule to follow is the 60-30-10 rule where you use: 60% of your primary color, 30% of your secondary color, and 10% for accent colors. This is not a rule you always have to follow, but it’s a good place to start! By thinking about color ratio, you can ensure your design is balanced and easy to read.

6. Clip Studio Paint Tricks for Clothing

When I need to quickly create a figure for my designs, I like to use 3D models. You can find many poses under Window > Materials > Entire Body

Once you create your line art for your figure, you can quickly make copies of it using the move tool. Press (K) to select the move tool and while holding down ALT, click and drag your line layer. Copies of it will then be made on their own separate layer.

You can quickly add gradients and texture to your designs by using Clipping Layers. To create a clipping layer, add a new layer on top of your design and then select Clip to Layer Below.

Here is how I use clipping layers to add clothes patterns to my design. First open up the Clothes Pattern window under Materials.

Then drag the pattern you want onto your canvas. It will be on its own layer.

Then right click on the pattern layer and select > Rasterize Layer. Then you can select Clip to Layer Below and it will take the shape of your design underneath it.

You can also change the color by opening up the Hue/Saturation/Luminosity window by pressing CTRL-U

And finally we can add decorations and patterns using the Decoration brushes.

You can use different brushes to add a variety of effects! Here I used the lace, gold chain, and flower brushes.

Thank You!

These are all the tips I have for now. Hopefully I have helped you learn something about creating your own designs for your characters! Thank you for reaching the end of my tutorial!


You can also check out some of my work on instagram @oolenetea :)



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