Chapter 2. Footwear – Drawing Fashion Accessories

CHAPTER 2 FOOTWEAR

Perhaps the most exciting arena of fashion accessorizing comes by way of the cobbler. Shoe design and construction dates back to the beginning of feet, but in recent decades it has moved light years away from utilitarian needs to footwear theory and sculpture. There will always be an aspect of a shoe that is functional even while it expresses fantasy.

The aim of this chapter is to give you an appreciation for the art and expression of how beautiful a shod foot can be, and to arm you with the techniques to go beyond the everyday illustration and use your own personal expression.

Footwear illustration has many challenges as well as applications. A good shoe illustration can move a practical pump to a level of powerful seduction through the medium of designer sketches, industry technical drawings, and illustrations for retail sales and couture clients. The purpose of this chapter is to give you the drawing and rendering foundations to head toward any area of the footwear industry and know with confidence that you understand the needs of the business and have the skills to achieve them.

Shown here are many of the actual drawing challenges you might encounter. Although the outcome of your particular rendering may not be exactly the same, the principles should guide you to a personal and satisfying style. The glossary contains a vocabulary of terms to help you explain your work and also a visual library for silhouette identification.

INTRODUCTION TO DRAWING FOOTWEAR

When illustrating footwear, whether for manufacturers or for the retail market, it is necessary to capture and enhance the uniqueness of the designer’s vision while also making the necessary adjustments to the shoe’s visual perspective to express its wearability as a functional fashion item.

The first thing to realize about shoes is that they are not flat. They curve around the foot from toe to heel and also rise up slightly from the ball of the foot to the toe tip. The three most common mistakes to watch for in drawing shoes are: getting the perspective wrong; drawing the center front off-center; and making the shape and perspective of the heel incorrect. We will start by looking at how to address these basic problems and will then work our way through to rendering exciting finishes and textures.

The two most important features of footwear to capture are the toe shape and the heel treatment; these reveal the uniqueness of the design. These features are typically illustrated with three views: a straight-on side view together with a top toe view detail (see p. 29), or a three-quarter view (see p. 28) that shows enough of the top of the toe while still giving an adequate view of the heel to show its specific design characteristics. It is also important, whenever possible, to draw your footwear from the “outside of the foot” view. This shows the optimum design elements while avoiding the distortion and awkwardness of drawing the inside arch shape, which can appear to warp the shoe and make it look uncomfortable to wear. You should always draw a shoe with the understanding of a foot slipping comfortably into it and with newness to the texture and structure (not as though the shoe has been worn previously).

The use of the illustration should also be considered when choosing a style to work in. If the illustration is being used for manufacturing purposes—for production or pattern drafting—the illustration will have to be much more proportional and realistic to the actual finished shoe. If the finished drawing will be used for retail or editorial applications, then whatever the client desires can be your goal. If you are the designer, you should develop your style enough to explain your concept at first glance. If your drawing creates more questions than it answers, you will need to develop a tighter style.

These black pumps were drawn in rich, dark charcoal to illustrate clearly their different heel heights.

THE THREE-QUARTER VIEW

The most popular, and probably the most productive, position for drawing footwear is the three-quarter view. It has a slight downward stepping angle that allows for both the heel and the toe shape detail to be viewed simultaneously. It is the most common view used by footwear designers. This Vivienne Westwood plaid shoe was illustrated using liquid watercolors. The plaid was painted last using a small brush and thin paint that overlapped to make the darker shade.

THE SIDE AND TOP VIEW

Another popular way of illustrating footwear is to draw a side view along with a top view toe detail. These views are particularly useful when drawing or designing a unique heel that needs to be featured while also needing to show the toe shape or some unique top embellishment. It is also a useful perspective when a shoe design is asymmetrical. It is not necessary to draw the entire top of the shoe if the novelty is primarily on the toe section. The examples shown here were done in graphite pencil along with black pen line for the studding to make them separate from the shoe surface. The hatch lines in this drawing were added at the end to give it a looser feel. Also notice how the background adds motion without overpowering the featured items.

DRAWING THE THREE-QUARTER VIEW

This step-by-step demonstrates the process for developing a three-quarter-view shoe drawn in a tight, clear style. The illustration could be used for showing to a manufacturer or in a retail/advertising venue.

Materials:

Tracing paper

Bienfang Graphics 360 marker paper

or another 100% rag paper

Colored pencils

Alcohol or Xylene markers

Pro White paint or white gouache

STEP 1

Begin with a loose sketch on tracing paper. If you have the shoe, place it in front of you. Set the shoe to have a slight downward step, allowing you to see the toe top, heel, and toe sides. You may be able to see a bit of the inside sole, or the inside of the upper if more heel definition outside is necessary.

STEP 2

Place your initial sketch under another piece of tracing paper and refine the drawing. The inside heel angle (A) is parallel to the inside back of the shoe (B). The cross-section perspective should follow the same line (C). The center of the heel lines up with the center of the back so the heel appears to sit a bit higher than the sole (D). The outside of the heel runs along the same line as the outside of the shoe (E). The center of the heel lines up vertically with the heel of the foot (F). Check the center line of the toe (G) and the front toe perspective (H). The heel hugs the back of the foot (I).

DRAWING TIP

Take care not to draw the heel too long with a backward angle, as this could make the heel look broken.

STEP 3

Place your underdrawing under a sheet of translucent marker paper. Begin to draw the outline of the shoe with a colored pencil. Use a different color pencil for every different color on the shoe (sole, upper, heel) and follow your perspective lines. Use a French curve if your hand is not steady enough to make smooth, clean lines.

DRAWING TIP

Draw with a colored pencil that is slightly darker than your marker color for the shoe.

STEP 4

Now begin to draw the shadow patterns. Light the shoe with your desk light if possible. All shoes have a similar shadow pattern, as they all have to wrap around a foot. Keep in mind that you are only drawing the shadow tones—you do not need to fill in the whole shoe with color. Make sure your rendering is darker than the marker color you will be using or the marker will wash away all of your shadow tone drawing.

STEP 5

Use a blender pencil to develop a richer color or to smooth out the texture of the colored pencil. This will darken your pencil work and will also smooth out the gradation areas from shadow to lights. There is only a minimum amount of color used on the inside of the shoe because the outside of the shoe is where you want people’s attention. If the inside is over-rendered, it can distort the silhouette of the shoe and make it appear wider.

CREATING DESIGN TEMPLATES

If you have the actual shoe, you should draw from that. If you are a designer, you may want to find a shoe that fits the basic silhouette of your shoe idea and begin by sketching that. In fact, you may want to develop a file of shoe silhouettes to use as your design templates. This will assure you of the proper perspective and proportion right from the start of the creative process.

STEP 6

To apply the marker, flip your paper over and begin to marker at one end of the shoe. Do not draw an outline around the shoe with the marker—that will cause a dark outline on your finished piece. Start markering at one end and move slowly toward the other. Aim to saturate the paper with the marker. Use a circular motion, or straight lines going back and forth. Make sure you overlap your coloring enough to saturate the paper and avoid streaks and blotches.

DRAWING TIP

Test your markering technique on a small section of paper first to make sure your brand of marker paper will allow the marker to soak through. You should also use a piece of blotter paper underneath your art to absorb the marker that soaks through and avoid smearing.

STEP 7

When you are finished markering, flip the paper back over and the local color of the shoe will be complete. Now you are ready to add highlights and reflective lights. Notice the orange color (reflective light) added on the back of the heel for interest. The highlights were made with a white colored pencil and give a soft glowing highlight that is appropriate for the leather finish of this particular shoe.

STEP 8

Finish your shoe by adding some specific (or hot) highlights with some Pro White paint or white gouache. This is also a good time to add any top-stitching or pattern because your shadow drawing is now partially sealed into the paper by the marker soaking through the paper and gripping it. You can also use your white paint medium to clean up any edge bleeding from the markers or straighten up any perspective angles that have been skewed.

DRAWING THE SIDE VIEW

When drawing a side view of a hard-soled shoe, keep the bottom front toe flat to the floor. Do not draw the natural up curve that most shoes have. This will show the shoe the way we think shoes look on our feet. The only exceptions to this rule are athletic shoes, thick- soled boots, or platform shoes; these will look awkward if they do not have a slight up curve to the toes (see pp. 36, 38–39, and 40). This is a tighter style that could be used for retail or a presentation venue.

Materials:

Tracing paper

Marker paper

Colored pencils

Markers

Pro White paint

STEP 1

Begin by sketching the shoe silhouette on tracing paper, ensuring you bring the front toe down flat to the floor. Adjust for the natural curvature of the shoe by drawing the toe from a straight-on side view, then turn the shoe slightly to see the straight-on view of the heel. Draw these two design elements without distortion. Make sure your inside heel is at a right angle to the sole (A). Softly curve the back of the heel comfortably over the heel of the foot (B).

STEP 2

After refining the underdrawing on another piece of tracing paper, place it under a piece of marker paper and draw your outline with a darker-colored pencil than your finished marker. If you have difficulty controlling the smoothness of your line, use a French curve for your edges. Make sure you do not draw the inside upper of the shoe (C). (It is not possible to show the inside of a flat-soled shoe because it will appear warped.)

STEP 3

Fill in your shadows following the natural flow of the foot using a darker-colored pencil than the local color of the leather. By drawing a dark core shadow and leaving a lighter reflective light pattern down the side of the shoe, you will add form and separate the upper from the sole (D).

STEP 4

Finish by markering on the back of the paper. Then turn the illustration over and detail the necessary textures or patterns. Here, the snakeskin and wingtip pattern were drawn with a harder HB graphite pencil. This allows for maximum control and sharpness. Notice the reflected blue light coming up from the floor on the side of the shoe. Again, the large white highlights were left out while markering and the snakeskin was highlighted with a white colored pencil and accentuated with Pro White paint.

DRAWING THE TOP VIEW

For the top or toe section of the shoe, you need to draw from straight above the toe tip, then add a bit of length to the shoe to make up for the foreshortening that takes place as the shoe rises up from the arch of the foot to the heel. The higher the heel, the more length you will need to add. It is not usually necessary to draw the whole shoe when drawing a toe detail (see p. 29), but if you do, make sure the back heel curves comfortably around.

Materials

Tracing paper

Marker paper

Colored pencils

Markers

STEP 1

Begin by sketching the top of the shoe on a piece of tracing paper. Notice the harder angle on the arch side of the foot (A) and the smoother curve of the outside view (B). The arch-side bulge will be slightly lower than the bulge on the outside of the foot.

STEP 2

After refining the underdrawing, place it under a piece of marker paper and begin to draw the outline of the shoe with a darker- colored pencil than the finished local color of marker. Keep in mind the symmetrical nature of most footwear and keep the perspective straight.

STEP 3

Start to lay in your shadow tones. Light your shoe from a single light source. Notice how the light and dark patterns follow the side structure of the foot. Keeping to this form will make your shoes easy to read and look structurally sound. The more reflective the surface, the higher the contrasts between lights and darks. Keep the inside sole of the shoe lighter than the outside upper so the inside does not distract from the design and allows the silhouette of the shoe to dominate.

STEP 4

Finish the illustration by markering the local color on the back of the drawing and then adding the design details to the front (snakeskin and highlights). In this illustration, the highlight on the toe was created by missing out that area when marker color was applied.

This lace boot by Raymond Serna was drawn with black ink and gray marker. A copy of black lace, tinted green with marker, was collaged into place from the back side of the paper.

This riding boot was drawn on marker paper using charcoal, and a 40% cool gray marker was added from the back of the paper. Highlights were added using white colored pencil.

DRAWING HIGH BOOTS

When drawing high boots such as riding or knee-highs, there are a couple of perspective rules that should be followed. The following rendering examples explain how to achieve the proper perspective. This is a tighter rendering style using 4B and 6B graphite pencils.

STEP 1

Begin with a preliminary sketch or underdrawing. Curved edges, like the top opening, will increase in arch as they move away from eye level (see top green curved line). If you draw the bottom of the boot looking straight on, you should also draw the top looking straight on, to ensure you do not get an extreme curve at the top. Bring the natural toe spring flat to the floor (see green line). Lay in shadow patterns at this point.

STEP 2

Using a 4B graphite pencil, draw in a more defined and solid outline. Start to lay in your shadow patterns with a 6B or softer graphite pencil, observing how the leather bends and relaxes as it forms the boot. Use your finger to smooth out some of the hatch lines.

STEP 3

To finish the drawing, increase the value contrast and rub out most of the texture using a blending tortillon or drawing stump. Note that no marker tone was applied behind the drawing, so the natural white of the paper becomes the highlights for the finish. Darken the shadows and erase some of the highlights. Add a 40% cool gray Xylene marker behind the rendering to add more contrast. Add some highlights with a white colored pencil and add details using a fine hair brush with Pro White paint.

DRAWING WORK OR HIKING BOOTS

When drawing any thick-soled boots such as work, hiking, or platform boots, it is necessary to draw them with the toe spring visible. The looser rendered examples below show how to achieve the proper perspective in a three-quarter view. This style of drawing is appropriate for editorial illustration or can add interest in trend forecasting media.

The tighter rendering style of these Dr. Martens boots was achieved using 4B and 6B graphite pencils with art marker behind for the local color.

STEP 1

Begin with a preliminary sketch or underdrawing of the boot. Watch for the soft, upward turn of the front toe spring. Also watch the perspective of the boot lacing. Work out the crossing over that occurs in lacing and also the symmetrical quality of the eyelets. Keep the sole divots equal in size and correct in number to maintain the right design proportion.

STEP 2

Place your preliminary drawing under your piece of finish paper. Using a bamboo stick or sharpened popsicle stick, draw around your shoe shape. Do not be overly concerned with accuracy. Some flaws in the drawing will add to the artistic nature this style demands. By getting a wide variety of line quality—everything from wet and bold to dry and scratchy—you will end up with a more interesting art piece.

STEP 3

Finish the drawing with concentrated watercolor, which gives you a bright and completely transparent color finish with no sediment from pigments. Turn the paper as you work and use an excessive amount of water to create the dripping effect. Start with lighter colors first and then add darker tones for the shadows, even mixing the paint right on the paper, wet into wet.

DRAWING SANDALS

When drawing any kind of sandal, it is usually necessary to draw the straps as though a foot were in the shoe. Make sure the straps are symmetrical from side to side as they connect with the sole. This image (bottom) of a Jimmy Choo patent leather strappy represents an illustration style that could be used in any magazine or editorial article. It was drawn by hand using a brush-point pen and was then scanned into Photoshop and rendered using color fills for a clean graphic look.

This loose, black and white flat sandal was drawn with charcoal pencil on marker paper with cool gray marker applied to the back for the local color tone.

STEP 1

Begin with an underdrawing with the straps drawn in their formed position. Notice the foot shape (in blue), which helps to form the straps. Note the perspective lines (in red) that help keep the straps in perspective from side to side. Keep your viewpoint consistent and keep the curve of the straps similar to your view. Use a center front line (green) to keep the three-quarter perspective correct.

STEP 2

Place your preliminary drawing under the finish paper of choice. To achieve an expressive yet slick line drawing, use a black brush-point pen. The clean black line will also make the drawing easy to scan and provide well-defined shapes to capture with a masking tool.

STEP 3

Draw highlight lines on another copy of the original shoe and scan. Color-by-color grab each individual shape with a masking tool such as the masking wand. After creating a mask, make a shape and fill it using the fill tool. Grab the line drawing and fill it with black to ensure it is solid and rich with color. After adding the middle tones and highlights, clean up some of the lines and color shapes using a brush tool. Add bright white highlight spots to exaggerate the feel of patent leather.

DRAWING PLATFORMS

Platforms, like any thick-soled boot, need to be drawn with the toe spring visible. The purpose of the toe spring is for the shoe to have a rocking motion as the foot steps forward, otherwise there would be a hard, sharp edge to stumble over. The Vivienne Westwood extreme platform shown below is rendered using a cut paper technique. This fun, graphic style works well for editorial illustration or trend forecasting spot illustrations.

This loose watercolor drawing shows the natural lift in the toe and is typical of a faster designer sketch in a wet medium to show a concept idea. Black line was drawn over the finish to add some clarity to the details.

STEP 1

Begin with a preliminary sketch of your shoe shape on paper or go right to cutting the shape out if you feel confident enough. Use a sharp razor knife such as an X-Acto knife, and cut your basic shapes first. Note the toe spring rising up from the ball of the sole. Keep the laces soft and alive.

STEP 2

Cut your secondary shapes: middle tones, highlights, and some darker shadow shapes if necessary. Plan on three tones to make a solid form. Focus on the basic shape a color makes and be sensitive to thicks, thins, and curves—do not get too generic or your shoe can look clunky and boring. Cut thin strips of black paper for the sole edge. These strips curve well if the paper is not too thick. Glue your paper shapes in place.

STEP 3

To finish the illustration, add some background elements to give a feeling of depth and to enhance the theme of the design. As a finishing detail, draw an alligator texture overlay and scan it in Photoshop. Scan the collage and add the overlay. This could also be accomplished by using an alligator print or textured paper. See the collage boot on p. 34.

This Alexander McQueen shoe was illustrated by Colleen Kelly using watercolor and India ink.

DRAWING ATHLETIC FOOTWEAR

When drawing athletic footwear or specifically soft-soled shoes, it is necessary to draw the soles with a soft toe spring. If you force the toe flat to the ground it will make the shoe seem too hard and will not visually fit the “comfort” aspect of a sports shoe. The high-top below was drawn in a looser style to communicate a younger, more editorial, style.

This running shoe was illustrated in a tighter style using graphite pencil and rendered using a soft tortillon to achieve the puffy effect caused by the stitching. The bottom view was drawn to show the specifics of the shoe tread—an important design feature for some athletic shoes.

STEP 1

Begin with a light preliminary sketch using a hard (2H–4H) graphite pencil. A three-quarter view makes it easy to show the softer toe curve. Then cover the areas you want to leave white with a liquid frisket or masking fluid. This makes it easy to be expressive with your paint without having to worry about bleeding or slipping over lines with your brush.

STEP 2

Using concentrated watercolors for a brighter, more tie-dyed, look, begin to paint your shoe. Use a lot of water on the painted areas, allowing the color to bleed without too much control. Add the background tone to separate the white laces from the background. When the paint is dry, remove the frisket by peeling or rubbing it using a soft eraser.

STEP 3

To finish the drawing, draw around some of the edges using black India ink and a sharpened popsicle stick. This adds definition and detail without tightening up the drawing. Add the type with a fine-line pen for product identification.

DRAWING ESPADRILLES

Espadrilles are a type of slip-on shoe found in most cultures. Sometimes it is necessary to draw them with laces that extend up the leg. When drawing these, you will need to draw them as if they are actually tied around a leg. Keep an elegant foot shape in mind and visualize the way the laces wrap. The drawings below are examples of a designer drawing or concept sketch. They are drawn quickly using art markers for the rendering. Remember that even with a faster sketch the purpose is always to show the item with form—not flat—so consider your light source and shadows. This fast style is ideal for production ideas and for communicating a concept quickly to your client.

This tightly rendered shoe was used for a black and white newspaper advert; it was rendered in graphite with art marker behind the drawing. It was necessary to break the weave pattern and the sole stitching down into a simple graphic pattern, and then repeat the pattern systematically across the surface. Always flatten or reduce the pattern as it moves around and over the shoe surface for a foreshortened effect.

STEP 1

Begin with a preliminary sketch or underdrawing. Work out your foot shape and the lacing up the leg. Then slip the preliminary sketch under a piece of marker paper and draw the outline using a black fine-line pen. The pen ink needs to be either water-based ink or a pigment ink, otherwise the finishing art markers will smear the lines.

STEP 2

Begin markering with the lighter tones of each color. It is faster to leave the highlights out by drawing around them. Notice that it can add interest and even a softer feel to have some edges drawn with only the marker color without the black line around them. Misregistration of color and edge is also interesting and acceptable.

STEP 3

To finish the drawing, use a darker marker of the same color family to add shadow and form. If you do not have a darker marker, use the same marker again, giving a double dose of the same color. Wait until the first layer dries before adding another. Notice the highlight lines drawn with white colored pencil on the upper—you may need to add some highlights on the lacing ribbons, too.

DRAWING VARIOUS VIEWS

The ability to draw footwear from various angles is not only important for shoe illustration but also to ensure that the figure looks stable and able to move. When drawing the feet in perspective, it is important to watch for the foreshortening that will always occur with body movement. Here are some common views together with some guidelines to check your drawings for solid movement from any view.

BACK VIEW

When drawing shoes from the rear position, watch for the foreshortening that takes place with these two main perspective points: from ground level (B) toward the front of the shoe there is an upward angle that shows the thickness of the foot/shoe (A). With a turned foot there is also a slight upward angle as the foot moves away from you (C). Take note that the heel is slightly lower then the instep line.

CROSSED ANKLE VIEW

When crossing ankles or drawing the foot moving forward on its side, watch for the curve of the outside edge (D) and also the heel length (E), which will appear to be centered back behind the ball of the foot.

FRONT STRAIGHT-ON

When drawing a straight-on foot, notice that the inside ankle (tibia bone—F) is higher than the outside (fibula). The narrowest part of the ankle is right above the ankle bones. When drawing the shoe, look for the width (G), the height (H), and the depth of the instep (I). It is not necessary to draw all the toes in detail—remember, you want people looking at the shoes, not the feet. Also notice the soft curve of the top arch on the forward lifted foot. Keep your arch high in placement, not centered on the foot (J).

THREE-QUARTER BACK VIEW

In the three-quarter back view, watch for the upward perspective of the shoe as it moves away from you (A). Also make sure the heel is centered in the back of the instep and lower than the instep base line (B). Usually the heel of the shoe curves underneath the heel of the foot to center the weight of the foot over the heel. Watch the curving of the heel seat as it wraps around the heel of the foot (C).

THREE-QUARTER FRONT VIEW

When drawing a front three-quarter view, watch your heel height (D). The heel of the shoe should appear to be set back and slightly under the heel of the foot. When drawing the toe section, make sure you draw the height (E) and the depth (F) of the toes so your shoes do not look flat.

SIDE VIEW ON

Watch that you keep the side view shoe flat to the ground as you would without a foot in it (G). Notice that the heel is set slightly higher than the instep. Also make sure that you do not shorten the toes on a walking gesture. A clean angle from the arch to the toes (H) will keep your shoe structure looking proportional and strong.

RENDERING BUFFED LEATHER

Buffed leather is one of the simpler surfaces to render. It has soft shadows and reflections that can be easily achieved with colored pencil or pastel.

Materials

Colored pencil

Colorless blender pencil

Marker pen

White pencil

DRAWING TIP

To keep the rendering smooth you can use your finger, soft tortillon, chamois, or tissue.

This shoe was used for retail sales and is done with art markers and colored pencil on Bienfang Graphics 360 marker paper.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth-edge outline with a colored pencil. Lay in your shadow form, keeping the rendering smooth. Using a colorless blender pencil, get rid of unwanted texture and blend the shadow colors together.

STEP 2

Now add marker on the back of the paper.

STEP 3

Finish up by adding some soft white highlights with a white colored pencil. This will make the surface of the object glow.

RENDERING SATIN

Satin has smooth, flowing, liquid-like reflections that glow with soft edges. Because it is highly reflective you must consider the dark reflections as well as the light reflections.

Materials

Colored pencil

Colorless blending pencil

Art marker

White pencil

Pro White paint

This satin shoe was used in an advertisement for bridalwear. Graphite pencil was used for the shoe rendering and a fine-line black pen for the bead outlines. (See the beading step-by-step on page 51.)

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth-edge line. Lay in your shadows, keeping the shapes fluid. Smooth out some of the texture with a colorless blending pencil (optional) and darken the shadow forms, keeping edges smooth.

STEP 2

Apply art marker on the back of the paper.

STEP 3

Now add your highlights with a white colored pencil, keeping the texture smooth and the shape fluid. You can add a small amount of Pro White paint if necessary to make the highlights more intense.

RENDERING PATENT LEATHER

Patent leather is strong, clean, and reflective. Keep your contrasts extreme. You should use solid black (or whatever the color may be of the leather) to a pure white highlight. Gradations are good to show surface movement, but keep your texture very smooth.

Materials

Colored pencils or charcoal

Marker

Bleedproof White paint

Beinfang Graphics 360 marker

paper

This boot was used for a black and white newspaper advertisement.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth-edge line and lay in your shadow patterns. Fill in the reflections with a full range of contrast. Use a blender pencil to smooth out any excess texture.

STEP 2

Apply marker to the back of the marker paper. Use a 50-80% gray marker, not 100% black.

STEP 3

Add highlights with white paint to give a look of high-gloss finish to the surface. Use a white colored pencil for softer white reflections or to soften the hot highlights.

RENDERING SUEDE

Suede is soft, fuzzy, and dull and is one of the easier textures to render. The most important thing is to not overwork it.

Materials

Colored pencil

Marker

White pencil

Bienfang Graphics 360 marker

paper

This suede desert boot was rendered with colored pencils and the local color was added from the back with marker. It was used for a retail sales advertisement.

STEP 1

Draw a soft edge on your object. Lay in your shadow areas using the side of your pencil for maximum texture. Darken your shadows and add texture over all open areas.

STEP 2

Apply marker on the back, leaving no areas unfilled.

STEP 3

Add white or light colored pencil onto highlight areas to create more form, using the side of your pencil for optimum texture. Use a color to add interest to the dullness of the suede.

RENDERING WOVEN FABRICS

The easiest way to draw a woven fabric is to break it down into a graphic grid and draw it with a repetition of both shadow and reflection.

Materials

Colored pencils or charcoal

Marker

Pro White paint

Beinfang Graphic 360 marker

paper

DRAWING TIP

To speed up the drawing process, use a repetitive method. Draw all the same sides on each section of a woven pattern, for example, then draw all the next sides on each section.

This shoe illustration was made for retail store advertising.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth edge in colored pencil. Lay down your base shadow tones with colored pencil. Add a grid of the weave pattern with a hard graphite pencil. Outline and color the individual sections with a darker-colored pencil. Darken the shadows on the individual sections.

STEP 2

Add marker to the back of the marker paper.

STEP 3

Finish up by using a small amount of Pro White paint for highlights on the highlight side edges of each section and a white colored pencil for softer highlights.

RENDERING CANVAS OR TWEED

Canvas or tweed textures are found in both dress and casual shoes. The simpler or tighter the weave, the less texture you should show.

Materials

Colored pencils

Marker

Pro White paint

This shoe was drawn in graphite. It was then tinted in Photoshop using transparent overlays.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth edge in colored pencil. Roughly lay in your shadows. Using a sharp colored pencil, add cross-hatching lines following the grain of the fabric. Do this in the lighter areas only and fade it into the shadows to avoid over-rendering. Avoid fat lines. Add some nubs by tapping the pencil down around the surface.

STEP 2

Apply marker color on the back of the paper if applicable.

STEP 3

Finish by adding highlights with Pro White paint and a small brush. Keep the strokes thin and in the same direction as the drawn lines. Add a few white nubs for added texture.

RENDERING FUR

When fur is used in footwear it usually has a short nap unless it is a mukluk-type boot. The important thing to capture is the soft quality both on the edge and on the upper.

Materials

Colored pencils

Marker pens

Pro White paint

White pencil

This Vivienne Westwood boot was done in watercolor as a style direction sample.

STEP 1

Begin with a textured edge in colored pencil capturing the feel of the fur. Lay in your shadow form, keeping the rendering rough. Begin to outline and color in individual spots, keeping them soft with a hair edge.

STEP 2

Add marker on the back of the paper, using two colors if appropriate.

STEP 3

Finish by using Pro White paint for highlights on the guard hairs (if applicable) or a white colored pencil for softer highlights on the high points. Exaggerate the edge texture with a few longer hairs.

RENDERING BEADING

Beading is popular for wedding and evening shoes. The illustrated beads should look dimensional, not simply like a flat pattern.

Materials

Colored pencils

Marker

Pro White paint

The shoe featured was drawn in graphite. It was then colored in Photoshop by adding a transparent color shape over the shoe silhouette created by masking out the beading and lining shapes. This image was drawn for a bridal footwear sale.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth-edge drawing with a hard pencil. Roughly lay in your shadows with graphite pencil, drawing guidelines with an extra-hard pencil to line up the beads. Using a fine-line black marker and a shape template, draw the outline of the beads. Begin to render the dark, reflective shadows on the beads using repetition.

STEP 2

Apply marker color or scan the completed value drawing onto your computer for colorizing.

STEP 3

Finish by adding highlights with Pro White paint on the highlight side of the beads using repetition to communicate a strong light reflection. Add a few quasars (star-shaped reflections) for added emphasis or glitz.

RENDERING SEQUINS

When rendering sequins or any kind of embellishment on footwear, it is important to keep the separation of the bangle from the shoe façade and also to give it a sense of surface when it comes to the sparkle.

Materials

Colored pencils

Marker

Pro White paint or gouache

Marker paper

DRAWING TIP

When drawing sequins, use a circle guide to assure clean, round, hard edges.

The bejeweled shoe here was rendered in graphite, colored pen line, and watercolor. The beads and sequins were drawn in pen line to hold their edge and stand out from the shoe. (See also the beading step-by-step on p. 51.)

STEP 1

Begin by drawing your edge line with colored pencil. This line should represent the shape and size of the sequins. Lay in your shadow forms, and begin to draw the sequins in color. Keep the shapes round on the front surfaces and ellipse the sequins that wrap around the edges. Try to represent three values: dark (the reflective darks), medium (the sequin’s local color), and light (the reflective lights).

STEP 2

Add marker on the back of the paper.

STEP 3

Use Pro White paint or gouache for highlights; grouping the highlights together adds to the effect of the lighting. Keep a stronger focus of highlight on the high points or light area. Add a couple of quasars for added expression.

RENDERING LACE

When rendering lace on a shoe or garment, the two most important elements are the proportion of the design to the item it is embellishing, and the theme or type of pattern the lace represents; for example, is it floral, geometric, or architectural?

Materials

Hard graphite pencil

Medium-hard pencil (HB–2B)

Watercolors

2-ply Bristol board

DRAWING TIP

If the pencil is too soft, the graphite will pick up in your watercolor and make your rendering appear dirty.

This shoe, featuring a floral-type lace, was rendered in watercolor with a fine-line black pen for the details.

STEP 1

Begin with a simple line drawing with a hard pencil to give you a shape to follow. Wet your paper inside the shoe shape first if you want a smooth, soft, blended look, or paint directly on the dry paper if you want a harder-edged finish (used here).

STEP 2

When dry, draw the lace pattern on the surface using a medium-hard pencil (HB–2B). Don’t press too hard so you can erase your lines later for a cleaner look. Then begin to lay in the larger shapes of your lace pattern using watercolor. Make sure you thin out the design on the sides to indicate the perspective change as the lace wraps around the edges.

STEP 3

Finish your lace by adding the lacing threads or webbing in between the large shapes. The smaller the illustrations, the simpler and more suggestive you can keep this. I used a forest green watercolor for the shoe and a warm black for the lace webbing.

RENDERING ALLIGATOR

When rendering reptile skin, the most important thing is to stay true to the characteristics of that particular skin. The two most constant differences are the shape and proportion of the scales.

Materials

Colored pencils

Hard graphite pencil

Art markers

Pro White paint

Bienfang Graphics 360 marker

paper

These alligator shoes were used for a retail store promotion.

STEP 1

Begin with a textured edge in colored pencil capturing the feel of the scales. Lay in the shadows. Draw in the scale sections using a hard graphite pencil. Outline and color in individual scales, gradating them from one side to the other.

STEP 2

Finish coloring the scales, making sure the edges are thinner so they appear to curve over the edge of the shoe. Lay in a local color using art marker on the back of the paper.

STEP 3

Finish up by using Pro White paint on the highlight side edges and white colored pencil for softer highlights in the scales.

This alligator platform by Don Yoshida was rendered entirely in Photoshop using a flat pattern fill, to which shadow and highlights were added using a brush tool. Notice the subtle reflection below the shoe created by duplicating the original image and flipping it upside down.

RENDERING SNAKESKIN

Snakeskin and lizard skin are very similar to render. Snakeskin usually has more of a spotted appearance, whereas lizard is more consistent in its color and scale size.

Materials

Colored pencils

Hard graphite pencil

Art markers

Pro White paint

Bienfang Graphics 360 marker paper

This loosely rendered image of a blue snakeskin pump is characteristic of a designer concept sketch. It was drawn with a black water-based pen and then markered on the top with alcohol- based markers, using cerulean blue for the local color and leaving the highlights untouched. Ultramarine blue was then applied for the shadow and dark blue brush-point pen for the scale spots. This style of sketch is a fast way of getting an idea ready to present to a client.

STEP 1

Begin with a rough edge to capture the scale size and feel. Roughly lay in the shadows in colored pencil. Add a grid with a hard graphite pencil for the scales. For a spotted skin, lay in the spot pattern using a contrasting color pencil. Darken your shadow forms.

STEP 2

Apply art marker on the back of the paper for a local color.

STEP 3

Finish by adding highlights with Pro White paint on the highlight side of the scales in the light areas.

RENDERING ACRYLIC

When rendering acrylic or any glossy transparent material, it is important to remember two things: One is to keep your edges crisp, as the more reflective a material, the more harshly it will contrast darks and lights. The second is to try to find an edge that overlaps to show the transparency of the material through layering.

Materials

Black pen

Graphite

Markers

Pro White paint

Marker paper

In the acrylic shoes shown here, you can see the liquid, crisp flow of the reflections as well as the full range of values from dark to light. Gradation is also used within some of the reflective shapes to give a feeling of atmosphere and depth. The soles are a combination of black patent leather and gold metal inlay; note where the acrylic overlaps them. This tighter rendering style was used for a retail advertising campaign using a fine-line black pen, hard and soft graphite pencils, a 20% cool gray marker, and Pro White paint for the highlights.

STEP 1

Begin with a smooth outline in black pen to help create a strong edge. Lay in the shadows, keeping the rendering smooth. Using a black pen, bring some strong line and movement into the object. Erase some white lines out of your rendered areas for added depth.

STEP 2

Add marker into some of the shapes to give a solid, clean reflection. The gray in the lower right corner adds a feeling of transparent layers. Keep the rendering fairly light to suggest the clear acrylic.

STEP 3

Finish by adding some clean, flowing white highlights to make the surface of the object pop forward and add more depth by layering. Note the transparent effect in the lower right corner when the white crosses over the gray.

RENDERING METALLIC LEATHER

For rendering a metallic leather finish, the darks and lights should be in high contrast but typically softer in transition than glossy textures.

Materials

Colored pencils

Blender pencil

Art markers

Pro White paint

Marker paper

The style of illustration for this shoe is suitable for full-color magazine promotion.

STEP 1

Begin with a soft yet clean-edge line. Roughly lay in your shadows in darker colored pencil. Smooth out some of the texture with a blender pencil (optional) and darken shadow forms.

STEP 2

Apply art marker on the back of the paper for local color and unity.

STEP 3

Now add your highlights using white paint in a stippling technique. Metallic leather has more of a sparkle to its reflection.

DRAWING CHILDREN’S SHOES

Children’s footwear offers a wide variety of shapes, textures, and styles, all on a smaller scale. Because a child’s feet are not the same proportions as an adult’s, there is the danger of their shoes looking deformed or awkward— their feet are thicker and shorter when it comes to sizing. A good way to help communicate their size and shape is to put a common object in the illustration with them for scale comparison, as demonstrated with the baseball in this feature image.

These shoes were drawn in graphite pencil with art marker tones for a black and white retail advert. To make them more interesting for a color spread or magazine, you could apply different computer filters after scanning them. The amount of abstraction you allow should depend upon the purpose of the publication.

PSYCHEDELIC ART

This is a software filter that will become more or less dramatic with your particular settings.

LAYERING

The shoe image was converted into two different color palettes that were then layered over each other with different transparency percentages.

COLOR INTENSITY

The black and white art was converted into one solid color, in this case magenta. This keeps the graphite rendering feel while adding color impact.

INVERTED

This filter takes the image and reverses the values to the opposite degree, similar to a negative photo effect.

FLAT DRAWINGS FOR PRODUCTION

Shoes, like any garment, require flat drawings for production. The following flats were drawn by Raymond Serna, Women’s Footwear Design Director for such companies as Tommy Hilfiger, Nine West, and Coach Footwear. Footwear flats can be drawn with top and side views or a three-quarter view, depending on the need to show specific details. The illustrator must keep in mind that these technical drawings are used for development and sample production and, therefore, need to be accurate in dimension and proportion. Every aspect of a shoe’s design must be shown clearly so the developer or pattern-maker can understand the shoe’s individual features.

These flats were sketched on Bristol paper using a graphite pencil to a woman’s size 6 shoe proportion. Once the pencil sketch is complete, a permanent black pen line is added to make the lines clean and easy to read in three distinct line weights: bold is used for the outside silhouette (which keeps the shape strong), medium for construction detailing (which is the main purpose of the drawings), and a fine line for adding texture, reflection, or shadowing. Use straight edges and French curves to ensure smooth linework. Once the ink line is dry, the pencil line is erased, leaving a sharp, graphic image. Typically color or soft rendering is not used on flat drawings. Think of them as an architectural drawing for an object.

ANKLE BOOT

The thick structured sole has a raised toe curve. The fold-down flap is accomplished by curving and not connecting the inside flap lines with the outer edge lines at the top, showing the thickness of the leather. The studding is shown by raised shapes on the outside edge.

TALL BOOT

The leg extension leans forward. All stitching is straight and spaced evenly with a consistent size dash. Thin lines on the upper show softness in the structure. The heel lines indicate a layered wood or leather heel.

SHORT BOOT

This boot features a square toe, shown by the perspective across the front angle. For the cone-shaped studs, the half-circle progressive lines make the metal feel both reflective and brushed. The boot itself is not rendered.

OXFORD FLAT

This shoe features cutouts. They are not shown on the inside since the outside is the feature design. Notice the slight cut depth on the upper back edge of the tear shapes and the raised center front seam.

MARY JANE

This flat shows the height of the rhinestones as well as their facets and reflections, including black quasars. In contrast, the studs have a swirling shape to indicate their reflection and smooth nature.

GLOSSARY OF SHOE TERMINOLOGY

This glossary will help you become familiar with some of the basic terms used in constructing and designing footwear. Some terms describe parts common to every shoe—such as the sole, upper, and heel—whereas other terms are specific to a particular type or style of shoe. Not all of the terms are illustrated on the example shoes.

ARCH: The curved, narrow, midsection of the shoe that the arch of the foot curves over.

BREAST: The forward-facing top of the heel found under the arch of the foot.

COLLAR OR TOGGLE: A piece or stitched area surrounding the foot opening or topline— similar to a shirt collar surrounding the neckhole. Usually found on lace-up shoes.

COUNTER: A piece of stiff material or leather positioned on the back of the upper around the collar. It can either be a hidden piece inside between the upper and the lining or an overlapping piece of leather on the outside, usually in a contrasting color. It is meant to add strength and help maintain shoe shape.

EYELETS: The holes that are punched through the facings, upper, or vamp for threading laces through.

FACING(S): A layer of material (usually two) covering the front top vamp, having laces or some kind of closures to bring them together across the top of the foot.

FEATHER EDGE: The place where the upper’s edge and the sole meet.

FOXING: An outside panel covering the back of the heel and wrapping around onto the quarter.

HEEL: The heel is found at the rear of the shoe and is the part of the sole raising the back of the shoe in relation to the front. Heels come in various heights and are usually named after their shape or the person who made them fashionable. They can be made out of various materials including wood, cork, synthetics, and stacked leather.

HEEL LIFT: The finishing piece on a spiked heel that comes into contact with the ground.

INSOLE: The layer of material between the sole and the wearer’s foot. It adds comfort as well as hiding the construction seams of the upper and sole.

LACES: Made of string, rope, leather, or synthetics, laces are used to fasten a shoe to the foot of the wearer.

LINING: Most shoes have a lining that covers the inside of the vamp and quarter. Linings improve comfort, can add warmth, and extend the life of the footwear.

PUFF: A lightweight reinforcement in the upper that gives the shoe its shape and support. Similar to an inside toe cap.

QUARTER: The rear part of the upper that covers the heel forward to the vamp. It is actually an area of the shoe and can be part of a continuous piece of material that includes the vamp.

SEAT: This is the concave area of the heel that sits into the rear of the sole.

SHANK: A hidden piece of support material inserted between the sole and the insole to give strength to the shoe as well as support to the wearer.

SOLE: The bottom piece of the shoe that sits below the wearer’s foot and comes into contact with the ground.

THROAT: The front top of the vamp above the toe cap.

TIP: The very end of the toe.

TOE: The area at the forward front upper of the shoe. Toes come in various forms and are a major factor in style differences.

TOE CAP: A covering stitched over the toe for decorative effect or to strengthen the toe. It can also be used for protection as in steel-toe boots for dangerous work areas.

TONGUE: The leather insert or extension of the vamp that covers the top of the wearer’s foot and adds comfort for lacing as well as protection from weather conditions.

TOP PIECE: The part of the heel that comes into contact with the ground. It is called the “top” piece because shoes are made upside down, making the bottom of the heel actually the top.

TOPLINE: The top edge of the upper that may have a border or edging technique.

UPPER: The entire part of the shoe that covers the foot. The upper consists of two main parts: the vamp and the quarter.

VAMP: The front section of the upper, which covers the front of the foot. The vamp extends back to the joint of the big toe.

WAIST: The part of the shoe or last that relates to the instep and arch of the foot.

WELT: The strip of material that joins the upper to the sole of the shoe.

GLOSSARY OF CONSTRUCTION TERMINOLOGY

The beginning of a shoe starts with the “last.” The last is a hard, molded, shoe-shaped form usually made of wood or plastic. Lasts come in a variety of toe shapes and heel heights, depending upon the latest fashions. The heel height of a last is made specifically for a particular shoe design and cannot be changed during construction. The toe shape is also very specific and determines what the final shoe will look like. A shoe last is used to stretch the leather over to form the shoe. Although you can create many different shoes from the same last, each heel height has to have a different last, as does each shoe size and width. The fit of a shoe will be determined by the shape and volume of the last. Lasts have a hinge in the middle so they can be collapsed and removed from the finished shoe without causing any damage.

BACKPART: The rear part of the last from the heel to the ball girth.

BALL GIRTH: The measurement of the last around the ball of the foot.

CENTER BACK: The center of the heel to which you line up the back seam and heel.

CENTER FRONT: The center front line of the last is where you line up the pattern for a proper fit and symmetry.

CONE: The upper instep of the last.

FOREPART: The front part of the last from the toe to the ball girth.

HEEL HEIGHT: The distance between the bottom of the last heel and the floor.

LAST: The solid, foundational form around which the shoe materials are stretched to construct and mold the shoe. It defines the final shape of the shoe.

SEAT: The rear bottom of the last to which the heel will fit.

TOE SPRING: The angle at the front of the last that will allow the foot to rock forward from the ball of the foot.

WAIST: The narrow midsection of the last that corresponds to the arch and instep of the foot. It is also where the joint of the last is typically located for bending the last for easy removal.

GLOSSARY OF TOE SHAPES

The most manipulated and trend-setting part of any shoe is the toe cap or tip. A shoe often becomes known for, or even named after, the toe shape. The greatest difference between the expressiveness allowed in the design of a toe and that of a heel is that the toe must always conform to its purpose—surrounding the toes of the foot. Here is a very basic vocabulary of toe shape variations that have set trends and become the mainstays of footwear design. It is only a foundation of names—the options are endless. These toe shapes were illustrated using water-based, fine-line black pen for the outline, to which watercolor was added with a soft brush. The brush was allowed to touch the outline, dissolving the ink slightly so that it bled into the paint, creating a feeling of shadow and curve on the edges while leaving the highlights untouched.

GLOSSARY OF HEEL SHAPES

The other major definer of a shoe silhouette, besides the toe, is the heel. The heel can be the most unique and personalized part of the shoe because it is not confined by the shape of the foot. This is a very basic vocabulary of heel shapes that can be exaggerated and manipulated to their extremes. These heels were drawn with a black outline using a water-based Tombow pen, which was then dissolved with water using a soft watercolor brush.

GLOSSARY OF SHOE SILHOUETTES

This glossary of shoe silhouettes is designed to give you some of the basic names of the most common shoe designs. There are many variations and even combinations of some names. Also included are alternative names for some styles. These shoes were illustrated using liquid concentrated watercolors with the highlights drawn out with a wet brush after the base coat dried. Finally, a black fine-point pen was used for the outlines.

GLOSSARY OF BOOT SILHOUETTES

This glossary of boot silhouettes will provide you with some of the more common boot heel shapes and heights used in the footwear industry. There are many subtle variations for boot heights, but the basic names remain the same. These boots were illustrated using liquid concentrated watercolors on watercolor paper. On some boots a wet brush was used to pull out some subtle details after the base coat had dried.