Sketching a dress is not an easy thing to do except for artists or designers. But, it does not mean that unprofessional people like us cannot learn how to draw a gown. It is a bit challenging yet can be very fun when you know how to do it. At first, of course you need to decide what kind of gown you are going to sketch. You can start with short gown sketches. Well, actually the length of the dress is not a matter at all as the techniques are more or less the same. However, as most of women’s dresses are usually short, so I think it will be better if right now we focus more on sketching short gowns. To begin, you can buy some books about how to draw a dress. But if you don’t, it is fine as we will just try to do a simple thing. First of all, prepare your pencil and paper.
You do not need to sketch the whole body of the subject. Designers usually sketch only the waist and legs. The reason for this is to make the sketches focused on the dresses, not the subject. Think of the gown as a flowing moving object worn by your character. This is the secret of making lively short gown sketches. If you see the gown as just a shape, the sketch will be no different from just a picture. Even, a little school girl can do better. Start with just a few thin vertical lines flowing out from the waist. Bold the lines of the folds of the gown. You should also learn how to add shadow to the gown. It has something to do with a light source. Darken the shadow, then.
Next, you should draw the rest of the dress. As you are about to draw short gown sketches, decide how long the hem is. When you draw the bottom of the gown, you should imagine how the fabric flows and moves. This movement will affect the shadows you put there. Drawing tight dress is easier as the fabric is not flowing too much. But when you draw a flowing gown such as ball gown or empire gown, it will be a little bit difficult, then. Drawing dress sketches does require a lot of practice until you can draw a good one. So, do not be lazy to keep practicing. Even professional designers need to take years of course to be able to draw professionally.