Glossary – Advanced Fashion Drawing, Lifestyle Illustration


Asymmetry Without symmetry, or  any visible or implied balance. An asymmetrical illustration may well seem to have more going on to one side of the composition than the other.

Atmospheric perspective An illusion of recession created by depiction of atmospheric effects. As the distance between an object and the viewer increases, the contrast between the object and its background decreases. Its colors become less saturated and shift toward the background color.

Balancing-act method Drawing a figure in stages, starting from the left side, moving to the right, and then back to the left, and so on down the figure, using various points to anchor the line, without allowing one side to extend too far below the other. This method encourages the observation of differences between the right and left sides of the figure and helps ensure  a drawing built on integrity.

Cold pressed paper Paper that has been cold pressed to achieve a slightly textured surface, often used for watercolors.

Conté crayon A drawing medium of compressed, powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay base, available in a range of colors, tones, and hardnesses, most effective on a tinted, rough paper.

Croquis From the French, croquer, “to sketch,“ a croquis is a rapid sketch of a model, often with loose drawing of clothes.

Gesso A primer, often white, that may be applied to a surface before painting in oil or acrylic to provide support and texture.

Gouache A heavier, opaque version of watercolor, containing more pigment and often an additional white pigment such as chalk, allowing quick coverage of substantial areas.

Gray scale A graduated representation of the different values of gray between black and white, broken down into a finite number of steps, usually ten, eleven, or twelve steps without color.

Hot pressed paper Paper with a fine-grained, smooth surface. It is appropriate for large washes of colour, and dries quickly.

Impressionism A movement that originated in France from the 1870s, which emphasized immediate visual impressions and the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to capture transient effects of light, often painted directly from nature.

Linear perspective A method for depicting the relations between the sizes of near and distant objects by making parallel lines converge at a vanishing point on the horizon.

Negative space Areas left empty once positive areas have been filled in by the artist.

Oil stick A combination of pigments, drying oils, and wax that creates an oil paint in a solid, crayon form.

Perspective A system that creates the illusion of three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional surface.

Positive space Where elements produce a figure or a field against a ground.

Rule of thirds A technique involving the division of a composition into three, both horizontally and vertically, and the positioning of key elements at the points where the lines intersect.

Scale Size relative to actual size, as in a scale model; size relative to human dimensions, as in small-scale or large-scale; to make larger or smaller.

Sumi-e painting A term for Japanese or Chinese ink-and-wash painting using ink dried and molded into sticks.

Symmetry Most commonly used to describe a mirror-like duplication (reflection) of elements on either side of a (frequently imaginary) central axis.

Value The gradation of tone from light to dark, irrespective of the color.

Vanishing point The point in linear perspective at which converging parallel lines appear to meet on the horizon line.

Vector graphics The use of geometrical lines and shapes, based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics.