Fatkini Illustration


plus size, fatkini, fashion design, swimwear

Original Design & Illustration by Liesl Binx

On twitter I’ve been pretty vocal about how challenging drawing fat fashion figures has been for me. In school I was never allowed to draw “plus size” (meaning if I did I would fail & be forced drop out of fashion school) As most fashion design students I was taught the 9 heads elongation of the fashion figure, which is 100% alien. It’s impossible for humans to attain this 9 head fashion figure body, the average body is about 7.5 heads. In fashion sketching 1 I spent hours upon hours drawing front, back, profile and 3/4 view croquis all with 9 heads of length. In fashion sketching 2 I did the same thing only now I was drawing croquis from magazine references and learning how to render (color). These figures were also 9 times out of 10 white & on the special day that an instructor decided to demo a person of color the figure would have white features and then just render darker skin. I was disappointed that such talented instructors expressed little diversity in size and race. In my technical sketching & portfolio classes I demonstrated mastery of these alien fashion figures. During these 2 years the size zero 9 foot tall white alien figure was beaten in my head. Although I made efforts to draw “plus size” on my own time I struggled to find references & pictures of fat women to model my illustrations after. As an illustrator so much of what you see is expressed with your pencil and its been extremly challenging for me to get 9 head figure out of my brain.

Thankfully being out of school has given me all the creative control I ever imagined and I have a lot more time to draw. I’ve also since discovered the online world of plus size blogging which has given me plenty of inspiration. My fat figures definetly aren’t as big as I want them to be yet but It’s been great drawing a variety of body types & sizes on my way up the numbers ladder.

process drawing this illustration.

I started out by hand sketching this croqui from scratch, then I continued to sketch the face and design the fatkini right on the figure. I inked the outline of the figure and then rendered. After scanning the figure into Photoshop I got rid of the color and just stuck with my inking. (I wanted to play with different color schemes) I again rendered the figure but with photoshop & added a drop shadow. I found an image of a floral print on a pillow I liked on google images and created a seemless tile (photoshop) to be the main print of the bikini. Then I brought her into Adobe Illustrator to color the bikini with the seemless tile, add shading, put gradient inside the sunglasses and create an interesting background.

There are SO many different ways/process’s of creating fashion figures and this is just one way I like to do mine! I have to admit I don’t like using the dodge & burn tool on fashion figures for shading and this was the first time I used the pen tool in Illustrator for creating shadow shapes! It gives the illustration a more graphic feel which is fun.

PS. As many of you know I am in the process of making the garments for my Fall Collection! I have been working like crazy and I expect to be done sewing by the end of June. 😀 I can’t wait to share my designs with everyone!


3 thoughts on “Fatkini Illustration

  1. You can also check Igigi out for the curvier ladies fashion illustrations; it’s really nice to see more of them. I love the way you describe the “aliens” you drew in art class 😉

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