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Design & Style

Sketching Your Ideas

Marc Jacobs

Lesson time 18:11 min

See how Marc approaches the sketching process. Learn what tools he uses and what he tries to accomplish in a sketch, and then watch as Marc completes a sketch.

Marc Jacobs
Teaches Fashion Design
In 18 lessons, iconic designer Marc Jacobs teaches you his process for creating innovative, award-winning fashion.
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I've always found that sketching helps me to think things through. And so in the process of working towards seeing the first prototype, or the muslin, the first muslin, I like to kind of doodle, and sketch, and draw out outfits or pieces of clothing on a croquis. And sometimes I-- it helps me sort of have a visual reference of different options. Or just it helps me to sort of think things through before we pass something on to pattern maker. And I sketch. Joseph sketches. Everybody in the design room sketches in some way. But I do find that the sketching part of the process helps me to think about what we are going to make. So I usually set myself up with a stack of just paper from the Xerox machine, some number two pencils, sometimes a couple of colored pencils, a Sharpie marker or two, and once in awhile, I'll have some colored markers around. Usually, I'll take colored markers out if I want to sort of think about a color combination or something like that. And that usually comes later in the process. But normally, the first part of the sketching process for me is just doing some line drawings of silhouettes, just drawing some exaggerated versions of lengths, and proportions, widths-- again, something to give the pattern maker some indication of what I hope the muslin, the first muslin, will look like. Some people believe that you don't need to be able to sketch. Some people-- I think there are designers who don't sketch. And some people or designers that I've heard have people sketch for them. As I went to Parsons, and I studied at High School of Art and Design, and enjoyed figure drawing, and life drawing, and fashion illustration, sketching to me seems like an essential part of the design process. I sketch-- mostly, I sit in the design room, and I set up an area where there's enough tablespace that I can lay the sketches out. Again, as it's a kind of helped me in the editing process and the decision process, what I like to do is a number of sketches and lay them on the table. So if I'm doing a jacket, I might sketch the same jacket with a different color, with a different revers, button, single-breasted, double-breasted. I might sketch at different proportions. And I'll lay them out. And when I have a number of sketches laid out on the table, then I kind of do a selection or an edit of the things that I'd like to try. In other words, I'd like to go to the workroom, or the sample room to the pattern makers to start working on a muslin. [MUSIC PLAYING] OK, so as far as paper goes, I like a rough paper. And again, it comes right from the Xerox machine. I just don't like a smooth, glossy paper, because I like resistance when I draw. So I like using a number two pencil, and I'm very heavy handed. And I like a kind of variety in line when I sketch, especially when it's rough. So I prefer a number two pencil because it's soft. There's...

Create your own trends

Marc Jacobs’s infamous grunge collection got him fired. It also won him the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. In his first online fashion design class, the 11-time CFDA Award winner teaches his hands-on process for creating clothes that push boundaries and set trends. Learn Marc’s construction techniques, how he creates unique shapes and silhouettes, and how you can develop your own ideas from the first sketch to the final piece.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

While it was nice and pleasant to listen like an audio book while at work, but it felt more like a motivation class rather than a class i actually learnt.


Love how much he truely is to himself and his work. It shows in every piece of his designs

This class has given me a look into the world of fashion design. Marc gave excellent examples of what to expect by sharing his personal experience and advice. Awesome class! I am still growing and will revisit certain chapters .


Madison H.

Marc helped so much with how I view the sketching part of fashion design. I used to be scared to do it because I thought it would turn out bad, but now that I have gone through this lesson, I feel so much better about it.

Martina V.

I read in a creativity book that a way of forcing yourself to leave out details in the first sketches is by using a thick marker.


Hi there, can someone please tell me where to download the croquis as mentioned on page 11? Thank you so much!

Cristelle S.

Dear MasterClass, What I learned the most from the "Sketching Your Ideas" lesson from the "Marc Jacobs Teaches Fashion Design" class, was about detail. I really enjoyed learning about creating a simplified design first, and then making other designs that might include more decoration later. Thank you. Sincerely, Cristelle Nicole

Giorgia D.

I have to confess: I am not so good at drawing. But after I saw Marc sketches, I realised that, as you need to focus mostly on the silhouette and the dress itself, even some basic drawing skills can be enough to give others an idea of what you imagine will be the final product!

Mary S.

Fascinating lesson. I am intrigued on his sketching ideas with a thoughtful process. I am thoroughly enjoying this MasterClass.

Myrline G.

I highly appreciate that you are comfortable with what you do and it shows your desire to teach us without reservation.

Pétainguy M.

Such a so sexy teacher that it turned hard (kkkk) to stay concentrated .... a torture !

Tauna S.

I sketch everything, even scenes when I am writing. Certainly when designing costumes. Love the idea of drawing variations and using a croquis, so they are consistent size wise.

Tauna S.

I like the detail involving the backup information and the materials he uses. Also that in the lesson pdf and in the lesson he shows how he goes about it and different examples of how the process develops.