Readers! Between book projects, I've been working on a . . . wait for it . . . book project! But this is a sketchbook project and one with a super exciting concept at that. Let me explain.
Have you ever bought one of those fashion sketchpads filled with croquis (body figure templates) all excited to hash out your ideas? And then once you realize the figures are a little bizarre-looking, your excitement fades a bit? (By "bizarre," I mean that the figures are strangely elongated and spindly, and twisted into strange poses like the "broken doll" or the "sad alien.") That's because fashion people work with a concept called "nine heads," where the figure is nine head-lengths tall. To put this in perspective, actual people are only seven to eight heads tall. Here's an interesting image that breaks it down:
One of my missions over years has been to write about sewing and fashion in a body-positive, feminist way. So these nine-head ladies were bringing me down. And so the idea for this sketchbook was born and brilliant illustrator Sun Young Park brought it to life. Here's how it works:
For Gertie’s New Fashion Sketchbook, Gretchen Hirsch teamed up with illustrator Sun Young Park to reinvent traditional figure templates—known as croquis—for the 21st century. Instead of the unnaturally skinny, tall, and frequently off-balance croquis the fashion industry has been sketching on for decades, this game-changing alternative presents hundreds of realistically sized and proportioned female forms in balanced, lifelike poses. In addition, Park has rendered the croquis with multiple tracing lines, allowing the sketcher to follow the lines that most accurately reflect the body shape desired. Also included are an overview of the design and sketching process and a visual history of garment component styles, all to make it easier to create fashion sketches for women of all shapes and sizes.
The figures are presented in a "nested" configuration (almost like a sewing pattern!), so that you can follow the lines (bigger or smaller) to represent different figures. You can make the figures smaller on top or bottom to replicate a woman's actual curves and proportions. I tested the whole thing out with some wonderful sewing friends, and it really works! I can't wait to show you more once the actual books arrive.
But for now, just know that the sketchbook is available for pre-order!