Drawing Drapery: Analysis of Folds

Before you can take the next step you must learn some basic essentials in drawing folds. In general, I have found that the natural tendency of students is to copy the 2-dimensional pattern and “indicate” folds rather than actually drawing them as 3-dimensional forms.

Drawing Drapery Folds
Drawing Drapery Folds

In the drawing “A” above, notice how the line of the fold goes over and behind the cylindrical form rather than stopping at the edge as in “B”. The follow-through of the line over the edge of the form is a major element in creating a sense of volume in your drawing. In “A” the fold is turned away from you. In “C” it is turned toward you. All folds have thickness and this must be taken into consideration. ”D” has a fold which first turns towards and then turns away. The transition from a contour (edge) of a form to a tone on the surface of the fold facing you is an important consideration in how you draw the folds. “E” has added the element of a direct light source. This gives us the use of a core, reflected light and a cast shadow as added tools in helping us to describe the surface of the form underneath the drapery. Notice the addition of tone in the light indicating the side of the form. The main point is that you draw the fold and don’t fake it. To draw a fold you must understand it, and to understand it you must analyze it. The next step then is the detailed analysis of folds.

By Glenn Vilppu

This article is an excerpt from the Drawing Drapery Manual.

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