View Full Version : The how-to of cloth
10-18-2000, 12:55 AM
I'm new to graphite and so far I feel unable to use it effectively. I have an assignment for a class and I cannot draw cloth. I have broken two pencils from throwing them across the room. I take this very personally. Those were expensive pencils. If anyone has any tips, or ideas or resources to help me get past this dilemma, I would be eternally grateful.
10-18-2000, 02:31 AM
Hi FullApple - I'm up here in Fort Collins..I see you are in Denver!! Nice to see another Coloradoan here at Wetcanvas. I've been fortunate to meet 3 other members in person...who are/were living in Colorado.
CLOTH!!!! eh! To draw accurate cloth (drapery) takes.....................time.
If I were just drawing a piece of fabric draped over foot-stool, I would try to see the over-all shape first. (ie: the largest shape the cloth makes, by looking at the outer-most edges. Really try to simplify what you are seeing, and I wouldn't try to begin to indicate ANY of the smaller shapes, until you have a good handle on the largest..general shape. Then..lightly, I'd begin to break the "interrior" of that big shape down..into the smaller angles..lightly indicating shadow areas. Again, don't try to draw every line you see..not initially. Draw LIGHTLY! Also, I wouldn't try to draw a large piece of cloth..just arrange a SMALL piece of cloth in a way that will allow you to simplify the forms. You can even draw a small area of that small cloth..in detail, and then just let your line and shadow areas (angles) trail-off into the white of the paper..with less attention to detail as you move away from your focal point. Finally, (and FullApple, I HOPE this is making sense to you..) put in your darkest areas and work back toward your lightest areas, and some of your mid-tones should fall into place. I wish I could find an example of good fabric drawing to post here...I'll be looking. In the mean time..don't be too hard on yourself..drawing fabric is not something that is easy to do right off....it does take some practice. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif
10-18-2000, 06:37 PM
I like what Michael said, and would add a couple of minor suggestions. First, maybe you should try working with graphite powder. If you're used to charcoal, paint, or some softish medium, this might put you on familiar ground. You can mass in the big shapes of the fabric folds and work in details with a fine pencil & a kneaded eraser later. As far as your broken pencils go, don't waste them. Either get a pencil holder/extender thingy and keep using the stubs, or convert the pencils into graphite powder by rubbing them on a sandpaper block. Another suggestion is to think less about the shape of the folds and more about the shape of the light. Does that make sense? It's kind of the same logic as using a negative space exercise in order to get a more accurate drawing. If you're having trouble conceiving of the light, mass in a light half tone over the whole damn thing and pick the lights out with a kneaded eraser.
If you really want to get your drapery technique down, just keep trying. If you can work off of casts or classic sculptures in a museum, do that too. It helps. Good luck.
10-19-2000, 12:57 AM
Thank you both.
I spotted a book that I hope will help, it's on order at the moment, called "Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil". Both suggestions sparked a glimmer of hope. Maybe I can do this. I think I've realized that I have a hard time adjusting to seeing things in a way that enables me to draw them.
10-20-2000, 03:50 PM
The book you ordered, Drawing Realistic Textures is a very good one---you'll get a lot out of that.
I'd like to add to the great comments and instruction above:
try different fabrics....some hold their shapes better than others. Some are quite difficult, too. I think a thick, white terry cloth towel is a good place to start. Beg, borrow or buy one of those $59. photographer's spotlights. Turn off all the lights in the room except for this spotlight. Move it around your set-up towel, and watch for some really good contrasting shadows and light patterns. The closer you get to the towel (within reason, we're not looking for a fire here!) you'll see good values for you to depict using the hints from the other WetCanvas artists. Good Luck!
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