Project:| The clothed figure – Exercise: Fabric with line and form


Second attempt at clothes on chair. Soft pencil, coloured pencil (sketchbook).

Drawing of chair with fabric

Throw a piece of clothing or a length of plain fabric across a chair to make folded layers of fabric and then draw two 15 minute sketches.

My first attempt at this looks as though a dead octopus has been thrown at a rather stunted chair. This is what I get when I haven’t picked up a pencil for a week and eye is not tuned in. The less said about drawing one the better, although it did get me thinking about hard lines and that there aren’t really any when looking at folds of material. This means that it helps to sketch the outlines very lightly so that any hard edges can be softened. Having said that, simple line drawings can also indicate fabric successfully and I’ve experimented with this approach later.


First attempt at clothes on chair. Soft pencil (sketchbook)

My second attempt at the chair (see above) is a bit more successful. I found it hard going to keep a reasonable consistency in the type of marks. I’ve a tendency to start carefully and end up scribbling.

My first drawing took half a hour and the second about 45 minutes. I could not get anywhere in the prescribed 15 minutes.




fabric-squaresIn 5cm squares, draw five minute-sketches of the fabric…

This was an interesting opportunity to look at how the light falls on the fabric and also to experiment with different media. I found soft pencil to be the most effective way to capture the detail. I also tried charcoal and charcoal pencil but didn’t feel these worked well, although they might do so on a larger scale.

I am finding myself reminded of drawing trees in the sense that to avoid getting my head in  a spin, I need to simplify i.e. pick out the main folds, and not attempt to reproduce everything I see.


(1) Bamboo pen and ink (2) Brush and ink

I also had a go with inks and bamboo pen (1).  At first I didn’t like the harsh lines of the bamboo pen but now I think this technique can work for fabric if it is kept  loose. The bleed of the black ink helps to create shadow and form.

In image 2 (overlapping with 1) I used a brush and while I don’t feel this looks like folded fabric, the technique could work for striped fabric if the aim is to depict it in a an impressionistic style.











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