Quick Fabric Drawing Tutorial

I’ve put together a really quick pencil tutorial for drawing fabric & folds. It is just pencil on white paper, but the basic concepts can be translated to other mediums. A couple things to remember as you go through this and work on your own drawing…

-As with so many things creatively, this is just one way to approach this… I did this very quickly I would use this technique when drawing from a model in a 15 – 20 minute pose to gather as much info as possible.

-You will notice that mine does not exactly replicate the reference but rather just looks like fabric. My approach to things that are not portraits is that I draw things to make them look real, not duplicate what I see. I draw folds and fabric, NOT specific folds and fabrics. Who will see the reference but me!

Here is the reference. It’s simply a page from a catalog. I do this a lot… it’s good practice.referenceThis one is actually the second step. I did a very light, quick sketch to start, but the image didn’t show the work. You can see it in places under this layer. Note the broken, uneven line on the outside. The fabric is scrunched and wrinkled, so I drew a line that is similar. Then I quickly drew in some lines to replicate the fabric folds.


Next I furthered the line work, adding more folds and details. Does it look like the reference? Yes, but it’s not a perfect replication… that’s ok.


Next I put a layer of tone to give the image an overall value. I’m using the side of the pencil lead so the tone a bit more even. I did a couple layers to give depth and added areas where my lines for the folds fell.


I continued with darkening where needed and even erased in a few places in the folds to add depth.


This whole process took about 20 minutes. I would be able to continue on this and add more detail and realism with what I have here; I could refine the shadows and add some highlights.

Any questions… just ask!

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