Fashion Drawing For Dummies
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Folds don’t just fall without purpose — there are reasons why cloth pulls and moves on your fashion figure. When material moves in different directions (because you’ve drawn a fashion figure really working it), folds appear.

The placement and appearance of the folds partly depends on how you’ve drawn your fashion figure, because the folds show areas where the fabric is stretched or compressed. Include folds when you draw a shirt tucked into another garment, a super tight piece of clothing, or a gathered or draped piece of clothing.

The type of fabric also affects the draping. Lighter fabrics that fall loosely (like chiffons, light cottons, silk, and thin flannels) move more than stiffer, heavier fabrics (like leather, suitings, and wool).

As you draw a fashion figure striking a fierce pose, include some key folds. Look at fashion magazines or watch clips of runway models strutting their stuff to check out how the fabric falls against the elbows, knees, crotch, chest, and hips; you need to draw only one or two lines or curves to convey movement.

Don’t draw too many fashion folds, or your drawings will look overworked and confusing. When you draw a clothed fashion figure, folds most commonly form at bended areas such as at the waist, hip, crotch, elbows, and knees.

Here’s how to draw simple folds in casual clothes:
  1. Sketch a fashion figure with her right elbow and leg bent. Dress her in a simple shirt and pants.

  2. Draw a few curved lines going inside the shirt where the elbow bends, and add some curved lines outside the elbow to show the folds.

    Drawing curves is an awesome way to show the folds in fabric.

  3. Draw some curves where the knee bends the same way you drew them for the elbow. Add some curves for the breasts and crotch area.

    Add shading around the fold lines to show depth in the fabric.


How to Draw Folds in Hanging Fabric

Some fashion models are fortunate enough to wear glam dresses and gowns, where the cloth tumbles into a beautiful cascade. Many noted designers use bolts and bolts of fabric to get gorgeous hanging folds.

Don’t draw little curves at the hemline of a dress and expect them to look like folds. Choose a few key folds and follow their form from where they begin down to the hemline for good fashion results. Graceful folds in soft or light fabrics originate from a focal point like a bodice, a sleeve, or the back of the dress and follow the line of your fashion figure.

Here’s how to draw your fashion figure in a dream of a dress with a two-tiered floating skirt featuring loads of folds:
  1. Lightly sketch a fashion figure of a woman wearing an asymmetrical hem dress.

  2. Draw a few lines around the neckline in curved shapes crossing over and underneath each other.

  3. Draw two rows of curved lines for the hem. At the bend of each curve, draw a line going up to show the folds of the fabric.

    Give the fold lines a little bit of curve to convey the skirt’s movement.


Fabric characteristics such as weight and flexibility — in other words, gravity and fit of the clothing on the body — can affect the appearance of folds:

  • Soft and light woven fabrics can hug the body, but they often swirl and float away from the body when a fashion model is in motion.

  • Lightweight knits hang in soft folds while also fitting around the body horizontally in small, snug folds.

  • Stiff, heavyweight fabrics such as denim hang with large, rigid curves.

  • Stiff, lightweight fabrics such as polyester or silk tafetta can fold with sharp angles and tend to take on a shape of their own, with somewhat soft folds and other sharp folds.

Folds also count when drawing tight clothing

Draw a long, lean fashion figure and show her (or him) off in clothes that really hug that bod. Some clothes are really tight, and why not? On the body of a fashion figure, that’s often the way they look best! No matter how tight the shirt, dress, or pants are, folds do exist — tinier ones. You need to add them to show how even the tightest of fabrics stretch.

You’re your own best model for figuring out where folds should fall in your sketches. Put on a tight pair of jeans or leggings and stand in front of a mirror with one hand on your hip. Where do you see folds?

You typically see them where the body bends. Notice that the tighter the area of bending, the smaller the folds are. Your body is three-dimensional and full of curves and angles, so when clothing is tight, you’ll always have areas with folds.

Now try the same pose while wearing loose jeans or pants. Again, notice where the fabric folds and how large those folds are. When clothing is looser, the fabric folds in places where the body bends and where gravity pulls the fabric down.

Even the tightest articles of clothing have folds at the elbows, hips, crotch, ankles, and knees in a fashion drawing.

Here’s how to draw a tight dress and even tighter leggings:
  1. Draw a female fashion figure.

  2. Map out a tight little dress and leggings on her body.

  3. Draw a few small lines to show folds at the elbows, knees, stomach, and ankles. Add one or two diagonal folds under the breasts and use shading to add depth to the folds.


About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Marianne Egan teaches fashion illustration and design, apparel construction, and more. Lisa Smith Arnold teaches art and drawing, including fashion illustration, at Norwalk Community College.?She has also served as creative coordinator and fashion editor at several major publications.

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