Exercise 1 Drawing fabric using line and tone
Throw a piece of clothing or a length of plain fabric (so you don’t get distracted by pattern) across a chair to make folded and soft layers of fabric and then, using an appropriate medium for each, make two 15-minute sketches, one using line only and the other concentrating on tone.
Loosely divide a large sheet of paper into 8–12 cm squares and draw five-minute sketches of different parts of the fabric. Look at the shapes caused by the folds and use lines to follow the curves, rises and falls as though the tip of the pencil is walking along the ‘landscape’ of the cloth.
Before starting I did some research on different types of fabric folds. There are loads of videos on Youtube and websites; for example (Art Inspiration | Inspiration | Art Techniques | Encouragement | Art Supplies, 2017).
Based on these I did a quick thumbnail guide in my sketchbook.
With lots of combinations and variations in between I found it useful to try to identify the different types of folds; pipe folds, zigzag, spiral, diaper, flying, inert and half lock and drop.
The key learning point for me was to focus on identifying soft and hard edges. Where I got this right it really works – you get the feel for the 3-dimensional shape of the fabric.
Using charcoal and chalk allowed for big sweeping marks that are appropriate to flowing fabric.
Using a stub to blend gave more control of the edges and a softer overall Finnish.
Using coloured paper allowed an exploration of the full tonal range – it would have been much harder on white paper. On reflection, the white chalk is probably too white.
Blocking in the black background pushes the cloth forwards. Lisa Addinsal, an Australian artist uses this chiaroscuro effect really nice way in this charcoal piece (Addinsall, 2017).
Art Inspiration | Inspiration | Art Techniques | Encouragement | Art Supplies. (2017). 5 Types of folds and how to draw them. [online] Available at: https://keetonsonline.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/5-types-of-folds-and-how-to-draw-them/ [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].
Lisa Addinsall. [online] Lisa Addinsall. Available at: http://www.lisaaddinsall.com [Accessed 9 Nov. 2017].