The function and form of fabric

Everything we hove learned so far has prepared us for the next step: drawing the model clothed.

The first thing to remember when drawing the clothed figure is that you are drawing a clothed figure. You must understand a figure's actions and anatomy before you can tackle the issue of clothes.

Fabric now takes on the f orces and form of the person wearing it, thus making it clothing. Clothes hang on us, usually f rom the shoulders and the waist. Paying attention to the moments f rom which clothes hang is most of the story when it comes to drawing clothes.

Clothes can be a quick read as far as what the body underneath is doing. For example, if someone in a shirt were to bend over, you would see crumpled cloth around the stomach and stretch over the back. This is a symbol of the simplicity of the figure's function. The same phenomenon can happen in a smaller moment, like a bent knee or elbow.

The other major attribute of clothes is the fact that they wrap around the form of our figures and have holes to suit the way our bodies are built. Look at collars, waists, and sleeves, and also don't forget the seams where the clothing has been stitched together. These examples can help you describe the figure's form.

When first confronted with drawing the clothed model, I find it wise for the student to first find the function and form of the model. Then draw the clothes and notice where they hang from. See how the story the clothes show you relates to the forces of the pose. In the beginning, draw all of the wrinkles you observe. This will more quickly make you realize how clothes work.

A couple of books I can recommend on the subject of clothing are "Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery" by Burne Hogarth and George Bridgeman's "Complete Guide to Drawing From Life." Hogarth's book is good in that he explains clothing in a directional force oriented method. He shows different types of wrinkles and pulls in clothing. The problem with this book for animation is that he draws all of the wrinkles and therefore the illustrations are too busy. You don't want to get caught up in doing this yourself. Clarity of the idea of the pose is what will make your drawings strong and loud.

Bridgeman describes different types of folds in the back of his book. They also are good to know. I believe that in the end, your observation and understanding of what the body is doing will help you achieve more believable clothed figure drawings.

Here is a recap of ways to approach the clothed figure:

1. Recognize the type of material you are drawing. Different materials wrinkle in different ways. Their breaking points vary and the kind of line you draw them with can express their texture.

2. I look at how and where on the body clothes hang from. Find the point, i.e., the shoulders, waist, or knees.

3. Always use the exits and entrances of clothing to help define form. I'm talking about the collar, sleeves, waist, etc. The stitching is just as useful. Look at where sleeves are attached or how pants are put together.

4. See the simplicity of stretch to compressed. Clothes can quickly tell you what is happening. Leyendecker and Cornwell were both excellent at drawing clothing.

How Draw Pants Copresze

This drawing has examples of everything I discussed earlier. Force and form create the moments.

1. Here we see the thickness created by the fold in the shirt's collar. This gives us a sense of the stiffness of the material. Also see how the collar wraps around the model's neck to show form.

2. Look at how the material drops down f rom the shoulder and locks into a thick wrinkle that wraps around the arm.

3. The thickness of the pants is greater than that of the shirt as shown here.

4. The bottom of the shirt wraps around the form of the leg.

5. The weight of the jeans shoots down the leg and splits because of a locked fold near the ankle.

Bridgeman Arms

This is o great example of finding evidence of the figure through the clothes. Look ot the model's left leg. See how the filled shape falls ond hangs from the structure of the leg. His right knee shows the pants creasing oway f rom it ond down towards the ankle.

Virtual Pose

So here we hove o simple exomple of clothes wrapping around the model's forms. Look at the different ellipses and how they determine the specif ic volumes and angles in the perspectives they reside in.

Life Drawing With Clothes

Look ot how the clothes wrop around the model's body in this drawing by Mike. The curve of the shirt ond that of her pants tell us how her body moves in space. See how the pants lock into o wrinkle because of the downward force of the knee. He uses straight to curve in the sleeves ond in the right leg. The leg has a curve to multiple straights.

In time, you want to be able to simplify the confusion of clothing. The ideas you draw from the clothing need to support the idea of the pose. You must learn to draw what the idea of the pose needs ond delete what hinders it to keep the drawings animated. Here are more efficient ond clearer drawings:

The neck hole of the shirt defines the form of thot area. See how it hangs from her shoulders over her breasts. The sleeve of her left arm tells us her arm is coming forward by the overlap in the wrinkles and the elliptical shape of the sleeve opening. Look at how it drapes over her legs, revealing their roundness.

Here we con clearly see how the model's belt describes the angle change between the side of her hip and her back. The roughed-in pockets also help describe the roundness of her buttocks.

Drawing Wrinkels Sleeves

The backpack here is a great tool for describing the direction in space of the back. The pockets on his right leg show us its roundness of form.

Sketch Drawings Backpacks

This drawing really gives a great sense of stretch in a highly efficient manner. Look at the straights and curves of her legs. The lines that describe the wrinkles around her back and left knee give us form.

Wrinkles Around Knees

Let's return to drawing small and thinking big. These two drawings could be animation keys. Both show straight to curve in the upper body. See how that force is balanced with the strong curve of the left leg in the left drawing. Notice the minimal approach to the wrinkles in the model's costume. The drawing on the right has more information about the clothes. See the stretched fabric near the left knee, or how it is compressed in the right.

Over Her Knee Drawings

I love the clarity of this drawing. Obviously having a great, hard working model really helps also. See how the stretched triangular shape created by the arms and the back works against the pressure of the left leg. There is evidence of this in the way I treated the shoe. The back left pocket helps define form.

This drawing has the shirt crumpled on one side and stretched on the other to give you the concept of bending over.

Another great pose. To discuss line quality a little more, I feel the upper body comes across as flesh and the lower os cloth. See the distinctive idea of each leg and its structure. The modef s right leg has a sense of the knee being locked back. The other is all work in the quadriceps.

Here the long soft curves of the coot help us understond its texture. The difference in the curves of the boots explains its fabric.

C. Fun with Shapes

Clothing offers us more shapes to play with. This means new inspirations for describing the specific model and story of each pose.

Example Downtrodden

This drawing and the next are a great example of contrast in story. Above we find the meager, downtrodden, old peasant woman. Here her jacket engulfs and protects her from the outside world.

Tesxtured Compression Hose

Here the some model shows us o woman with strength ond confidence. The large shape of the jacket seems to support this idea.

The main play in shape here is the size of the jacket against a small head and thin legs. These elements still help to give us an interesting character.

I love this drawing. It is rich with character. Look at the texture of the right forearm against the right wrist and the bracelets on the left arm. I love the large hands and the marks on the stockings to represent the stripes and roundness of her legs. The shape of her hair is fun also.

I want you to realize that clothing is not only a topic you should understand technically. Clothing can tell a story. When drawing people, ask yourself some of these questions: What kinds of clothes does this person wear? What color are the clothes and what kinds of materials are they made of? Are the clothes snug or of a more relaxed fit? All of this gives you inside information about a person. It starts to give you a personal story. Notice yourself and figure out why you wear the clothes you do and how they represent you.

"Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly." Epictetus

Chapter Five: On location, Reportage

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