Drawing Cloth (a step by step tutorial)

Cloth is everywhere and learning how to draw it realistically can really improve your work. Drawing from life now can make the work more believable later whether it is from your imagination or not.

So, grab a sheet or some other cloth that is handy and arrange it in a well lighted place. Have a variety of pencils, a blending tool, and a kneaded eraser ready and let’s start.


Any great drawing needs to start with an accurate sketch. If the sketch isn’t correct your drawing just isn’t going to turn out looking right. I gently sketched out the main shape of the cloth with a mechanical pencil. Remember to press lightly and use a sharp pencil that can be easily erased. That way you can adjust your drawing multiple times to get it right before going on to the shading.


During this next stage I used a HB pencil and lightly shaded all the dark areas. Make sure not to go too dark at first so that your drawing can still be adjusted as needed. Remember that cloth will have rounded edges and that you will need to shade it like you would a ball. Keep in mind the core shadows, cast shadows, and reflected light.


Next, I used a 6B wood-less graphite pencil to get some of the darkest values on the cloth. As you can see the dark pencil tends to lay on top of the paper and leaves a rough or grainy texture.

I blended the rough texture with a paper blending tool to give the cloth a softer texture. Then, I went back over the darker areas with a HB pencil to blend and darken.


The last stage is always the hardest, so, don’t give up! Remember that your eraser can be as important as your pencils. Use a kneaded eraser to remove any smudges and lighten highlights. Use your 6B pencil to go over the darker areas again and add some cast shadows. Darkening the negative shape behind your object can make it pop into the foreground.

Have fun drawing cloth! I’d love to see how your drawing turn out.


About cherith@aspencreekart.com

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