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.

 

Watercolor Portrait Tutorial

Painting a portrait can be tough and painting one with watercolor can be really tricky. Here is a tutorial that will help you get though it step by step. So, grab some paper and paint and let’s get started.

 

The first and most important stage of a watercolor painting is the drawing. If you don’t get the proportions right in the beginning your whole painting will be off. This is because watercolor paint will stain your paper and if you get paint in the wrong place, it is hard if not impossible to remove.

After you sketch out your face, you will want to start blocking in the lightest colors on your portrait. Remember to keep the white areas white. Then take a break, get some tea, and let the whole thing dry for a few minutes.

Next, you will want to start working on the form of the face and adding in some of the darker areas. Look for the shapes of the sparkles in the eyes and leave them white for now. I like to finish the eyes early on in the painting so that they can be a good reference for the face tones. Try to think of the colors and shadows on the face as shapes and fill them in with color.

Next you will want to finish the hair. It helps to think of the hair as a shape instead of bogged down with individual hairs. Using a round brush will help you get thin lines. Because the hair was the darkest part of this painting, finishing this stage helped me get the right values on the rest of the painting.

Adding a color wash behind your portrait can really help it pop. Use a big brush and be careful as you cut in around the edges of the figure. After everything was dried, I used a damp brush to soften any hard edges on the face and between the background and the hair. I also added a little color to the whites of the eyes and to a couple of the sparkles. Check out some of my other watercolor portraits here.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the process!