Step-by-Step Demo: Drawing Patterned Drapery

Decorative print, patterns and designs can really add a great deal of interest to an otherwise simple cloth. From patchwork to embroidery, the same general approach applies. Here, an extremely simple line pattern adds a new level of interest to this folded subject.

Follow the step-by-step demonstration below. There are four steps in all.


1.  Begin the drawing with a simple charcoal outline.

2.  Next, establish a value pattern to reveal the basic forms to lay the groundwork.

3.  Then, making a series of refinements and additional variations in the base values results in an already believable collection of folds. The pattern here isn’t very prominent. In fact, it’s quite subtle, allowing the artist to reserve it for the endgame of the drawing. (Note that if there is a larger, more prominent design on the drapery, you need to begin defining it in the earlier stages, as was done in the polished stone example.)

4.  When you finally draw the line pattern, make sure that the line work follows the form. Notice that the pattern shifts in direction to match the twists and turns of the folds, and again, like in the earlier examples, the lines change in value to follow the underlying form. The result is a strong subject with an added level of interest, Drapery Study (charcoal on paper, 8×9) by Steve Mihal.



Anthony Waichulis won the 2006 certification as a “living master” by the Art Renewal Center and has established a national reputation for his trompe l’oeil paintings. An art instructor at his own atelier, the Waichulis Studio in Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania, he is represented by John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. Visit www.thewaichulisstudio.net to see his art or learn about his atelier.

Waichulis’s step-by-step demonstrations—for rendering the textured surfaces of a wooden block, rough and smooth stones and a weathered seashell—appear in the December 2008 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Click here to view another online demonstration, “Step-by-Step Charcoal Demo: Clean Gradations.”


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