Drawing drapery creases
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    Drawing drapery creases

    Hi all,

    I've the Hogarth's drapery drawing book, am at the "crossing wrinkles" part now and already I'm so overwhelmed by the way he explains things; can't even understand what he's talking about.
    Fell asleep within 4 mins of opening his book.

    The part on the direct thrust and bend wrinkles are still manageable. I also have the Cliff Young and Vilppu's drapery books.

    I can understand the logic behind how these folds are created, but.....

    Anyway, my biggest problem is with those zig-zag, spiral and half-lock folds (those diaper folds etc. I can handle)
    The worst is the zig-zag ones.

    See this:

    Look at the zig-zag folds on both arms, especially the far arm.

    My biggest problem is that when I try to draw these, I get lost half-way because the pattern of the creases are too overwhelmingly complex for the eyes, then I've to go back searching the creases up and down to see where I last left off!!! I know the advice is to "just draw 10,000 hours of such drapery" but I wonder if there's any tips to lessen the pain and help me out, even slightly.

    Thanks a lot!
    Xeon

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    I posted this recently in another drapery thread
    http://sevencamels.blogspot.com.es/search/label/folds
    It helped me a lot when I was muddling through the Hogarth drapery book. In general I find Hogarth tries to express things in the most complicated terms possible, thereby muddying the simplest concepts. With the best of intentions, I'm sure. Steve Lieber saw my struggling and leant me his actual copy of the FA book with this drapery section.

    As to the zig-zag folds; I find it helpful to ignore the "criss-crossing lines", and focus on the negative spaces, the staggered, sort of "swiss-cheese" holes that wrap around the form. Near bends like the inside of the elbow they'll be many, small, precise, then progressively larger and looser as they radiate out from the bend, until they resolve into the flat shape of the drape. This way instead of carefully mapping the lines to make creases with definite top and side planes which result in a staggered pattern of hollows, you start with the pattern of hollows, and lines representing the creases result. I'm between scanners or I'd try a couple demos to illustrate. as it is, hope this makes sense.

    Okay, looking at your photo I see I need to amend my statements a bit. The holes aren't necessarily progressive in size and precision. It's really like swiss-cheese patterns in being more random, as small precise hollows can appear near large, loose, even incomplete hollows.

    Last edited by Cory Hinman; December 5th, 2012 at 08:40 AM.
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    Work in passes, throw some lines to mark where the main folds are (keep it loose). Then look again and correct any mistakes you see and add the smaller in-between folds. Then add the shadows or even smaller folds. Work on all around the area in each pass. Don't try to chew it all at the same time

    Cheers!

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    Don't copy. Get in the habit of deciding whats important to your drawing or painting and ignore the rest. Get the flow and idea of them across the form and that's all. Find the starting point for the action and then only pick whats important to describe the effect. Folds are the effect of a body bending and twisting, and the effect is always a secondary interest.

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    Wow, thanks a lot for the replies guys! Especially to Cory; the Famous Artist drapery section should be able to help enlighten me! Yeah, I know what you mean by cheese folds and negative space in the folds; will try that method of seeing things.

    On a side note, not sure if anyone has read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Guide-...rawing+drapery
    The author presents a computer-model methodology of describing the folds and it's probably more dry and harder to digest than Hogarth's!

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    While Hogarth does an ok job in explaining the various types of folds, he fails in demonstrating their application. Drapery is a tool to show form in space, movement, energy, gesture, and as such, you should show just enough drapery to model, move, energize, gesture, without obscuring it. Hogarth does his very best to show as many folds as he can cram into the poor model's clothes, totally obscuring their purpose...

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    The best thing really is to throw a coat on a chair and see how the seven laws apply in real life. There's beautiful sculptural qualities in really well arranged and interestingly lit drapery arrangements. Only in studying from life do you really get to appreciate how weight and thickness of the material of the drape affect how quickly and rhythmically it drops to the floor, which is what it's always trying to do. Hm. I may set up something if we get the kids down for the night okay...

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    Unless you're super-keen on hyper-realism and detail, don't draw all the creases. Half the trick in drawing is knowing what to leave out. Fashion design or fashion illustration books can probably help you stylize creases nicely.

    If, for some reason you need to do an exact drapery study, approach it methodically instead of letting your eye jump around and getting confused. Put in the big shapes and then focus on each area in turn until it's relatively done, then step back and tighten the whole thing up.

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    Jack hamm's book has a section on this in his book, drawing the head and figure.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Thanks guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Jack hamm's book has a section on this in his book, drawing the head and figure.
    Hi Omen! Yeah, I've the book but while Hamm is a very good author and teacher, the book's section on drapery is mostly stylized; I was looking more like the basics behind it etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Unless you're super-keen on hyper-realism and detail, don't draw all the creases. Half the trick in drawing is knowing what to leave out. Fashion design or fashion illustration books can probably help you stylize creases nicely.
    Check out this guy's paintings here: (the forum can't seem to interpret links properly now, so I'm posting the link as an image instead).

    The biggest goal in my whole life is to be able to paint something like this; if you look at the folds and drapery on his figures, it is quite logical to assume that when people like him started out, they probably did intense drapery studies by drawing all the creases and then slowly stylizing and simplifying them as they get better. LOL

    Thanks guys!
    Xeon

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    Well, if you're going for non-stylized then you're better off with a handkerchief and an apple. A bed sheet and a chair.

    Best way to see it is to 'see' it. Analyze it. Really look at it.

    Book will give you another artist's interpretation so it's always going to be stylized.

    Even for what you do, want to do, will be stylized. Cannot avoid this fact.

    Interpretation.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    My biggest problem is that when I try to draw these, I get lost half-way because the pattern of the creases are too overwhelmingly complex for the eyes, then I've to go back searching the creases up and down to see where I last left off!!!
    I don't have advice, but I can commiserate, because I have that exact same problem, not just with drapery but with any complex patterns. What I notice with the ones I have the most problems with is this: the patterns are not quite random. They consist of units that repeat, but with variations.

    Take, for example, the rosette-shaped spots on a leopard: they repeat all over the animal, however, no two rosettes are exactly alike, and their size also changes depending on where on the animal they are. Same thing with, for example, the creases in the skin of an elephant or old person: like fractals, they are all alike but not identical. I notice the same phenomenon in a lot of drapery (and sand dunes, which are similar to drapery). And it is these kinds of complex patterns that I tend to get hopelessly lost in, far more so than with complexity that is completely random - because the units resemble one another, it is very easy to lose track of which one I am busy with! I haven't found any solution other than greatly simplifying them - I'm never going to be a photorealist, I fear. :-)

    Last edited by blogmatix; December 5th, 2012 at 11:31 PM.
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    Well, that's why you should suggest instead of duplicating and interpret instead of copying.

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    Arenhaus: Yes. I never had a teacher and only found out that sort of thing recently. I started out with the rather naive belief that art is basically a process of copying photos, and that the more you can make it look like a photo, the better it is. Now, some people have the eye (not to mention the patience!) for that, and can copy photos remarkably well. I actually like well done photorealism. But no amount of study or practice ever got me anywhere remotely close to that ability, not even using a grid on a reference photo. Not to even mention the sheer boredom of doing that.

    Nowadays I am content with scribbles - if I can learn how to suggest the 3D form with my scribbles, instead of merely trying to copy contours, I think I will experience some sense of accomplishment.

    Will finally have time to get back to it in a week or two, then I'll try to put some of my thoughts into practice and see if I get anywhere.

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    Now this is quite revolutionary to me. (Though I had wondered whether "copying" is better than just getting the general idea across.)
    I want to paint from the imagination. Is it still useful to do this not-exact-copy drawing as a study? I mean, when I do a study it is to improve the realistic aspect of my fictional illustrations. Thus wouldn't I learn by copying life? Would just imitating it as I wish end up with me not learning anything?
    Or does just a scribble allow you to learn a great deal of the reality? Could the mind possibly take away just as much information from life in a scribble as in a more exact piece, due to all that the mind takes in?

    EDIT:Reworded.

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