Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to draw Clothes and Folds!

Hey world!

In this drawing lesson, you will learn how to draw clothes and folds!
The lesson will be built in a way that will allow you to build a good understanding of the basics, and to continue learning and improving on your own!

Before we begin with the drawing lesson itself, let me make something clear. Drawing folds and clothing is SUPER easy! The reason I say this, is because very little technique is actually required (of course - with some exceptions). The challenge in drawing folds in a realistic way however, is the fact that it does require a good understanding of how folds and fabric "behave" in different situations.

But, once you get the basics down, it becomes really simple, and my goal is to get you through the basics, so you can continue your journey by observation and self studying folds and clothing in more depth.

But enough with that, lets start drawing! We will begin with the basic types of folds.

Types Of Folds

Here I will present the basic types of folds. Some of these overlap, and some contain others within them. study the folds carefully, and create them on your own. My suggestion is to actually grab a small towel and follow my instructions. Do this, and you will understand these in no time!

Spiral folds

how to draw folds spiral
Click image to enlarge

These are the type of folds that occur when a piece of fabric is "squeezed" on the body it is on. In order to understand this, wear a long sleeved shirt or a sweater, pull your sleeves up and look at the folds created. This type of folds is also common on some types of curtains, as well as waistbands that have a rubber band inserted into them (the rubber band pulls the fabric and creates these folds).
Notice I drew a simplified, red colored version to help you understand the basics of this type of fold. That's it for the spiral folds!

Zigzag folds

how to draw folds zigzag

Here is the zigzag fold in all of it's might!
This fold occurs on the inside part of a fabric that is was bended many times, for example - in pants, behind the knees. Another good place to look for them is wearing a jacket and slightly bending your arms.
This type of folds looks sort of like square-ish diamonds, created by zigzagged lines. I find these pretty easy to draw, since you can throw a couple of zigzagged lines and that's about it (not taking into account the shading). Again - look at the red simplified version.
Something I will point out in a later part of this drawing lesson, is the thickness of the fabric. Look at how the two right examples are of thinner fabrics, and notice how it influences the thickness of the folds. We will see more of this in future examples.

For more in depth explanation, check out my new eBook, which is The BEST, cheapest resource out there on drawing FOLDS and CLOTHES. Get your copy now and MASTER this skill-set!

Diaper folds

how to draw folds diaper

Here is a fun one....
Diaper folds are created when a fabric hangs on two points (or areas) of support. This typically happens when a towel is hanged to dry using two clips. These folds are pulled between the two points, creating somewhat rounded shapes, that "lead" to one of the points.
At the bottom right example you can see how there are two areas (not points) of support.
These are also pretty straight forward and simple to draw.

Half lock folds

how to draw folds half lock

This fold is a brother of the zigzag and spiral folds. It occurs when a fabric changes it's direction abruptly, causing it to layer on top of itself. This can be found in bended knees (similar to the zigzag folds, only in a different place) and arms. Again, look at the difference between thick and thin fabrics.

Pipe folds

how to draw folds pipe

One of my personal favourites. This fold is really versatile, and can be found in many places. One simple way to make it, is to grab a towel with both hands, and pull them away from each other. In pipe folds, the fabric is sort of "layered", not as much as it does in the half lock folds, but just enough to create these "pipes". Also look at both examples of curtains. In the bottom right one, notice how the pattern follows the shape of the pipes.

Drop folds

how to draw folds drop

This type of folds is created when a fabric is hanging loosely from a point (or area) of support.
It is important to mention that this fold contains other types of folds, such as the pipe folds, but is more complicated, as it can contain many more shapes and folds (like on both examples on the right). The way to study these, since they can vary a lot, is by creating them. Take a towel, a shirt or whatever at hand, and hang it like you would with laundry, when you don't have a drier [= . You can also use a door knob for this, which is good, since it creates an area of support, which will help you to discover more varieties of this fold. After careful studying you will begin to have a feel for these folds, and they would become more fun to draw. Now onto the last type of folds...

Check out my new website and subscribe for a FREE eBook! (=

Inert folds

how to draw folds inert

I saved this for last for a good reason. A bit like drop folds, this type of fold is extremely versatile. The best way I found to study it, is to throw a piece of fabric on the floor, and to draw it. I have done it many times, specifically for this drawing lesson. What you will find, is that every time you drop the fabric - it looks different! But that's a good thing.
Since there are no clear "rules" to drawing it:
1. It cuts straight through techniques and "cheating", and actually forces you to understand how clothing and fabric works.
2. You can go all out when drawing it, and create a lot of complex folds, layers and shapes.


These are all of the main types of folds. Now I would like to talk about a few other aspects that influence the way folds look like when drawn.

Thick fabric VS Thin fabric

draw folds fabric thickness

Look at these examples. Thick fabrics usually lead to fewer, thicker folds. Thin fabrics usually lead to the creation of many thin, varied and layered folds. Also look at how the edges of the folds and fabrics make it look thick or thin.

Small VS Large quantity of fabric

draw folds fabric quantity

The more fabric there is, the more folds are created. This is pretty intuitive, but also pay attention to the complexity of the folds. More fabric usually leads to more complex folds, and more layers and inert folds. Drawing a big piece of fabric, like a thin drapery, can actually become quite a challenge!

Points of support / Pulling of the fabric

draw folds support points pulling

The key here is understanding that folds are usually created in such a way that they are pointing towards (or away if you rather) the point of support, or the direction in which they are pulled. Look at the different examples to understand what I mean, and try manipulating the folds on a piece of clothing, and see how they "react".

Size of the object "wearing" the fabric

draw folds loose tight

Nothing mind blowing here. Generally, the more the fabric is worn tightly on the object / body, the less folds we will see. Also, the folds that do occur will usually be smaller.

More fun

Besides drawing folds, there are many more things to learn about!
Here are but a few examples of objects and concepts to get your creative mind working.

draw folds clothes buttons zippers


That's it for today's drawing lesson on how to draw clothes and folds. The lesson did focus almost solely on folds, but I find that after you learn how the draw these, learning how to draw each individual clothing item is a cinch. As always, I recommend you to go outside and observe and draw folds on real people and real clothes. Don't make it obvious though, that you are drawing them (; .

Also, check out my new website and subscribe for a FREE eBook! (=

See you on the next drawing lesson!

- Liron


  1. Cool! I like this lesson & your blog :D

    1. Wow thank you so much!

      I keep working hard to make it the most useful to people, happy I can help!

      And I'll be sure to make more quality content real soon (:

      - Liron

  2. Hey there!! You just made everything so clear to me. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, I'm happy I could help!
      Feel free to ask question if you have any (:

  3. Hi and thx for the guides :D it helps alot :D
    I will follow U from now on :D

    1. I am happy to hear that [=

      Good luck and feel free to ask for further help!

  4. Is this guide based on the Famous Artists Course unit 7 or did you arrive on these categories independently? If so, you are very very talented, since the categories are EXACTLY the same.

  5. With AI anyone can generate clothes and also replace clothes in photos or to turn sketches to real clothes. How cool is that?
    There are lots of online AI clothes changer Apps to try for free.