Painting Folds In Cloth

Getting The Right Look With Important Details

Folds are found all around. In clothing, table cloths, draperies – really any fabric covered object. Folds have a couple unique characteristics that can make them tricky to look right.  This lesson will show you how to paint folds in cloth so that they look right in your paintings. We’ll put some special attention on getting those important details just right

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Three Important Details

There are three important things to pay atttention to when painting folds in cloth.

First is the overall soft texture of fabric in general. What this means is that there will be a predominance of soft edges and contours

Second is something known as the  “core of the shadow”.  The core of the shadow appears along the edge where the fold turns away from the light into the shade side. This area is typically slightly darker than the rest of the shade side and has a soft edge because the curve creates a gradual change from light to shade.

Third is the appearance of many “gradations” of color and value from darker to lighter areas, all over the surface of the cloth and especially along the shallower parts of the fold.

Folds in cloth are a tricky subject, but with practice and attention to these special charateristics, you’ll start getting them right in no time.

What You’ll Need For This Lesson:

  • Watercolor Paper – about 7″ x 11″ – as always, Arches 140lb Cold Press is recommended
  • Paint – Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna
  • Brushes – Medium and Small Round


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