Drawing Drapery / Fabric Study


•    Draw with photorealistic accuracy

•    Apply what you know about chiaroscuro, shadow, hard and soft edges, and reflected light to the three-dimensional forms in folded fabric

•    Compose a balanced drawing


1. Hang a sheet by two thumbtacks or drape a shirt or jacket over an edge.

2. Block out the major shapes you see. Double check proportions and angles of contours/edges.

3. Block in dark, middle, and light tones. Be aware of shadow edges and reflected light. Compare values to each other.The trick is to use the paper as your mid-tone, use BLACK only in the shadows and use WHITE for all the tones lighter than 50%.  Be very careful to only put the white charcoal on clean areas of your paper where there isn’t any black charcoal. If the black and white charcoal mixes they turn a very ugly grey- not pretty! 

4. Refine drawing.Keep your shading SMOOOOOOTH, no hatching or cross-hatching and NO SMUDGING! Practice on an small sheet of grey paper before you dive into your big paper- you are only getting one sheet. 

The examples below are black and white drawings by my AP Art Students. Many are conté crayon on colored or toned paper.   

Below are examples by my AP studio art students which include objects such as fruit or chairs with the fabric:

The black & white examples below are by old-masters:

Below are examples of draped clothing by my AP studio art students:

Great Instructional drapery drawing demo from Tan’s Fine Art Studio:


The following color examples were created by Varsity AP students, or 2nd year AP studio art students. I do not recommend 1st year students attempt color- at least not yet!

The color examples below are by are by old-masters:

Another option for Varsity AP  students is to include the figure &/or the element of motion to the drapery, as seen in these images by my AP studio art students:

Below are some more examples of fabric in motion by old masters:

Below is a tutorial on drawing fabric in motion: