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Tips on drawing clothing and material

Art & Illustration Blog

Here you will find my latest WIPs, tips and updates for all things art and drawing related.

Tips on drawing clothing and material

Laura Eddy

This is a quick 'tutorial' to give you a little insight into how I draw certain materials - Maybe it will give you some ideas! In this particular drawing, we have corduroy (the jacket) and the blouse / undershirt.


Drawing the corduroy jacket is quite a repetitive process for me as I like to build up a lot of tones through making lines, smudging, highlighting and repeating (see below).

I drew a set of lines in the directions of the material; curves around the edges, angles as well as keeping perspective in mind (parallel lines will appear to drift closer together the further away they are). I then muted these lines by smudging with a tissue. Once I was happy that all the lines were where I wanted them to be, I repeated the lines again but filled them in using more of a shading process. This started to give the effect of little ridges. I repeated the smudging and shading process again and then used my Tombow eraser pen to highlight the center of the ridges.

Blouse / Undershirt

The under shirt was a different process, with no lines involved. I started by lightly shading in the the areas that were to be dark (around the neck and tie etc) and smudging over it with a tissue to get the smooth effect. I then highlighted the ridges by erasing lightly with the bar eraser. Once again, this process was repeated until I was happy with how it looked. These are the guidelines I generally follow in regards to a standard material.

  • Small rides (or bulges in the material) are generally look lighter and can have a sharper gradation from light to dark (see around tie).
  • Bigger, rounder bulges (see the bottom right of under shirt) typicallyhave a more gradual transition from dark to light.
  • The more height the ridge has, the more shadow it will produce.
  • A softer transition gives the appearance of smoothness.

To practice, find a photo of some material and use it as a reference to get a feel for the tonal values. The image below is a good example!