In recent years so ranch emphasis has been placed on fabrics in fashion that it is necessary for the artist to make a special study of them and learn to capture the spirit of the fabric in each costume he illustrates. In order to depict the difference between chiffon and crepe, between organdy and taffeta, he must become thoroughly familiar with the qualities, the character, the feeling and effect on figure lines, and the relative amounts of light and shadow absorbed or reflected by each.

Outlines tell much of the fabric story. The mere outline of a drape in a chiffon dress tells the observer immediately that it is a soft clinging fabric. But some fabrics drape alike and yet have different characteristics in other ways. In his study of fabrics the artist will soon learn which cling to the figure and which flare from it. When drawing he must also have uppermost in his mind whether the fabric is dull or shiny, transparent or thick and heavy, soft or coarse.

Some fabrics are more easily portrayed in wash, while others are more realistic in pen and ink, but the artist should learn to illustrate all fabrics in both media.

Fabrics may be classified generally into two groups:

1) Those that absorb light.

2) Those that reflect light*

Fabrics that absorb light are dull and are expressed in very subtle contrasts. Either high-lights or shadows are used to show form and drapery, but rarely both. The use of both lends too much brilliance and sparkle.

Fabrics that reflect light are expressed in very bold brilliant contrasts. Both shadows and high-lights are employed. The more contrast in tones, the more sparkle.

Listed below are the most popular fabrics in today's styles and the manner in which they are to be illustrated. It is difficult to list the outstanding characteristics of the fabrics, as there are generally several qualities to each fabric and each quality has different traits. These instructions are based on the most commonly used types,

SATIN reflects very strong light and deep shadows; drapes softly to the figure in most varieties. Slipper satin is an exception to this rule, as it is stiff and stands away from the figure. Satin is extremely shiny and can be illustrated in either pen and ink or wash to equal advantage. Work in bold technique. If a wash treatment is used, tones may be applied in a flat direct manner, confining the number of tones to four, counting black and white. Or the tones may be blended, in which case the high-lights should be left pure white even if the garment is black. Black or very dark shadows are used for all colors of satins.. Pastel tints are used less sparingly. Examples, Pages 79, 80, 84.

In pen sketches of satin the shadows are massed in with black ink. The high-lights remain white. An intermediate value may be illustrated by the use of Ben Day or one of the processed-tone papers. A satin effect may be obtained through only the two values if necessary. Highlights should be bold and gleaming. This shiny effect will be more natural-looking if high-lights are quivery.

Fashion Drawing Sections

Part-1 Part-2 Part-3