This week, artist Brandi York shares tips on creating realistic fabric folds with Copic markers. Enjoy!
In this tutorial, we’re going to cover rendering folds in fabric. I’m touching on my geek roots again, mixing a bit of Alphonse Mucha with World of Warcraft (e.g., Warlock) and having a ball. In this tutorial, as always, I will be using Copic Sketch markers with a Copic Bleed-resistant Sketchbook.
At this point, I’ve rendered the majority of the piece (although things often change and get touched up as I go along), leaving the gown for last. I picked out my color scheme ahead of time, mostly to try and make sure everything would mesh in the end, particularly with the green flames. I began with a hint of G20 around the edges of the gown, mainly to help draw the green into the gown, despite the fact that it will be purple in the end. Consider it a reflected light from the flames behind.
Beginning with V22 I start to lay in the base color of the gown, careful to leave where the G20 has been laid in. I use the G20 to blend the edges of the two colors together, to create a little more of a glow affect. I moved quickly, not worrying too much about streaking as I hit the skirt of the gown, as most of that will get darkened up.
I move next to V25, laying in the middletone values. I use V22 to soften the edges where the value shifts, leaving it sharper under the folds. I keep in mind the direction of my light as well as the direction the fabric is moving. In many areas, because of the art nouveau style, the lines are already there to dictate which way the fabric is moving. In most of my normal work this would not be the case, so I keep in mind how the fabric is falling. If you’re unsure, you can always drape a bedsheet between two hangers and play with the folds, or wear a coat or dress and take photos of yourself to get the idea of what you’re trying to render. Folds will always be the darkest areas, so I go in and keep layering the V25 until it won’t get any darker.
At this point, I layer some Y21 into the deeper folds for three reasons – one, complementary colors. Yellow and purple are opposites, so one will significantly darken the other. (Although due to the nature of Copics, it will lighten until I layer V25 over it again.) Secondly, it will warm up the shadows, creating a nice contrast to the cool shade of the gown. And third, it draws the color of the background though the piece.
Next, V28 to further darken the folds and shadows. There is a bit of push and pull here at this stage, darkening a good majority of the gown, while maintaining the values we’ve laid in prior. To further push the glow of the green, and enhance the tone of the gown, I layer G20 over the whole of the gown. This brightens the lighter edges of the folds and seems to bring a new depth to the whole gown.
One of my favorite things about Copics is the ability to change your mind. Now, granted, I probably couldn’t go in at this point and decide to make her blonde, but I was able to change part of the drape of the gown to the same shades of pink (RV66 and RV32) that are in the stones in the border. I used the RV66 and some more of Y21 to add some bits of color elsewhere in the gown, again to emphasize the colors and depth of the gown. For the last kick of dark, I used BV29 in the deepest shadows (as well as some RV66 for some variation).
I finish off the whole piece with a Sakura Gelly Roll in white. The beauty of this pen is once dry you can tone the white, as I did in her hair.
Tutorial colors: G20, V22, V25, V28, Y21, RV32, RV66, BV29
Complete colors: G20, V15, V22, V25, V28, Y21, Y23, Y32, RV32, RV66, RV91, RV99,
BV20, BV23, BV25, BV29, R000, E00, E01, E02, E04, E19, E27, E34, YR24, YG21, YG23, YG25
See more of Brandi’s fantastic illustrations on Copic Color, and add your own work while you’re there!