This week on the blog, we’re talking about all things chiffon (no, I don’t mean the cake). Chiffon is a french word that means rag or cloth. The fabric can be made of silk, polyester, or other synthetic fiber. It is very lightweight, sheer, fragile, and drapes well. In this sketch along tutorial, we will be going over specific techniques to accurate depict how fabric behaves and draw it realistically. Due to the sheerness of chiffon, I prefer to use paint to create many layers and a see-through illusion. Paint allows you to have more control over layering and mixing the exact shades.
– Heavy paper for paint
– Acrylic paint
– A surface for blending paint shades (I typically just use tinfoil)
– Variety of paint brush sizes
– Skteching pencils
First, sketch an outline of the garment. For this particular sketch, I wanted to create a garment that would show off the movement and drape of chiffon. I chose a sheer asymmetrical, draped, dress with a short lined skirt underneath and an off-the-shoulder, cowl, neckline. I created curves in the hem and at the neckline to show the drape of the fabric.
Next, I filled in the skin tone. This is important to do first for this sketch because in order to create the illusion of a sheer fabric, we will be layering on top of the skin (the legs in this case).
Start filling in the garment with paint. Fill in the bodice and skirt under layer first.
Then lightly fill in the rest of the garment with the lightest shade. Keep it looking sheer and light over the legs.
Create layering and depth by adding a mixture of light and dark shades on the fabric folds. The folds curving inward, away from the light should have darker tones compared to the areas folding out towards the light. Also keep in mind that the bottom of the skirt will have less volume, depth and layers. This means, the bottom of the garment should have lighter shades than the top.
Go through and keep adding layers, blending shades, and adding more under it accurately depicts the real fabric. Cautiously paint over the legs with a light coat that leaves some exposed to give the look of sheerness. Sketching is not perfection. There are no rewards to coloring within the lines and filling everything in. I think it adds dimension and interest to leave some blank space, as I did by not filling it in on the legs.
Use the same technique to create a cowl, draped neckline on the top.
Add hair, facial features, and other details to complete the sketch.
Here is the completed sketch. Was is easy to sketch along with? How did your sketch turn out? Leave your thoughts and comments below! This tutorial was specifically for chiffon, but these techniques will work similarly for most other sheer fabrics. Want to learn more about conquering chiffon, stay tuned for my upcoming posts about sewing and styling chiffon. Tomorrow, Coffee, Croissants, & Chiffon- Part 2 will give you industry insider techniques and advice for sewing chiffon.
Until next time.