Patterned Fabric – quick demo in pastel

fabric demo, pastel on Pastel Mat, 6×9 in., about 20 minutes

This is my demo from yesterday’s pastel class. I love drawing patterned fabrics. They key to getting them right is to emphasize form and let the pattern be secondary. I started this one on grey Pastel mat with a dark green NuPastel. I blocked in the drawing and values, making sure the fabric looked sculptural and correct before going to additional colors. Get a good range of at least 3 values in your under painting, don’t worry about small creases or the pattern at this stage–capture the gesture of the fabric (how it hangs) and the form (3-dimensionality). Once you have that, begin adding color on top.

I used a dark red pastel overall, I let the green under painting show through in the dark areas by not pressing as hard with the red on top. In the lighter areas, I used more pressure with the red. I always use the SIDE of the pastel to draw, you get a more confident application of pigment. Also, in the areas where the light is strongest, don’t be afraid to press hard to get the contrast between the dark and lighter values.

For the pattern, I simply choose the colors I see in the fabric and subtly apply them, not drawing each individual design, but implying them with strokes that mimic the shapes and contour of the design as it sits on the fabric. In the shadows, the pattern is less prominent, in the lighted areas, it is bolder. Don’t overdo the pattern, if you do, it will flatten out the rest of the drawing and make your fabric look flat.


2 Responses to Patterned Fabric – quick demo in pastel

  1. Wonderful description of the lesson. I am going to try to do this later. Thank you.

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