Clothing art reference

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190 Clothing Folds References for Artists ideas drawing ...
    Sep 21, 2019 - Folds drawing reference. How to draw folds in clothes, in fabric, in dresses in skirts sketches. See more ideas about drawing reference, drawing clothes, …199 pins

260 Drawing: Clothing References ideas in 2021 drawing ...
    Feb 1, 2021 - References for clothing, fabric folds, and accessories. How to draw clothes. See more ideas about drawing clothes, drawing reference, drawing tutorial.264 pins

Fashion Reference - Fashion and Costume - Research Guides ...
    May 27, 2020 · Women artists and designers in Europe since 1800 : an annotated bibliography by Penny McCracken Call Number: Z7963.A75 M33 1997 v.1-2 Arts Library Reference ISBN: 0816105960Author: Diana King

ArtStation - 560+ Folds & Clothing Reference Pictures ...
    Resources - 560+ Folds & Clothing Reference Pictures, USD $12.00. Drawing clothes might be very hard, especially if you want to achieve an authentic look. We are starting a new series, focusing on different clothing,...4.6/5(3)

Clothing folds Drawing Reference and Sketches for Artists
    Useful Drawing References and Sketches for Beginner Artists. Clothing folds Drawing References. Tags: Womens clothes. You may also like... Pinocchio. Short shorts. Hands. Contact me About me. All rights to images are owned by their respective owners. All …

Drawing References and Resources
    Clothing Drawing Reference Guide From s-media-cache-ak0 .pinimg .com - September 13, 2015 10:43 AM Interesting Content's insight:

Visual Library - Character Design References
    Studying the work of other artists can be an incredibly useful tool to help you in the further development of your artistic skills. Our visual library offers a quick way to access to an extensive and carefully researched collection of model sheets, concept artworks, sketches and tutorials from established and promising artists working in animation, movies, games, illustration and comics...

ArtStation - 500+ Clothing Textures Reference Pictures ...
    Resources - 500+ Clothing Textures Reference Pictures, USD $12.00. Drawing clothes might be very hard, especially if you want to achieve an authentic look. …

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Guide to Drawing Clothing and Folds

Guide to Drawing Clothing and Folds

Comic Art Reference – Clothing and Folds

Folds and wrinkles are based on tension and gravity. Fabric folds on itself over layers and gaps.

On clothes, it will behave along with it’s characteristics and with the body that it is on. Strokes on tighter fabrics follow more the form under it. In general, we’ll see most of the wrinkling on the limits of the body. Keep in mind how clothes interact with each other and with what is under it.

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The post Comic Art Reference – Clothing and Folds appeared first on Comic Book Graphic Design.

Author: Ralph Contreras

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The Costume Institute's Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

The Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library collection contains over thirty thousand books, nearly seven hundred periodical titles as well as over one thousand and five hundred designer files all pertaining to the history of fashion and clothing from around the world, dating from the sixteenth century to today. Extensive special collections include artist books, exhibition history documentation, designer archives, fashion plates, lookbooks, photography collections, scrapbooks, sketches, textiles samples, and related fashion ephemera. Some special collections materials can be found on the Museum Libraries' Digital Collections website.

Before making an appointment, outside researchers are encouraged to search the holdings of The Costume Institute Library in Watsonline, the Museum's online catalog. We recommend that visitors conduct as much research as possible at other institutions prior to requesting an appointment at our facility. Access to The Costume Institute Library materials can also be requested through Watsonline for use at Thomas J. Watson Library. No appointment is needed for access to Watson Library, which is open four days a week to registered library visitors college-age and above. Fashion-related electronic resources are also available onsite in the main library. 

Related Links

Digital Collections

Fashion E-Resources

Fashion Resources Guide (PDF)

Costume Institute Library Special Collections (PDF)

Costume Institute Met Publications available in Full Text

Costume Institute Timeline Essays

Costume Institute Library Instagram

The Costume Institute Conservation Center

The Costume Institute Collection holdings and contact email: [email protected]

Collection Development Policy

The Metropolitan Museum of Art libraries have created the following collection development policy as a planning guide for developing the Costume Institute Library collection, and to clarify the selection criteria used to build and maintain that collection.

The Library's holdings largely reflects the scope of The Costume Institute Collection's more than thirty-five thousand costumes and accessories representing five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children. Current curatorial collecting practices focus on masterworks of those designers widely recognized by fashion historians as the great style-makers of the twentieth century, including but not limited to Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Vionnet, Schiaparelli, and Miyake. (For more references please consult Caroline Milbank's "Couture" book.) Important late twentieth-century designers include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier. Ultimately, the designation "well-known" or "important" is at the discretion of the curators.

Furthermore, the library collects reference materials about types of clothing, fashion, related topics, and even different formats of materials not currently nor generally acquired for The Costume Institute collection. Among those library topics not covered by the Costume Institute collection are: separates, wearable art objects, boutique objects, study objects, fur, wedding dresses, children's clothing, and ephemera or works on paper.

Read the complete policy.

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Essential Tips for Drawing Drapery and Folds


Folds depend on the form they fall on. They are not universal. There are many different types and factors that influence them.


There is no single rule on how to draw folds—The best way to understand drapery is to do as many studies of folds as you can. The more realistic you want to draw and paint folds, the more references you will need. Understanding some common principles will make it possible to draw them convincingly in a more stylized way.


I’ve collected some pointers and commonalities here that I’ve come across so far.



It is very important to consider the materials that you draw when dealing with folds. They all have their very own characteristics that help to decide where to put the appropriate folds. Their texture dictates how diffused the shadows are.



Thicker material has wider folds that are usually less visible.

Hard materials are usually pulled more at the bending area or at the seams.

Soft and thin material produces the most folds, especially around the bending areas.



The amount of folds also depends on how heavy the fabric is and what kind of material it is made of. When drawing fabric it is a good idea to consider how thick/thin, hard/soft, heavy/light and smooth/textured the material is first.



Heavy fabric causes folds of a different volume and different width. It is also more idle and shows fewer folds even when moving.

All clothes have their own arrangement of parts, which heavily influences the formation of folds.



It’s good to familiarise yourself with common placements of seams. You don’t need to draw them all, but it is better to have a good fundamental knowledge of the construction.


Folds tend to pull at prominent seams, especially on clothes like suits where the transition between seams is quite noticeable at the shoulder.

Sweaters usually have their arm seams much lower and the folds don’t pull at them as much.



Clothes with a wide cut show different folds than clothes with a narrow cut. A tight cut follows the form of the body and wraps around it. Wide clothes show a lot of droopy folds that go from the pulling point towards the ground.



Clothes are often designed with folds or lack thereof in mind.

Fitted material is designed to look elegant with as few folds as possible. When clothes are too tight or too loose there are more folds that give a less elegant appearance of the clothing, especially when looking at the silhouette.

Worn-out fabric tends to crease more than new or well-maintained fabrics.

Note: When drawing clothes and folds, it can help to consider what material fits the character’s personality first.



External influences

Folds can be heavily affected by wind or water.

Wet cloth acts differently from dry cloth. It tends to stick more to the form underneath. The water makes the light material a lot heavier, so it does not move as easily anymore. Thin fabric becomes see-through.




When the body is resting the fabric is usually dragged down by gravity. More prominent droopy folds appear the wider and lighter the fabric is.



When bent the fabric is pressed together and creates hollow shapes that vary in size. 


There are more bumps with more narrow material. Wide material tends to squish together with fewer folds.



The material adapts to the forms’ movement. Folds usually follow the twist. It can be very helpful to emphasize the movements.

Note that the lighter and thinner material in the example above shows fewer folds since the arm is still mostly resting.



The arms heavily dictate the pulling areas where folds emerge.

Opening a jacket absorbs some of the pulling when the arms are raised.




The fabric of the pants is supported at the waistline.

Pants start wider and narrow down to the knees because they adjust to the bone structure of the legs.

With narrow pants, creases are usually visible at the knees.

When drawing bumps in the fabric it’s good to show their origin and volume. It does make a visual difference when you can imagine the folds in a 3-dimensional space.



From the back, you can see folds forming under the butt region that go up to the hip.

The folds at the knees are also visibly pulled by the hips from the back view.

In general, when the body is just standing and resting, there are less dynamic folds.



When a leg is lifted, the knee becomes the strongest pulling point.

Be careful of the forms that the pant legs create when the leg moves.



Shadows and Highlights

Depending on the thickness of the material the shadows around the folds appear slightly different.

When shading folds, it’s good to use a combination of soft and hard edges.

When painting pay attention to how smooth and soft the material is. The smoother it is, the more it reflects light and has a brighter highlight. Rougher and more textured materials diffuse light.

The darkest area is usually where forms are pressed together and an occlusion shadow appears. This also applies to very deep creases where light does not reach.



Here are some quick tips that I noticed while shading materials.



The shading, like the width of the folds, varies between soft edges or highlights depending on the material, so it’s good to familiarise yourself with as many materials as possible to build up a rich visual library.



Reference clothing art

Best Books On Drawing/Painting Fabric & Drapery


ResourcesBooksDisclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

If you’re hoping to become a concept artist or illustrator then you’ll need to study realistic rendering. Most artists struggle with realism at first but the skillset can always be improved through practice.

One tricky area of realism is fabric, specifically different types of clothing.

But you can find tons of great art books that teach how to render fabrics properly. And in this guide I’ve curated the top 10 best fabric artbooks for artists of any skill level.

Drawing the Clothed Figure

Drawing the Clothed Figure is easily one of the best books to study rendering. The author Michael Massen writes about the subject in a clear tone using many scientific references for fabric draping, folding, and reflecting in a natural environment.

You’ll learn all about the different types of fabric and how they should be rendered. I like how these exercises break up into categories like loose fabric, tight clothing, and more complex wave patterns with twisting/flowing fabrics.

I also like how the author includes many pages of finished drawings with rendered fabrics. You can study these works and compare them to your own to see how much progress you’ve made.

Michael includes plenty of work samples with some of his work along with artwork from the masters like Raphael and da Vinci.

This isn’t the most practical book but it can get you started on the right path. And it works well as a desk reference while studying from life and working to improve your rendering skills.


Drawing Realistic Clothing and People

Drawing Realistic Clothing and People takes a look at life drawing through the lens of technical rendering. The author Lee Hammond focuses on clothing and how fabrics look while being worn.

I’ve had mixed results with Lee Hammond’s books, but this one does its job well. Unfortunately it is fairly short with only 144 pages. But the exercises go into great detail to help you understand how fabrics fold and interact with the human figure.

Early chapters cover the human form and how to render different areas(proportions, shading, etc). But as you get further into the book you’ll learn about materials for shoes, pants, shirts, and common accessories.

This isn’t a very guided book so beginners will feel lost. I’d recommend this book for self-taught artists who already feel comfortable drawing from life on their own. These exercises will further your knowledge of life drawing and rendering if you put in the time to practice.


Clothing on Figures

Since the majority of folded fabric is worn by people it makes sense to focus on drawing from the figure. That’s why Clothing on Figures by Giovanni Civardi is such a fantastic book.

Each chapter moves pretty fast covering a different fundamental skill related to fabrics. This includes rendering light, shadow, perspective, and specific techniques like chiaroscuro.

I am pretty disappointed with the length since it only has 60 pages. Unfortunately it’s really not a comprehensive guide on drawing fabric in any way.

But this does work well as a beginner’s guide for artists who need some direction. And the author has written many other great art books so his writing skills are tops.


Drawing Drapery from Head to Toe

In the cleverly named Drawing Drapery from Head to Toe you’ll learn all about rendering and the many different types of materials you’ll have to draw.

This book is exceptionally short with only 48 pages. However despite it’s length it still overflows with practical information about rendering fabrics for pants/jeans, sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, and other related attire.

You’ll learn how certain fabrics drape over the body and how they move when a limb moves. Different fabrics contort in different ways so this book offers some key signs to look for on the figure.

The author uses lots of pictures to explain how fabrics bunch and stretch based on movement. He also explains how to render these features and how to see them for yourself in the real world.

Note this book was originally published in the 1940s and was republished by Dover without any major updates. So the examples of attire may feel old-fashioned but the basic rules of fabric & physics have not changed.


Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery

Renowned artist Burne Hogarth shares a variety of tips & tricks in his book Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery. It’s not a super dated book but it has been around for a couple decades(for good reason).

The writing style is verbose and rather technical. This can read like a fabric manual at times where you’ll feel like you’re studying which movement patterns cause which fabrics to bunch up.

But a deep understanding of this knowledge can directly translate into your artwork. You’ll find a ton of hand-drawn illustrations made specifically for this book to demonstrate different fabrics in action.

I do recommend this title for beginners with the caveat that you’re willing to push through the wordy writing style.


Drawing the Draped Figure

Every artist should know about Brigdman’s many art books covering anatomy and figure drawing. He’s one of the best artist+writer combos to produce some of the most relevant teaching materials in decades.

And his short book Drawing the Draped Figure is just as valuable on the topic of rendering fabric. It’s only 64 pages long but I still think this is a must-read for any artist, beginner or professional.

Bridgman’s writing style is terse but informational. He shares advice on rendering fabric along with tips to recognize how fabric folds on the human body when moved into certain positions. This book also includes some passerby knowledge of anatomy as it pertains to fabric.

He not only explains how fabric drapes in certain positions, but he also explains how to render fabrics by thinking three dimensionally.

This is a true drawing book made for anyone studying fabric from life. And if you want a nice combo I’d recommend pairing this title with Bridgman’s Constructive Anatomy.


How To Draw Folds And Clothes

How To Draw Folds And Clothes is the newest book in this entire list. It’s written by self-taught artist Liron Yanconsky who also runs a brilliant YouTube channel full of art videos.

In this book Liron breaks down seven basic folds and demonstrates techniques you can use to master the rendering process. Each chapter works like a tutorial where you study a different “style” of fabric and how it folds.

You do need to have some comfort with drawing and rendering before you pick up this book. If you don’t already have basic knowledge of rendering light(or shadow) then check out our list of art books on that topic.

You can learn as you go but it helps to have some foundational knowledge first. Liron does not hold your hand through these exercises so you’ll need to have some initiative.

But the knowledge in this book is fresh, modern, and high quality. I do recommend it to all artists studying fabric.


How to Draw Drapery

If you are a complete beginner who prefers a step-by-step learning process then grab a copy of How to Draw Drapery.

It’s a digital-only ebook that spans the gamut of every different type of fabric, how it falls, stretches/scrunches, and how it should be rendered. The author Michael Britton covers eight different types of drapery shapes & styles.

Each exercise aims to teach you about that style of drapery and how to render it. But even if you don’t remember each drapery style you can still pick up the fundamental knowledge of how to render drapery.

Each exercise teaches in a step-by-step fashion so it’s super easy to follow. You really should have prior experience but it’s also possible to learn as you go.

And this book is very affordable so it’s one of the better books for artists on a budget.


Fabric of Vision

Fabric of Vision is a lengthy 200+ page look into drapery & fabric in art. The author Anne Hollander has written many books about figure drawing and rendering the human figure.

This book is her first deep look into fabrics on the human body, and I have to say it’s a magnificent resource. You’ll study from dozens of artists across many different eras to see how fabric has historically been rendered in paintings(and drawings) around the world.

You will not find many exercises in this book so it’s not a practice guide. But you can study from fabrics over hundreds of centuries and learn the techniques of skilled artists that departed long ago.

Chapters focus on men, women, materials, and affluence with fabrics broken down into classes.

I don’t think this book is a necessity for all artists. But it is a fantastic reference guide to learn how fabrics have been rendered in past artwork.


Fashion Illustration

Fashion Illustration: Inspiration and Technique is a guide book made specifically for fashion illustrators and clothing designers. But over this 144-page title you can learn a lot about rendering fabrics in a realistic way with a slant towards illustration.

The author Anna Kiper is a skilled NYC fashion designer with years of experience. The lessons in this book cross boundaries far outside the fashion industry. It’s not really a complete guide but it does have lots of tips interspersed with illustrations.

You’ll find plenty of inspiration for sketches and stylized illustrations working directly with fabric.

This book is a perfect fit for cartoonists, illustrators, comic artists, or animators who want to exaggerate fabric. You’ll learn about different poses, anatomical structures of clothing, and how to render a huge variety of fabric.

Note this is the only book that’s not made for realism so it won’t help much when rendering from life. But the examples inside are brilliant for anyone studying illustration of any kind.

So these are the 10 best art books covering fabric and rendering, and they all approach the subject from a different angle.

If you’re looking for a guided tutorial then you’ll love Drawing the Clothed Figure along with the more recent title How To Draw Folds And Clothes. Both offer a detailed step-by-step guide with many styles of fabric.

But other books in this list work just as well for artistic study and inspiration.

And new books get published every year so keep a lookout for any new titles that might be worth picking up.

How To Draw Clothing Like A Pro!
Reference: Men's clothing

Deviation Actions

Thought I might as well share this with those who might need it. This would double as a reference sheet for clothing and folds/wrinkles. I varied body types a little too.

Edit: Changed the title. "Random men's clothes refs" looked a bit too messy after a while. :lol:
GGgirl101's avatar
this is amazing i cant even describe how much you helped me improve my drawing skills thank you so much love from canada. 
KLOCKBELL's avatar
It's kinda funny. Sometimes you think you know something so well. But somehow you cant even understand the lines. Thanks this helped a lot :)
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RachBurns's avatar
May I use one of the poses for a reference? I love how the fourth (counting from the left) is standing.
eriena-chan's avatar
Thank you so much for making this! It definitely helped me out! I will continue to look this over whenever I draw male characters! ^^
Cobean's avatar
Cool drawing! I really like how you drew these clothes, these would really be helpful for me to understand how clothing works :dummy: Fantastic job^^
ScarletMcPage's avatar
OMG, I totally needed something like this!! I hate drawing clothes, but I can't just leave my figures naked in this massive project I'm doing, this gives me a lot of ideas and some frame of reference! SO YOU MUCH THANK!!

You will also like:

Comic Art Reference – Clothing and Folds

Guide to Drawing Clothing and Folds

Guide to Drawing Clothing and Folds

Clothing and Folds

Folds and wrinkles are based on tension and gravity. The fabric folds on itself over layers and gaps. On clothes, it will behave along with its characteristics and with the body that it is on. Here are some great illustrated examples I found by the artist JuliaJm15 on her Tumblr page.

Strokes on tighter fabrics follow more the form under it. In general, we’ll see most of the wrinkling on the limits of the body. Keep in mind how clothes interact with each other and with what is under it.

Reference content found on the internet. All contents ™ and © of their content owners, unless otherwise noted herein. All rights reserved.

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