fabric fold design

Take a look at your elbows – if you’re wearing a long-sleeve shirt, you’ll have a bunch of fabric folds there. Anytime you move, bend or stretch your arm, those folds change. The folds in fabric help describe the action of the figure, but sometimes they’re super complicated and it’s not necessary to include every single fold.  How can we simplify fabric so that it describes enough without distracting from the face and the overall figure?

Here are three (well, four) of my attempts at this – our assignment was to draw a vagabond, a Gibson girl & a knight using unrelated model references for the poses. We then had to figure out where the folds would be and how they would fall for the different costumes that these characters would wear. I think I was focusing so hard on the drapery that the characters ended up a bit short – I fixed the vagabond for the final version but you can see my earlier effort below.

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