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Painting simple drapery

Author: Corinne

Tools Needed

  • A painting program (like Photoshop)


Hello !

In this tutorial Photoshop users will be taught how to paint some simple drapery onto characters.

The tutorial has been written by using Photoshop 7, some differences may appear with the tools if you have a lower version.


Step 1 - Sketching the drape


Sketch the drape by outlining where you'd like for it to go with a sharp brush. Fill the zone in with your painting pot and paint over the eventual holes to have an uniform mass.

There is no need to bother with the shape details now.


Step 2 - Painting the first shadows

Select the sharpening tool and use the following settings : Medium tones. Select a big smooth brush.

We are going to sketch the first shadows. I

used a 65 wide brush.

The opacity of your brush will change if you have a light or dark color. I used 50% for this dark blue, and I would drop the percentage in case I worked on a lighter color.

Always start from the top to the bottom, or from the left to the right (if you use the right hand) and create curves with a smooth and quick gesture for a maximum of fluidity. While doing this, try to imagine the curves of real drapery.

Never start painting in the inner part of your drape, always start from the outer and end in the outer.


Step 3 - Adding detail to the shadows

Take a smaller smooth brush (always with the sharpen tool). Do smaller curves, as in part 2.


Doing this correctly is only a question of feeling. You will probably need to repeat part 2 and 3 a few times before having something that will satisfy you.

Step 4 - Adding volume to the drape

Look, your drape already has a bit of volume. To enhance this, take the (not the sharpen tool, the other) and take the same parameters as your sharpen tool in part 2.

Also make curves, but do this where you haven't already done some with the sharpen tool.


Your drape should now have it's definitive form.

Step 5 - Correcting and adjusting

Correct the borders of your shape with the erase tool, with a smooth brush. Try to give your drapery a shape that matches your shadows.

Also shadow the borders of the shape, depending on the lights you used

for your composition.


Step 6 - Adding power and changing colors

Now duplicate the layer and pass the layer that is at the top in (incrustation) mode. Here you have a drapery that has a lot more volume !


If the color or contrast doesn't satisfy you, you can change it with the image settings (teinte luminosit' et saturation and contrast and luminosity).


Step 7 - Incrustating a motive

If you want to incrustate a motive in your drapery, choose a light tile and establich it as motive by going to Edition > Use as motive.

Select the your drape layer, create a new layer and fill with the motive by going to Edition > fill > and choose the motive.

Once done, pass the layer in (incrsutation) mode.