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Drawing the Draped Figure

with Matt Weigle
Drawing the Draped Figure
Add lifelike movement and striking sculptural quality to your drawing skill set as you learn to masterfully depict the draped form.

Discover expert techniques for sketching, shading and finishing to recreate the timeless motif of the human form draped in fabric. Begin your first rendering as award-winning artist Matt Weigle introduces you to the seven basic folds, and use the envelope method to quickly block in a pipe fold. Create a sphere study and diaper-fold rendering, and find out how to model and turn form using a range of values. Then follow Weigle as he sketches from a live model, simplifying the complex human form with basic shapes. Develop a realistic rendering with movement and depth as you use careful gradation details, sweeping lines and beautifully defined shapes to depict cascading drapery as it glides over the figure. Refine your drawing with clean edges and rich shadows and transform basic subject matter into a striking work of art.


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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Introduction to the Draped Figure

  • Meet your instructor, classical realism artist Matt Weigle, and learn about three of the most important basic fold techniques. Weigle walks you through ways to identify the pipe, zigzag and spiral folds before demonstrating how to set up and start blocking in your first sketches.


Lesson 2. Identifying & Sketching Folds

  • Improve your ability to recognize and understand draped forms as you study the half-lock, drop, inert and diaper folds. Weigle demonstrates how to set up a diaper fold and start blocking it in as you train your eye to see the folds, volume and movement of draped fabric in new ways.


Lesson 3. Warm-Up Modeling Study

  • Prepare for an in-depth light-and-shade exercise as you create a sphere study, developing palpable dimension and diverse values as you work. As you increase your skill and confidence in capturing form, Weigle shows you how to translate your sphere studies into fold exercises.


Lesson 4. Figure Block-In

  • Discover ways to draw from life using a draped model illuminated by a single light source. You’ll learn how to block in form, adjust the size of your drawing and explore the value contrast between various planes as you learn timesaving troubleshooting tips along the way.


Lesson 5. Composing the Folds

  • Continue to develop your fold studies as Weigle demonstrates additional methods to define light and shade, training your eye to find and recreate interesting shapes in your work. You’ll bring out the complexity in the flow and shape of the draped forms in addition to making changes and corrections to your studies.


Lesson 6. Modeling the Forms

  • Focus on turning the form into the light as you delve deeper into dimension and shadow work. Weigle shows you how to turn preparatory sketches into nearly picture-perfect drawings with careful gradation details, sweeping lines and beautifully defined shapes.


Lesson 7. Finishing the Drawing

  • In the conclusion of the class, Weigle walks you through even more correction techniques and shares professional finishing details that will help flatten shadows, emphasize important lines and refine each area of your drawing. You’ll leave the class prepared to apply these stunning drapery techniques to all of your future projects!

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