Digital Illustration: Painting Different Fabric Materials | Sydney H. | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Digital Illustration: Painting Different Fabric Materials

teacher avatar Sydney H., Digital Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Drawing Fabric Weights

    • 3. Analyzing the Materials

    • 4. Cotton

    • 5. Velvet

    • 6. Silk

    • 7. Latex

    • 8. Leather

    • 9. Denim

    • 10. Material Overview

    • 11. BONUS: Lace

    • 12. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class, we will focus on painting several fabric materials you can place on your characters. Some of which will be cotton, silk, velvet, latex, leather and denim. We will begin by studying references and making a note of key differences between the several fabrics. Then we will switch gears and apply what we learned by painting what we see in each image. And finally, we will put our knowledge to the test and paint the fabric material directly on to a geometric form! With this combined knowledge, you will learn to paint different fabric materials on your characters flawlessly!

As a bonus, I will even through in a lesson about painting lace on the body and how to come up with patterns for it!

For this class it will require you to have a graphics tablet and a basic knowledge of drawing since we will focus primarily on shading and form. I will use Adobe Photoshop but you are welcome to use a drawing software of your choice!


Slynk "Uh Oh"

Bensound "Summer"

Bensound "Sweet"

Reference pictures found on Pintrest

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sydney H.

Digital Illustrator



A freelance artist creating artwork that strives to engage and generate pieces that everyone can enjoy. I love exploring multiple fields of the art some of which is digital, traditional, design! I'm highly influenced by old illustrators (like J.C Leyendecker), anime, and video games.


See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi, my name City and I've been creating exclusively character art for a while now. Part of creating successful character art is being able to design interesting outfits and water interesting outfits without unique cloth materials. By learning how to paint different materials, you could make it clear what type of fabric your character is wearing. Not only does this help you distinguish the material of each particle, including it also makes your character feel more realistic. In this class, we will focus on painting several fabric materials you can place on your characters, including cotton, silk, velvet, latex, leather and denim. We will begin by studying references and making a note of key differences between our fabrics. Then we will put our knowledge to the test and begin painting directly on the geometric form. With this combined knowledge, you will learn to pick different fabric materials on your characters flawlessly. As a bonus, I will even throw in a lesson about painting lace on the body and how to come up with patterns for it. This class requires you to have a graphics tablet and a basic knowledge of drawing, since will primarily be focusing on painting techniques for shading informed. I will be using Adobe Photoshopped, but you're welcome to use any software that you choose ready to get started. Let's dive in. 2. Drawing Fabric Weights: In order to paint the six different cloth materials, we will have to take what we learned from our observations and begin to draw them in three D space for us each of the materials while under a category of either lightweight medium weight or heavyweight. So we will draw what each cloth weight would look like draped on a sphere. For these exercises, we will be drawing hanging folds on this sphere. I always begin by sketching the contour of the folds around the ball in three D space like you see here the Green Line. Not only does this line determine how many folds you will have in your fabric, it will also show you how deep each fold is in relation to each other. Since the top of the ball has the most contact with the fabric, material will look smooth and the folds will be non existent. Just like you see with the red line, I connect the lines from the green contour up towards the top of the ball. You only want to draw lines from the curves that air sticking outward on the contour, those air, the folds that will be visible. The lines that I don't draw will be used as the shadows for our fabric folds. As gravity pulls the fabric down, more folds in the fabric will form. Depending on the way of the fabric. The amount of folds and how close they are together will change. Take this lightweight material sketch, for example, Since lightweight materials like silk will be manipulated much easier than, say, cotton, they will create more fools when draped on a solid object. Take notice on the increase of hanging folds seen here compared to the medium weight material we saw from before. As we switch gears and look at the heavyweight material, there are fewer fold seen. However, there is another clear difference. Since heavyweight material is thick, it doesn't smoothed out as much at the top of the ball as the other two weights. Where the fabric folds should begin, it will buckle and create a sharp angle or bump before it flows into the actual fools. This creates deeper folds and shadows in the material when dripped on the ball. By using the concept of beginning with a contour line and then connecting the lines to the highest point of contact, we can draw hanging folds on this ball very easily 3. Analyzing the Materials: cotton begins as a cotton fiber is often spun into yarn or thread to make soft, breathable textiles. It is the most common material for fabrics. Anything can be made from kind, including clothing, curtains and even decorations. Khan is extremely burst tile and cheaper to produce than most other materials. Looking closely at these images, we can see that cotton is a very smooth fabric. It is difficult to see any texture in the fabric unless you're looking up close. This is important to make Noto, since it can affect how you draw in the future. Cotton is seen as a medium weight fabric, which means it is not too thick or too thin and tends to have an average amount of folds in the material. Now velvet is a type of woven material in which the cut threads air evenly distributed, giving it a distinct soft feel. In short, velvet has texture, which you can see the most in the glossy parts of the material. Villa is still considered to be a medium weight fabric similar to cotton, but compared to cotton, velvet looks much more expensive. So I tend to personally associate the fabric with royalty or premium quality. While this isn't always the case, I see velvet mostly with rich and high saturated colors. In contrast, of velvet. Silk is a fine, soft, glossy fiber produced by silkworms and collected to make thread and fabric. Because of this process, silk is highly expensive and used to be treated with care, no matter its use. Materialist lightweight, meaning it has more folds, increases in the material when it is draped. Because silk is woven into a fine textile, there are no visible textures unless you look at it very closely. So it is highly glossy and even has deep saturated shadows just like velvet like you see in these pictures. Latex, on the other hand, is extracted from trees and then manufactured into a rubbery material that we can use in clothing. Latex is not a fabric, so there's absolutely no texture at all. It can range from medium to heavyweight, depending on the thickness of the material. It is usually closer on the heavyweight spectrum, making fewer folds visible. However, this completely changes when there's tension involved. Like we see in these images, latex has high gloss contrasts and can be reflective depending on the lighting mother is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal raw hides. It can be expensive because of the process required to create it. It is also a heavyweight map material, which causes fewer Fels increases as well as a matte gloss. Leather is a relatively thick and durable material, so you will commonly see belts, shoes and purses made of it. By definition, denim is a sturdy cotton work face. Textile denim is not to be confused with regular cotton. While is created with the same car and threads, it undergoes a completely different process in order to create its thickness as well as the diagonal rib lines. These diagonal rib lines, along with the classic stitching, are among the most notable features on dental. And let's not forget about that classic blue hue that were also used to seeing. Now let's go over some key differences between some of the materials that could be confusing. Our first comparison will be silk. Versace velvet, even though they both look expensive, have a glossy surface and deep saturated tones. They also have their differences. The most obvious difference is the speckle like texture. Velvet has multiple threats that create its soft texture. While silk has a smooth surface Because of the way velvet is made, it will always be a salad textile and doesn't have the option to be transparent like silk. Both of the materials have high gloss on the surface, but notice how the placement of the sheen is different. Silk sheen is on the top of the fold that sticks out the most, but if you look at velvet, it's she intends to sit closer to the edges of the falls themselves. This is due to the light catching between the fibers. If we switch to comparing latex and leather, there are even bigger differences. Right off the bat, you can see that latex is more glossy and reflective in leather. Leather is more Matt box. Leather can have high gloss, too, but not nearly as much as latex. Another clear difference is the range of values. Latex is almost exclusively shadows and highlights, while leather has a wider range of values, many of them soft in nature. The same goes for the folds, leathers, folds. Increases are actually much softer than latex. In fact, if you notice from the reference images, the folds and latex are almost exclusively around. Whether is tension. The only property that latex and leather actually have in common is a medium heavy thickness. Even though cotton and Denham are both made from cotton threads, both of these materials look very different from each other. The most obvious difference is the texture of both fabrics. Since denim is weaved, it has a rib texture compared to the cotton smooth surface. Khan is much lighter than Denham, allowing there to be more movement. Not only that, there are more folds increases visible in cotton than there isn't Denham compared to cotton . Denim has clear stitching that has seen along the seams, while cotton usually has its stitching hidden unless it's used for decorative purposes. Dinner also has a weathered look that cotton doesn't have to break it down even further. I made a diagram that you can look at and keep handy when thinking about these materials. This will be downloadable in the project section. Now that we have an idea of what each fabric looks like and the differences between them, let's jump into the painting 4. Cotton: the first material we will start with is cotton. To start off, lower the A pass ity of the sketch, then create a layer below it to fill in the base color of the fabric with a round brush. After I finished putting down the base color, I will pass it. You lock the layer by clicking the checkered square and the layer panel. This makes it so I do not paint outside the base color I created when we paint fabric were painting multiple cylinders comprising of middle tones, shadows, highlights and ambient lee. Using the sketch as a guideline, I pain in the mid tones, first with my painterly brush. This creates the initial hard edges. I need to define the folds. Then I switched to an airbrush tool to smooth out the transition around the fabrics curves . That soft transition is typically on the side for this from the fold, the shadows near the top of the cloth are sharper since it's interacting with the hard surface of the ball. Since a murky, angry scale. For this painting, all the using a lighter grey from the background for the reflected light in the shadows with airbrush painting the reflected light into the shadows helps liven them up a bit. - After I complete the mid tones and shadows, I begin adding in highlights with a brighter gray. I primarily do this near the top of the fabric, since that is where the light source is. Con isn't reflective, so there's no need to go crazy here from that white further, I just smooth out the painting until I'm satisfied with the result. 5. Velvet: Since velvet is a medium weight fabric, I will use the medium weight sketch for this painting, just like the cotton, I will set up the layers the same way like we discussed in lesson to velvet has a visible texture. So to replicate that feel, I will use a mix of airbrush and the texture brush to create the forms. The brushes I'm using for this are from the K in K l and pixel stained brush packs, which I will link to in the project section based on our observations. Not only does velvet material have a visible texture and also contains deeper shadows, thin cotton does. Since I wanted the highlights to have more of an impact, you'll see me here, adding in more saturated shadows to contrast with the mid tones to emphasize that velvet is mostly seen in rich colors. So I increased the saturation and dark in the shadows through this lighter, creating highlights for velvet are going to be a little bit different compared to how we approach con notice. How in the references, the highlights and the material are around the edges of the folds. Unlike the tube shading we were doing before. Even though the light is coming from the top of the ball, the texture on the bill that makes it so only the edges of the folds catch the light. Here. I use the liner as a guideline to determine where the highlights should go. I then go back over the shadows one last time to make them pop. From this point forward, I mainly just refined the rest of the rendering, - even though I use the same sketch for both cotton and velvet look so different the shading is. 6. Silk: silk is a lightweight fabric, so we will use the lightweight sketch a Jew before for this exercise, once again filling in the solid color for the base and locking the layer before proceeding the way approach painting silk is similar to how I painted cotton. The main difference is that silk has deeper shadows and more highlights than cotton does, since silk also has smooth transitions between the holds increases. I use an air brush for painting while Justin the flow What I need a sharper shadow. The edges are almost always moved out at some point when you paint in the highlights, you want to paint where the curves of the full stick out the most. Unlike velvet, the highlights won't travel down the length of the fabric, since the material is smooth and doesn't have extra fibers catching the light. - Don't forget that silk is reflective, so it will pick up the ambient colors in the background, sometimes even more so than cotton. When you add in the emit light and the shadows and around the edges of the folds, the silk will begin to stand out. - Silk is all about the smoothness, glossy nous and the deep, saturated shadows 7. Latex: waited latex, I will take a totally different approach to the shading. Latex has a higher contrast than previous materials that we painted, meaning that it doesn't need a lot of middle tone to be readable. Instead of starting with the mid tones, as we did before, I will start with the shadows and highlights first and then add the middle tone back in. Later, mid tones will act as the ambient light. Using the sketches a guideline, I lay out my highlights with a soft brush, regardless of the base color you were using for your latex. You never want to start out with white. Instead, build up the colors are using off white like I'm doing here. After I have the highlights laid out, I could begin painting in some hard edges. Remember, latex is highly reflective, so it will show the light source on the material. Tried to imagine what could reflect onto the latex and red light is coming from. You can get creative with the shape of the light, like I did on the top here. Now I can backtrack and start painting in the ambient light's instead of the neutral gray I was using before. I tend the color to a cool grey to give the impression that a sky is used for the ambient light. Notice how I'm using the ambient color in the shadows to add more dimension and body to the folds. - Once I have all of my shades in place, I can now complete the render of the latex by strengthening the shadows and increasing the luminosity of the highlights. - Latex has cleared to find shapes made up of different tones, so be sure to keep that in mind. 8. Leather: Since I already have the based color for the heavyweight fabric lead out, I duplicate this layer locket and paint over it with the color for my leather. Mother will generally be a shade of brown unless it's synthetic, just like velvet. Leather has visible texture on the material. I will go back to using the cayenne kale brush set to block in the initial mid tones and shadows. Brother is rather thick, so it will have sharper shadows but smoother transitions than we did on latex on the side of the full that caves in there will be a sharper edge as the other side of the full six out the shadow will softly transition. You see me here, trying to add a little extra leather texture to the material with the use of pixel stains. Brush set. I don't want the texture to be overwhelming, so I kept swapping between the pixel stained burst and the chalk brush from the K A N K L set. While occasionally using the soft brush to smooth out some areas, - the leather texture becomes more visible near the top of the material because the light catches between the leather green itself. since leather has more of a mat glossy look. The highlights I paint in aren't much brighter than the mid tone itself, but just enough that it will be noticeable. - Don't forget to paint in the ambient lights as well. With just a few more adjustments, we have a finished painting of leather. 9. Denim: last but not least in this lesson. We get to paint, and, um, just like the leather dental also has a texture on it, so I will primarily be using texture brushes. The texture is vertical in fashion, so I'll be using the hairbrush from the cayenne. Kale bursts it. We will have to move the texture along the folds to make it believable. Denham has an area on its material that looks more worn than the rest. Like we commonly see whether denim jeans, the's patches are around the areas with the most direct contact here. The top of the ball will have this weathered look, making it lighter in that area. For the shadows, I add a saturated ambient light and a few saturated mid tones along the shadows to add more dimension to the fabrics form. - Once the rendering is complete, I add a stitching near the bottom. Since it is one of the defining characteristics of Denham, I paint in a line parallel to the bottom of the fabric and add INTs increases for the folded over effect. Once I am done with that, I create a new layer on top of the trim and use the stitching burst I created which will be downloadable on the project section. By placing the stitching on its own layer, I can know Pacey locket and easily a prize shading to it. - And here is the complete rendering of denim. 10. Material Overview: Now let's do a quick review. The fabrics we painted our cotton, velvet, silk, latex, leather and denim. Each of them have their own defining traits that change the way I approach to painting them with cotton and silk. I primarily used the airbrush while with leather velvet and Denham. I used a texture brush to bring out the materials, Unique characteristics and contras. Latex required me to use a combination of hard and soft brushes and order for me to achieve the desired look. The airbrush is perfect for smoothing out any area of your fabric, especially if you're having difficulty blending the texture brushes. By using the clipping mask feature, you can paint within the material based color without going outside the lines that, in combination with the eyedropper tool and used with the all key makes rendering and picking colors a breeze. Another tip it that could come in handy is the birth setting flow at the top of Photoshopped. By using flow, you can gradually build up your values while rendering that percent refers to how much paint is being used. So it's pretty similar to how you would use it and traditional painting as well 11. BONUS: Lace: as a special treat. I will also teach you how to paint lace. However, before we jump into that, we have to discuss its characteristics. Place is a lightweight material commonly made of silk, linen or cotton threats. If you look at it closely, it has a repeatable pattern created out of fine decorative stitching and a web like fashion . Since holes are inlays, the actors a texture for the material. However, the texture can be rough or smooth, depending on the stitching They combine laced with silk, linen and cotton fabrics as a way to enhance the fabric. Enclosed I mostly Sealy's as form fitting toe. Another material loose fabric or trim. That is why it's most commonly seen in wedding dresses, decoration, long Gerais and other expensive clothing. Now, with all that in mind, let's jump right into painting delays itself. I used the lightweight fabric sketch from last time as a reference. We will then put it on low opacity and create a layer for the base color. It doesn't matter what color you shoes for the base, since we will discard this layer. Later, after I create my mask for the lace, I will create a layer on top and used a clipping mask function to bind my painting area to the base color. With this layer, we will map out the topography of the fabric itself so we could physically see for ourselves when the lace pattern would wrap around. Remember how we discussed, at least typically has a repeating pattern these lines will deserve. As our guideline for mapping out the pattern across the drape fabric, I create a lease pattern, which I end up repeating along the guidelines. Take your time with this, since it can be easy to forget where you are. Once the pattern is finished, released the clipping mask. This will show you where I painted outside the mask. Don't worry, though. I have a way to fix that. Used the selection tools likely outside of the base color and press delete to get rid of excess brush marks. You no longer need the mask visible on your campus. Since lace is full of holes, you can easily view what's behind it. In order to create more dimension in my lace, I create a layer underneath the main layer to add more density around the folded areas. This house illustrate that the laces overlapping numbers those layers together, and then I'll paisley locket to carry out the rest of your sheeting. Depending on which type of thread you decide the lace would be. You can follow my tutorial on painting either cotton or silk. For this painting, I used cotton thread as my subject. - If you want to add more definition to your lace, you can add shading along the openings of the lease as well. This helps it look three D and shows the different planes and the lace itself, - and here's the finished product of place. 12. Conclusion: for your class project. I want you to use what you learned from your observations and paint the six different materials. Try to make a note of how you're painting each material so you can use it for future reference in your own work. Once you finish the exercise, ask yourself. Does your painting match your observations you made in the previous lessons and which fabric was easier for you to paint? Feel free to discuss any further insights you had on your project. And remember, the more you practice, the better you will become and make sure you have fun with it. If you have any questions about what we discussed in this class, feel free to comment below. And if you liked it, feel free to review a swell. Thank you so much for enrolling in my class. I