Saturday, February 25, 2012

Suit Dynamics

Men's suits get interesting when the pose moves out of neutral. I sketched the same speaker as he shifted back and forth between two poses during his talk. 

The jacket and pants hang fairly straight in the left pose. But as he put his hands in his pockets, new points of tension emerge. Folds radiate from the red arrows at the button and the hand. A long pipe fold on his pants leads all the way down past the knee. Because he lifted his shoulders, folds also radiated from his shoulders. 

In this illustration by Austin Briggs from the Famous Artists Course, the leaning-back figure has folds radiating from the shoulder seam, the knee, and the crotch. But the back is fairly smooth.

There's no substitute for drawing from the costumed model to learn these dynamics, which change not only with the pose, but also with the type of fabric and the construction of the garment.


Greg Newbold said...

Nothing replaces observation and study. It's surprising sometimes how weakly a camera captures folds in drapery, but if you know the dynamics of a fold, you can manipulate them during tho photo shoot to get something more descriptive in your reference material. "Dynamic Drapery" by Burne Hogarth is an informative book in this subject. Another good book is "The Art of Drapery" by Mario Cooper. It's out of print but still available

Vicki said...

These are great resources Greg. Thank you to both of you. I find that drapery is hard to do without a model, because as James noted, how it drapes depends on the fit, the weight and thickness of the fabric, the style of the clothing, and small changes in stance of the wearer (and probably a few other factors that I can't think of now). I have seen demonstrations that purported to explain how to make folds look right by showing where the tension points are and so forth, but without direct observation, it seems very difficult to get it to look natural.

I'd love to find some drawing sessions where they hire clothed models to draw from. Nudes are great, but drawing clothing is a valuable skill.

Erik Bongers said...

There seems to be an period in art history (50-60's ?) where suits were exceptionally well drawn, and yes, Burn Hogarth is one of those "Suit Masters".
No surprise that Austin Briggs if from that same era.

william said...

I always liked the angular/stylized look that J.C. Leyendecker had, especially his Arrow clothing ads.

Anonymous said...

Hey James, what would you think about doing a post telling us how you approach people on the street to sit for a portrait?
Do you show them your sketchbook? Show them an example of your artwork? How long do you ask them to sit? Do you talk to them while you draw them? Or do they sit silently? What if they want a copy, or to keep the original?

James Gurney said...

Bryan, check out the post "Caught Looking" from last fall:
Basically, I just start sketching strangers if I'm a ways off. But if I want to do a real portrait, I just ask them if it's OK. I think it's best to be open rather than fishy. I generally email them a scan if they're interested.
This guy in the suit is choral conductor James Bagwell, observed from the back of the concert hall, about 200 feet away.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome. Thanks for the tips, James.

jytte said...

I was very much surprised to see that you have got the Famous Artist course. We have the whole course dated back to the 60th. Wonder if it still exist :o)