How can I paint a hood with­out it look­ing form­less? Nebs Mes­soud, US

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Tony replies

Noth­ing is as good a tool as solid ref­er­ence. If you can’t get a hood of a sim­i­lar ma­te­rial, a well­lit photo will give you pretty much all you need. Be­fore draw­ing the cloak, sketch out the head be­neath. Lightly draw in the place­ment of the cra­nium, ears and the rest. Study your ref­er­ence to get a feel for how grav­ity pulls on the folds. Draw sil­hou­ettes with a sen­si­tiv­ity for the weight of the cloth. Once the out­line feels right, be­gin paint­ing in the larger folds. Don’t get caught up in small crin­kles and de­tail yet. By ini­tially fo­cus­ing on large shapes, it’s eas­ier to make sure the bumps and turns are de­scrip­tive. Look into all the points where cloth is be­ing stretched, con­tracted and bent. Find where each fold be­gins and ends, which parts cling to the body and which folds are hang­ing free.

Think of folds as tubes, be­com­ing larger as they move away from the source, which can be a bend, seam and so on. Note how ma­te­rial builds up wher­ever it rests on the body, such as the bot­tom of the hood and over the char­ac­ter’s arms.

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