The world offers unlimited numbers of cool things to draw. Yet, artists seem to have special affection for drawing folds in fabric.
Folds dominate so many pictures, it is clear that artists are fascinated by them. Their complexity, their movement and their abstract quality give artists a lot to play with. Sometimes folds are such fun to draw that artists go a little overboard:
Although folds in cloth have remained basically unchanged through the ages, the artist’s treatment of them has changed dramatically. Folds in medieval art were generally angular, while folds in Renaissance art were rounded. For a contrast between two different cultures, compare the carefully controlled, tightly rendered folds drawn by the great illustrator Durer in 16th century Germany...
...with the lush, spontaneous lines of another great illustrator, Bernie Fuchs, in the U.S. in the 1970s:
Today, Christo brings the artist's obsession with folds into the modern era with his brilliant wrapped works...
...or his running fence, where fabric stretched and flapped in the breeze:
When Christo wrapped the Reichstag building in Germany, he said:
From the most ancient times to the present, fabric forming folds, pleats and draperies is a significant part of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and sculptures made of wood, stone and bronze. The use of fabric on the Reichstag follows the classical tradition.
By my calculation, there are 8,743,921 absolutely great drawings of folds. When I woke up this morning, the following six were foremost in my mind:
Leonard Starr stoically insisted that writing and drawing his daily comic strip On Stage was "a business" but his pleasure in painting these folds is almost palpable.
Here, Austin Briggs' folds of cloth dominate the outline of the figure.
Any fan of the Godfather knows what Mort Drucker has concealed under these well rendered sheets
Kyle Baker takes a more restrained but very interesting approach to folds
Alex Raymond's bold treatment of the folds in this smoking jacket elbows everything else out of the picture
Finally, one more (very different) approach by Mort Drucker where the folds ran away with the drawing. Talk about a knock out ending!