Put the Clothes On
Having studied the human figure, you're now ready to draw clothing with confidence. After all, the shapes and angles of the body parts you've been studying affect how clothing drapes and falls over the body. Drawing is somewhat like playing with paper dolls. First, you draw the body, and then you add the clothing.
Anatomy of Folded Fabric
Fabric folds into three distinct surfaces: Two sides and a top. Sometimes, the top drops in front of one of the sides, obscuring it, but there are always three surfaces. Most folds radiate in lines from a high point or area of support.
For shirts, the primary areas of support are both shoulders and across the chest. For pants, the primary support is around the waistline and, when the leg is bent, at the knee. These folds can also result from the effects of fabric being pulled across the body by motion.
The quantity and depth of the folds will be dictated by the tightness of the fabric across the body. Tight clothes will result in several short, shallow support folds. Looser-fitting fabrics will present fewer folds of a larger, draping nature.
Folds radiate in triangular patterns from the points of support. In clothing, this usually means the shoulders, chest, elbows, hips, and knees.
Drawing Folds in Clothing
When drawing folds in clothing, try to visualize the areas that are being pulled by the action of the body. These will radiate folds in the same way as support points do. Also keep in mind that folds are subject to gravity. They will hang straight down unless the body under the clothing is pulling the fabric in a different direction.
Pay particular attention to the waist when drawing a clothed figure in motion. As the body twists, the fabric is pulled across the abdomen, creating folds that seem to point in the direction of the action.
It's best to try to find some time to practice figure drawing every day, drawing from life whenever possible. When you can't sketch the people around you, study your mannequin or photos from magazines. As your knowledge of human anatomy develops, your final rendering of a clothed character will improve.
Also, notice how fabric gathers around the elbow as the arm is bent, creating triangular folds. The excess cloth gathers at the crook of the elbow and drapes outward along the arm. To a lesser extent, the same happens in the leg at the knee.