Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fabric Folds

The whole idea behind carving parts separate is so the tough-to-get-to spots can be carved and painted. This is exceptionally helpful when working on arms, where it can get very tight under and toward the armpit. trying to carve this are out of one piece will often be a source of frustration and unhappiness for the less-than-expert carver - me. So, I am working on the arms today and, before taking too much material away, I will start on the fabric folds. This is a new area of detail for me. I have only made a few serious attempts at carving folds. I started doing some research as to how folds form and look. With my first attempt, I made three serious, novice mistakes. First - I carved the figure to "finished"  dimensions which didn't leave enough enough material to work with when I didn't like some of the folds. Second - I carved way too many folds. It's best to keep details like this simplified for the best overall effect. Less is more. Third - Worst of all, I didn't use reference photos and later realized many of the folds were running in the wrong direction.

After that failed attempt, I decided to do a little fold and wrinkle study. I started studying the clothes on people to see where folds formed and the direction they went. I observed different fabrics present folds very differently. Jean folds look very different than sweatshirt folds. Heavy sweaters look very different than light weight ones. For obvious reasons, folds appear in very different places for men and women, but the folds near certain areas are the same. Lastly, loose fitting clothes show folds differently than tighter fitting ones. The point is, you want to reference the actual fabric with the one you're trying to represent. I found unlimited photo references on the internet. Search Google Images with words like: shirt, jacket, robe ... whatever, and get a lot of good material. Online clothing stores have some of the best ones. I also found, for the purposes of carving, drawings of folds to be the best reference. They're simplified, like we want to do when carving folds.  Many artists have blogs with good fabric folds posts. Some even explain why and where folds form. Lastly, when I couldn't find a reference to match the position of the body part or article of clothing I needed, I handed my daughter the camera and directed her to snap me in various poses. I did some photo editing and put together a personal
catalog of reference photos that will last me for some time.

Carving the first pass on the arm, I'm using my Denny 3/4" detail knife. Then I'll clean it up and smooth the folds with a small gouge and Denny 5/16" V-tool. It has a nice rounded bottom which is appealing on folds. Maybe I'll do a more detailed tutorial on carving folds someday, when I've master it!

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