Shiny fabrics, as part of their own definition, show values at the high end of the scale-the highlights are bright white, shown in a drawing by leaving the white of the paper unmarked (and occasionally enhanced with the use of white-out or similar). For dramatic effect, the bright highlights are often juxtaposed with the darkest shadows, so the contrast of values is most extreme.

A number of different types of fabrics are shiny, for example: velvet, taffeta, leather, fabric with metallic thread, satin and others. Although they are all shiny they do not all reflect light int he same way: as they drape differently, with folds of different widths, angularity and softness, so they reflect light in different patterns. Shine should also be differentiated from sheen. Shine is a sharper reflection of light, often in highlights, whereas sheen is a broader diffusion of light across a larger surface. Examples of fabric with sheen are silk charmeuse, velour, cotton, velvet, jersey, cashmere.

When drawing garments made of shiny fabrics it is best to plan out where the areas of light and dark will fall before beginning the drawing. Remember that light is reflected at its brightest on the top of the folds and shadows are darkest in the interiors of folds. As mentioned, to highlight the contrast of dark and light, the darkest shadows of folds are often placed next to the lights highlights on the tops of the folds.




For more information and guidance on drawing please refer to 9 Heads 4th edition and  Colors For Fashion. Remember to  practice, practice, practice with a 9 Heads Women Notebook. And don’t forget that you can personally ask Nancy Riegelman and her staff of fashion illustrators your questions!  SHOP