Self employed artists, owning their own successes and failures.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Reference – Cloth in the Wind
Cool capes, cloaks, and other bits of cloth blowing about in the wind are a staple of fantasy, comics, and sci-fi art. Every hero or villain looks better with a cape! At first I thought artists made these up out of their head, but over time I’ve found the best way to do a cool cape, is to get reference.
Now there’s a couple of ways to get good cloth reference. The first is to set up a cloth still life add lighting a shoot your photos. Here’s an example from one of my older pieces Skeletal Warrior:
In the reference upper left you can see where I took my drapes and set them up like the skeleton’s cape. You can see some other examples as well. That’s me with a sword and cape, a skull I got back around Halloween time years ago, and some metal objects from my kitchen to see how metal works.
Here’s the final painting:
The static method works fine, but over time I realized that the folds felt a bit stale. In order to breathe some life into my drapery I realized I needed to capture cloth on the move. I got my wife to agree to photograph me running around in our backyard waving cloth about like a madman!
Look at those banners wave about in the wind!
I’ve used this reference in several pieces, but most obviously in the Lion Scout piece I did for L5R:
It’s pretty easy to get good reference, and as you collect it, your library will grow, so you’ll need to shoot reference less often. The next time you need to paint a flowing cape, go run around with some cloth!