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How to render upholstery

This how-to guide will demonstrate how to render an upholstered chair and footstool.


How to render drawings – part 3 of 6

Rendering an upholstered chair and footstool

This next demonstration shows you how to render an upholstered chair. If you are not confident in your own drawing of a chair, a good way to practice and develop these techniques is to choose a suitable image, place tracing paper over the top and copy the outline along with some of the basic details. This can then be photocopied back on to paper.

Select a range of colours in both the pastel chalks and the pastel pencils. Using a scalpel, shave off enough chalk powder to create the appropriate upholstery colour. Prepare the drawing by masking around the outline of the chair. Apply a base colour all over using a cotton wool bud building up the layers. A watercolour pencil can be used to add definition to the deep buttons, the wooden legs and also represent shadows.

A fine damp brush can be used to blend where the watercolour pencil has been applied. Once the water has been added, the colour becomes much clearer. To avoid making the paper too wet, blot the brush on to tissue paper before application.

The cushion on the chair has a delicate check design made up of red and orange. Start by applying the base colour and then use 2 watercolour pencils to add in the horizontal and vertical lines. These can then be softly blended with a damp brush.

When adding colour to the footstool, as this is upholstered in the same fabric as the chair, you can use exactly the same techniques used earlier.

Shadows will always appear on the floor underneath the piece of furniture. This can be represented using a soft shade on grey.

The next video in the series will demonstrate how to represent a range of finishes that can be seen on a wall elevation. 

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