When drawing anime characters, pleated skirts are very popular.
Most anime girls wear them either to school or casually.
Anime skirts and long hair with bangs complete an anime character and give her a certain appeal.
Drawing clothes can be a little difficult, but it becomes quite easy once you get the hang of it.
In this post, I’m going to teach you how to draw a pleated skirt in a step-by-step way so that you can draw clothes or people in clothes quite easily.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a drawing beginner who’s learning how to draw. The following steps are extremely easy to understand. As long as you follow the tutorial step by step, you should have no difficulty understanding it.
I will show you how to draw a pleated skirt normally and how to draw a pleated skirt flying so you can understand the dynamics of drawing skirts.
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How to Draw a Pleated Skirt for an Anime Girl – (Step by Step) Easy guide for beginners
Pleated skirts are very popular in Anime culture.
They are usually very short and end at the upper mid-thigh, just covering the bottom.
If you learn how to draw skirts, you can draw very beautiful anime characters – it’s a super power really.
So, to get started drawing the pleated skirt, I’m just going to draw an outline of the lower portion of an anime girl first.
I won’t go into detail about drawing bodies because this post is about drawing skirts, but you can check out this book if you’re interested.
I highly suggest getting that book because you’ll learn to draw manga from scratch.
1. How to draw a straight pleated skirt (for an Anime character)
We will begin by drawing the waistband of the pleated skirt.
It’s not too complicated.
Make sure it’s high up because the pleated skirts are usually worn around the waist (and not around the hips) since they’re high-waisted skirts.
Now, draw the two sides of the skirt. Make sure the ends align in a straight line.
Next, draw the hem of the skirt. It shouldn’t be a straight line.
It needs to look realistic, so make sure the line is curved downwards.
Try to draw a nice, long curve when doing this part.
See the diagram below to understand.
Now, it’s time to draw the pleats.
I’m going to start at the bottom of the skirt (the hem) and draw double lines upwards.
Make sure that there is enough space between the double lines – this is going to be our pleats for the skirt.
Follow the arrows upwards.
Your lines don’t need to touch the waistband of the skirt.
Once you’ve finished drawing the double lines moving upwards, erase the bottom portion of the skirt.
We only needed the bottom curve for the shape of the skirt. It isn’t important.
You should get something like this:
We’re going to complete the outer portion of the pleats first.
Now, complete the wider portion of the pleats with straight lines with curved ends like this.
It almost looks like wide tassles.
We’ve drawn the outer portion of the pleats.
Now, it’s time to draw the inner portion of the pleats.
When drawing this, make sure the lines curve inwards.
I’ve enlarged what the ends of the pleats look like in bright green. Please make note.
This will make your pleats stand out in the pleated skirt.
Take your time with this, don’t rush.
We’re nearly done.
All that’s left is to color the pleated skirt.
Let’s start with coloring the skirt with a dark blue (you can pick any color). There’s no hard and fast rule that you need to use dark blue.
The shadows play a very important part in drawing clothes for our anime characters. Remember that.
To draw the shadows, use a medium purple and draw contact shadows for the pleats as well as on the legs because the skirt creates a shadow on the legs.
Note: Remember to keep shadows and highlights on different layers so that we can manipulate them without affecting the other layers.
Now, change the blending mode of the Shadows layer to Multiply and decrease the opacity of the layer to 35%.
If you want more help coloring digital illustrations, please check out this post.
Now, it’s time to draw the highlights.
With a bright blue color (on a new layer), draw a highlight on each pleat.
Take some time to think about how the light is falling on the skirt and what part you can highlight on the pleated skirt.
Once you’re done, change the blending mode of the layer to Add and decrease the opacity of the layer to 15%.
You should get something like this:
Next, color the body to get a nice, sharp contrast between the skirt and the skin.
Note: When coloring the skin, make sure that the skin color layer is underneath the skirt layer. Organizing your layers well makes it easy to color and manipulate the color layers if need be. Check this post to see how I color digital art.
We’ve learned how to draw a pleated skirt for our anime character.
But what if the skirt is flying?
In this case, the dynamics change completely!
It’s slightly more complicated to draw a pleated skirt flying in the wind, but I’m going to go step by step, so it’s definitely possible!
Let’s learn how to do this!
2. How to draw a pleated skirt flying on an Anime Girl
We will start the same way – with the outline of the torso and the legs before drawing the waistband of the pleated skirt.
That’s not too hard, right?
Before we draw the rest of the skirt, it is important to know which direction the wind is blowing.
If the wind is coming from the left (like in the diagram below), the skirt will fly to the right.
We don’t need to make the skirt go all the way to the right, because there is also wind resistance.
So, when drawing the skirt, make sure the skirt sticks to the leg closely, but at the bottom, I’m going to make a small line straying away.
You’ll see why soon.
The right part of the skirt is mostly flying in the breeze, but part of the skirt is still close to her legs because that part is protected by her body from the wind.
So, draw 2 lines when drawing the right side of the skirt. Make sure the lines overlap a little.
Next, draw the bottom part of the skirt.
Notice how it’s slowly going upward because the material is moving with the breeze to the right.
Follow the direction of the arrow when drawing this part.
Use long flowy lines when drawing your skirt.
This makes your skirt look more organic and real.
It definitely takes some practice, but with consistent drawing, you’ll get the hang of it quickly, I promise.
Now, to complete the skirt, draw the behind portion on the right in a light curve.
This makes the skirt looks well rounded.
Now, it’s time to add the pleats.
The dynamics are going to change a bit because we are going to treat each pleat as a separate piece of fabric.
This part is a little difficult, so pay close attention.
Start a little below the waistband and slowly start drawing the pleats.
Remember, the pleats aren’t moving smoothly.
The initially start moving downward and are suddenly blown to the right because of the breeze.
So, keep the angle of the movement sharp.
Note the arrows in green to understand what I mean.
We need to add more detailing to the skirt. You can erase the bottom line of the skirt now, because we have the shape of the skirt.
Now, draw curves underneath each pleat like this. They’re almost V shaped curves.
The lines need to overlap the pleats on the left by a small amount.
Now, draw little V shapes like this on the overlapped sections of the pleats – like small tick marks. Note how I’ve highlighted this in green.
We’re nearly there.
I know it’s a little tricky, but it’s actually easy if you look quite closely.
Now, erase the overlapping portion of the pleat lines we drew earlier. This will give our pleated skirt a very organic look.
And we have completed drawing the pleats.
Draw the behind portion of the skirt – don’t forget!
This will make your skirt look more organic and real.
The worst is over.
And we have officially learned how to draw a pleated skirt flying in the wind.
It’s okay if your drawing isn’t perfect. It gets better with practice!
It’s now time to color the pleated skirt.
So, I’m going to use the same dark blue color as a base to color the skirt.
You can use any color you want – use your creativity and go wild!
Now, color the inner portions of the skirt with a darker blue as these are inside and the light isn’t hitting it.
Just like how we added the shadows and highlights before, take your time to repeat this.
Don’t forget to color the legs!
And we’ve completed drawing a pleated skirt as well as drawing a pleated skirt flying on our anime girl.
Conclusion + Resources
I hope this in-depth tutorial was helpful to you, and you were able to learn how to a pleated skirt easily.
I understand that the method I’ve used is unconventional, but this is what I use to draw pleated skirts easily.
Drawing clothes can be a little tricky in the beginning, but drawing clothes in a cartoon style eventually gets easier with more practice.
Don’t worry if you didn’t get it immediately.
However, the more you practice drawing people, clothes, and hair, the easier it gets!
If you want to see more tutorials on hair and people, just leave a comment down below. You can check out my other Character Tutorials to learn how to draw people and clothes.
I will be adding more clothes drawing tutorials to this blog, so keep a lookout!
If you are looking for books on drawing people and clothes, check these out.
Want to practice drawing more Manga and Anime?
If you’re looking to improve your drawings faster and want to really draw as a hobby or even pick up drawing professionally, I highly recommend picking up this beautiful online course that teaches you how to draw manga characters easily from scratch.
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This class will teach you how to draw manga characters from scratch and add personalities to them.
You don’t need any tools except a pencil and paper.
It’s a very detailed course and it’s not at all expensive.
If you are just getting started with ProCreate, I highly recommend this course: Procreate for Beginners: Digital Illustration 101
It will help you learn Procreate within a day or a week at most. I found it super helpful!
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