Drawing & Using Frill & Lace in Artworks




1.) Intro

Hello! Today we would learn to draw some frills & lace for illustration, the shapes that give an elegant & pretty aesthetics, make them pleasant to the eyes. While these items have a long history as part of noble’s outfits in the past, nowadays frills & lace can be worn by anyone & have become a common decoration we can find in various everyday items such as garments, drapes, & some people even adopted the shapes in various desserts like cakes.

2.) Basic Form & Variety

I always draw frills as if it’s form some kind of “S”-like shapes, flowing like waves from one end to another, while basic lace would look more like a “W”-like shapes that repeat from end to end.

Frill formed by folding fabric into pleats, then gathering the pleats by sewing to form some ruffles. The part where the stitches meet usually forms some wrinkles on them.

Of course, we wouldn’t always need to draw all those tiny details as if we’re zooming on them in high definition macro lens kind of view all the time. Yet, it’s important to understand this point so the illustration could make more sense.


Lace on the other hand, usually doesn’t form ruffles or have wrinkles on them & it’s emphasised more in the complexity of the pattern, usually a web-like pattern with a delicate, fragile texture.


Drawing lace needs more patience than frill in my opinion, as the more delicate & complex pattern could take more time for keeping the consistency & can be stressful to draw. But worry not, as in CSP there are various kinds of pre-made frill & lace in the [Sub Tool: Decoration] menu & the asset library like some samples in the following image. If you’re interested, I recommend some on the links below. Check them out & find if there’s anything you need to give some pretty details on your illustration!

3.) Adding Downloaded Brush to The Tools List

Let’s say you have downloaded some new brushes from the asset library. You want to use it but it’s still not registered yet in your tools list. You need to add the new asset to the tools list.


Here’s how :

1.) Choose the [Sub Tool: Decoration] menu-> [Clothing].

Click the [+Add Sub Tool] option on the brush list.

2.) A new window will pop out to show assets you have in your library.

Search for downloaded assets or click [Materials not added to palette] section.

Choose the one you want to add to the [Sub Tool: Decoration] brush list then click [Add palette].

3.) Now the asset of your choice is added to the brush list & ready to use!

4.) Adjusting The Line Thickness

When drawing lace, the sense of texture is not just shown by the complexity of the pattern, but also by the level of the line’s thickness. Drawing the inner part where the pattern lies with thinner lines could give a sense of fragility compared to the thicker outlines. Try to use a smaller brush tip size to draw inner pattern details, or adjust the line width by following tips :


1.) Draw the lace in a [Normal] Raster Layer. I draw this sample with the help of an existing lace in the [Sub Tool: Decoration] menu as seen in the image below.

2.) Select the area where you want to change the line’s thickness with the Sub Tool [Selection Area]-> [Lasso] tool.

3.) Click [Filter]->[Correction(L)]->[Adjust line width…] then choose whether you want to narrow the line or thicken it by choosing the drop-down options in the menu window. Adjust the scale for the thickness you want then click [OK] & now the lines should change in thickness.

Note : You can just draw as usual & change the line’s thickness later on by editing them with the same method.

5.) Studying The Angles & Motions That Affect Form

Objects attached to fabrics would look slightly altered due to motion & angles by factors such as wind. Take an example of a skirt with some frill or lace on it. When the wearer stays still, the frill would be in its default, motionless state. When the wind or gentle breeze hits the skirt, it will be slightly disturbed by the wind direction & so the frill that is attached to it. While the wearer is on the move, the skirt will flow in the opposite direction from where the wearer is going & the frill will look a bit messy.

Compare how the pleats & pattern would look like when it stays still than when there’s some motion just as in the sample below.

Drawing frill & lace in motion could be a very difficult & time-consuming task, whether you’re using assets or just drawing it yourself. But here are some tips to make it easier :

A.) Using Transform

Adjust the angle & form as you need by using [Edit]->[Transform] or Ctrl+T on the frill or lace you want to change the form. Hold the Ctrl key for a free transform.

B.) Using Blend

If you have it, try [Blend] ->Sub Tool [Liquify]. This rather new command from CSP could bend over the frill & lace you’ve drawn in a raster layer as you click on it, which could help you adjust the form of the frill & lace, e.g. you want the lace to follow the shape of an object or body shape, specific perspective, etc. There are various types of effects from each so check them out & experiment with them to see which one suits your needs.

You can also try to mix both methods & see if it works well. Practice to make it better!


Note: Study what the frill & lace of your choice look like before drawing them in various angles to imagine what they look like in a different angle. Taking more reference on how the real thing looks like if possible also always recommended!

6.) Adjusting The Size & Length

There are many kinds & types of lace patterns, from the simple ones to the more complex ones. When it comes to drawing, how much the details can be seen depends on the distance from the viewer’s point of view.


Sometimes frill & lace could seem as if it’s simplified & just have a vague shape as the details will not be visible when viewed from afar (zoom out) compared to when you draw a close-up figure or zoom in where the details should be emphasized more in the surface to add the aesthetic point. There are also spots where you would have to draw the lace smaller than other spots, so you might need to adjust the size & length.


This is the tip to adjust size & length aside from drawing the frill & lace manually. One thing to remember, these tips are applicable only when using frill & lace from the asset library. I recommend this if you want to adjust the size or length of frill & lace assets more easily.


Here’s the tips :

1.) Make a separate layer for your frill and/or lace. [Edit]->[New Layer]->[Vector Layer].

A window will pop out. Give a name to the layer if you want, then choose the [Blending Mode] to [Multiply].

2.) Click Sub Tool [Operation]-> [Object], then click the frill/lace to be able to scale it up or down.

3.) To adjust the length, you need to see the [Tool Property: Object] box just below the [Sub Tool: Operation] box. There’s a [Brush Size] bar where you can customize the length of the frill or lace as you need. Just slide the Brush Size slide to the right or left to increase or decrease the size, or type the size you want to change the size.

7.) Change the Frill & Lace Color

Whether you draw them by yourself or by using the pre-made ones, you can draw the frill & lace in both monochrome & full-color illustrations.

There are at least two methods to color the frill & lace if you working on a Raster Layer:

Method 1 :

Directly pick the color of the lace before drawing them by choosing a color in the [Color Wheel] on the top right of the workspace for the line & the base color (if needed). Pay attention to the squares beside the [Color Wheel]. The color on the square on top is used as the lineart, while the other square is used as the base color.

Method 2 :

1.) Select the frill and/or lace you want to change the color using Sub Tool [Selection Area]. I recommend using [Rectangle], [Ellipse] or [Lasso] tool to select the area. Choose the one that fits your needs & the area you want to select.

Note: By holding [Shift] when selecting the area using the [Selection Area] tool can make you select multiple areas at once.

2.) Pick a color from the [Color wheel]. Click [Edit]->[Convert to drawing color (H)]

3.) Now you successfully changed the color of the frill & lace!

If you draw the frill & lace in Vector Layer, you need to click the frill/lace with [Sub Tool: Operation] -> [Object] tool, then change the color from the [Tool Property: Object] box just below where you can find [Vector] Main Color & Sub Color. Click it & Color settings pop out which allows you to pick up any color you want for the frill/lace you have drawn.

8.) Giving A Sense of Volume with Shading

While we already learned how to draw the lines in different thicknesses to emphasize texture, the overall appearance could still look messy & weighless, even after coloring. This tip is especially for drawing frills, as this is a tip for giving some sense of volume & weight to the frills by shading the darker part of the frills. Add the shading to the places where the light can’t reach like the back/inner side of the skirt & the part between pleats that form wrinkles.

Try to apply this technique to the illustration to see the effect!

Check the process in the timelapse below :

Or watch the longer version :

9.) Adding Ornamental Objects to Enhance The Beauty of Frill & Lace

Adding ornamental objects at the end or in between the frill and/or lace can level up the beauty of the decoration. For example in the sample below, the bonnet is already pretty with the adorned frills, but adding a flower or ribbon at the ends of the bonnet’s frill could make it more attractive.


You can draw the objects by yourself, take advantage of various pre-made objects in the Sub Tool [Decoration] or search for them in CSP’s assets library. Try to find combination that works for you!

10.) Frills & Lace As A Background

Other than the function as decoration on attire or other objects, there are other functions of frills & lace you can try, especially if you’re working on illustration for comics or other types of storybook: using them as a part of a background and/or for special effects. This works well specifically in stories that need some elegant or feminine touch like the ones that targeting female readers.

Here are some samples :

Check the process in the timelapse below :



Or watch the longer version :

Check the process in the timelapse below :



Or watch the longer version :

11.) Brush You Need Doesn't Exist? Try to Make Custom Frill or Lace Brush!

Many variations of frills & lace already exist. But if you didn’t find the brush/design you’re looking for, or just feeling creative & want to make your own frill or lace design into realization, worry not because you can make your own frill & lace brush!


Here's the tutorial :

1.) Create a [New Layer] to prepare your brush file. You can choose between Raster Layer or Vector Layer. In this tutorial, I use Raster Layer just because I’m used to it, but you can try to use Vector Layer if you find it easier to use.


Consider the paper size too, as the brush needs to be able to resize, I recommend making the paper size bigger so the brush won’t crush into pixels when resizing. Choose [Edit]->[Change Canvas Size] to adjust the size. For example, I make this one in a [New Layer]->[Raster Layer] in 2480x2480 px.

2.) Draw the shape you want in one layer & make the background transparent by unchecking the [Paper] layer. Let’s say this as the “Sample Brush”. Select the Layer that contains this “Sample Brush”.

Note: If you have difficulties in drawing your design in one layer, you can draw them in separate layers, then merge them all into one layer later because the brush should only be in a single layer.

3.) Click [Edit]-> Register Material(J)->[Image…].

Input a name in the “Material Name” column. In “Material settings for brush”, choose “Use for brush tip shape”. Next, place your named new material in the [Image Material]->[Brush] folder. Now you have your own Image Material for the brush tip.

4.) Click the icon Sub Tool [Brush], choose any existing brush then right-click->[Duplicate sub tool].

5.) Drag the new brush from its original place & drop it into a separate, new category within the Sub Tool [Brush] menu as seen in the image below. Right-clicking the icon will bring you to the [Sub tool group settings] window where you can give the new category as “Custom Brush” or any name you like.

6.) Now select the duplicate brush & right click it->[Sub tool settings]. A window will pop out where you can input your new brush name. Because we will use the brush to make a frill which is a decoration, I recommend changing the [Tool icon] to [Decoration].

7.) Click the wrench icon on the bottom of the menu on the left as seen in the image below to open the [Sub Tool Detail] window.


Here, choose [Brush Tip]->[Material]-> click the black area/arrow/”Click here & add tip shape” (depending on which one appears in your window) to add the Image Material you drew before as the brush tip. Browse by name, double click on it->[OK].

8.) After choosing the tip, click [save all things as default], then click [OK] for the next pop-up window.


Now you have your own frill brush!

Here’s a sample of enhancing an illustration by applying some frill & lace, including the new frill brush I made in the tutorial just now for the wrist part:

Check the process in the timelapse below :

Longer version :

Note: You can also use the same method to make lace. Try to experiment & tweak the brush settings to find out the most suitable customization for your brush!

12.) End Note

So, how is it? Are you ready to enhance your artwork with the touch of frill & lace?

Hopefully, this tutorial will help you achieve that goal & see you next time in another tips & trick!


More artworks at IG @khoiruunisarf



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