How to Draw Tie-Dye

By Philippa Jones
a tie-dye shirt, dye, you, the tie-dye
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Tie-dye is an attractive, colorful pattern often associated with the 1970s. Many people make their own tie-dye t-shirts using dye, but as an artist, you may want to replicate the pattern in a drawing. If you have a tie-dye t-shirt from which you can copy, you will find it easier since you will be able to see how the colors blend in the image. Use a variety of brightly colored pencils to bring your tie-dye drawing to life.

Step 1

Review the tie-dye pattern on the t-shirt. Look at the shape, pattern and contours of the tie-dye image before you begin to focus your attention on the actual drawing.

Step 2

Sketch the outline of the pattern onto your paper using a graphite pencil. For example, if you are drawing a peace sign, illustrate a large circle with an inverted 'Y' shape inside the circle.

Step 3

Mark where the changes in color occur. Build up a jigsaw of different areas that are to be colored in differently. If it is a simple tie-dye pattern, draw a series of circles from the center of your page. Each circle gets bigger toward the edges of the page with the lines representing the graduation in color.

Step 4

Paint masking fluid onto the areas that are to be kept white. Masking fluid dries onto the paper, and allows you to color over top of it. When you are finished, it is then rubbed over to reveal crisp white paper below. It is helpful to create stark areas of contrast between the colors and the white space.

Step 5

Color in the lightest shades of the tie-dye pattern first. This means you can blend the darker colors over the top more effectively. Pale yellows, oranges or greens should be filled in first.

Step 6

Shade the pencil, and then smudge the color with your index finger. This will make the colors blend more effectively. Use blocks of color within each of the sections you mark off, and smudge it along the edges.

Step 7

Build up the darker colors by overlapping onto the paler colors. Follow the design on the t-shirt, and notice how there are random patterns between each area of color. Copy this to create an authentic tie-dye pattern.

Step 8

Rub off the masking fluid that was applied during step 4. You will notice that the tie-dye pattern takes form because you will be able to see white lines between the colors like what is found in many actual tie-dye patterns.