The cloche hat was designed by the French milliner Caroline Reboux in 1908 and became highly popular in the 1920s. This was a very flattering style and was often made of felt, as is the one we are drawing today.
When drawing a face, the eyes are half way down the head shape, the cloche hat is almost the shape of the skull so is tight into the back of the neck. Cloche means bell in French so imagine you are drawing the top part of a bell to make the shape of the top of the hat. This is one of those “almost a profile” pose so we have a very nice turn of the neck, which we can represent by using our tonal value skills. Another pertinent point is the pattern on the hat, Art deco shapes and then the frill.
Make a detailed drawing of the hat and patterns, the eyes, the nostril and the shape of the mouth. The mouth on any one of these pretty faces is always nice and smiling and will have an area of lighter tone to suggest light shining. Bring the neck shape in at the nape, you can see the right line of the neck shape is in line with the eye. There is a lovely the lovely pattern of shape around the top of the garment.
To paint this use one colour. I used Burnt Umber which is a wonderful colour to use in a monochrome study. The depth of colour you can achieve is fantastic. I made a mix of colour – 90% paint and 10% water – and then took a portion of that mix and made a wash with an additional five brushfuls of water. Using a brush as a measure for water content is something I always recommend. You then know exactly how your washes work and if you use that method all the time then your washes will have a consistent quality throughout your work.
Start at the top of the hat and paint with your weak wash of colour. To achieve the soft impression of felt – take a medium sized round headed brush and apply some of your wash and then dip into your mix also. Use a pointillist brush stroke to apply the paint to the top of the hat, whilst still damp from the wash of paint. Work from light to dark and increase the tone of your paint as you go, by adding less water to the mix as you work. The eyes, hair and lips are dark tones. To paint the lips, paint with your wash and when still damp apply your mix of colour, leaving an area of the bottom lip with only the wash applied. Paint all the skin tone with a very light wash. The white part of this composition is the “white” of the eyes. Paint in the shape of the top of the garment.
Now – stand back and evaluate. If you can identify at least 9 different tones, from light to dark, you should have enough variation of tone to make your drawing three dimensional.