Tuesday, August 26, 2008


John K just put up a couple of great wrinkle posts and they inspired me to take a shot at it, in the belief that great and noble subjects like wrinkles can't be discussed too frequently. This is a post about wrinkles; beautiful, sumptuous winkles. Wrinkles, the cartoonist's friend.

Wrinkles look great on a suit, in fact a suit that doesn't have them (above) looks odd and characterless.

Of course you take a chance when you buy a wrinkle suit. The wrinkles won't always flatter you and indeed they shouldn't. You want a suit that has character, that is independent and has a life of its own.  The suit's idiosyncrasies are part of its charm.

The thing to understand about wrinkles is that the best ones are always a surprise. You expect a certain amount of wrinkles around a bent elbow, you don't expect really drastic wrinkles around the bottom of the rib cage as in the picture of President Kennedy above. The wrinkle connoisseur treasures surprises like this. 

Having lots of wrinkles serves to call attention to the areas that don't have them. Here (above) the wrinkled-up sleeve beautifully contrasts to the unwrinkled, clean sweep of the back.

The effort to vanquish wrinkles is doomed to defeat. You may as well grow to like them because there's not much you can do about them. President Nixon tried to banish them by wearing characterless felt (or felt-type) puppet jackets... a situation where the cure was worse than the disease.

I hate to admit it, but not all wrinkles are equal. Some are just plain boring. Here's (above) a velour jacket that's so thick and heavy that it looks like Ahab just stripped it off a whale. The heavy, lazy wrinkles have no character. They just can't take the trouble to assume interesting shapes.

Here's (above) another negative example: these (above) are the kind of despicable wrinkles you get straight out of the washing machine. The large wrinkles are too predictable, the small ones too random. 

Really interesting wrinkles occur when a well-groomed wearer tries to avoid them, but they occur anyway. That's an example of the suit asserting it's own personality, and not just being a toady to the wearer.

Some of the 30s and 40s suits were tailored with the deliberate intention of creating interesting wrinkles. These were fine in their own way, but the heavy fabric produced only predictable wrinkles. Not many surprises there. 

I prefer the baggy look of the early 50s. Slender suits were coming into fashion then but the older generation clung to the baggy look...only by then the fabric was less heavy. One day, when time machines have been perfected, wrinkle connoisseurs will take tours of this era and bring back lots of photos of the flamboyant oldsters.
It takes guts to be a wrinkle man. We relish what the rest of the world considers mistakes. Before I was enlightened I used to be appalled when I sat down and my puffy pants "tent-poled" up from the lap. Now I enjoy it, and do nothing to hide it. Er...well, actually I do try to hide it sometimes; I guess I still have to work on that one. I have a feeling it makes girls uneasy.

There's lots more to say about wrinkles, but I guess this is all I have time for now. One of these days I'll post about another interesting mens fashion: the slim, crimped waist look with the outrageously over-sized hats and spit-shined patent leather shoes. 


Lester Hunt said...

Yes, in my experience, girls find pants tents creepy. I can't imagine why.

Another fascinating post, Eddie!

Mike said...

I would recommend studying books by Andrew Loomis on illustration for wrinkles.

Anonymous said...

What I love about the "tent pole" phenomenon is that women always assume thats whats going on ;)

trevor said...

Are you a fan of the zoot suit, Eddie?

- trevor.

Anonymous said...

in addition to my last post, creepy lecherous men are something cartoonists are awesome at drawing, especially ones with a perception of themselves as a classy don juan type

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Mike: Wow! Good to be reminded of that!

Trevor: Yeah, zoot suits are really great, but...some zoot suits are a lot better than others.

Bitter Animator said...

I've never been a suit man. Although, I've been cleaning out a room over the last few days and I found a black shiny, plastic suit that I had - texture is almost like cling film (I think you Americans call that something else). It looked great in its day but there were little chips out of the material and the cut is old so I had to bin it.

It was quite sad.

That suit aside, no, I'm not much of a suit man. It's like a uniform. Though the images you post do show that something with the same basic structure can look very different depending on material and wearer.

Phantom Spitter said...

Strangely, my shirt doesn't have interesting wrinkles, but my pant legs do. I wonder why? Anyway, here's a list of my favorite artists who I think draw wrinkles well:

Hank Ketcham
Wally Wood
Robert Williams
Drew Friedman
Bud Fisher
Norman Rockwell
Graham Ingels

pappy d said...

The Famous Artist course has some good stuff on the basic principles of a suit. There must be a better way to link, but I'm a cyber-nincompoop.


...some Loomis zip files:


David Gale said...

There's an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that revolves around the tent pole phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

Any woman who fears a tent pole is not a person you should mess with.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir, It is interesting that you should bring up forties/fifties fashion trends.

I found while writing the latest post on my blog that Wikipedia has, oddly enough, a broad collection of Manhattan Project vintage Los Alamos ID Badges. The photographer had an unusual talent for bringing out the personalities of those involved.

First, I already knew Feynman the irrepressible imp:

Then, I found a conflicted Robert Oppenheimer,

Soviet Spy Klaus Fuchs,

And Sneaky Edward Teller:

But I find some people can't be captured on camera, like Von Neumann:

cwyatt said...

I know people who iron their sheets.

Anonymous said...

Gangsters wear baggy clothes full of wrinkles.

Pete Emslie said...

I like the expressive wrinkles found in the clothing of characters drawn by the king of cartoonists, Jack Davis!

By the way, forgive me Eddie if I am less interested in all this talk of wrinkles while being more fascinated by the sight of President Nixon levitating and hovering around the Oval Office. No wonder they called him "Tricky Dicky"!

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, this is a great post! I've been thinking about all the different cuts and eras of men's suits lately, and have gathered a lot of pictures from the show Mad Men in this process, with terrific wrinkles!

Wrinkles on Mad Men 1
Wrinkles on Mad Men 2
Wrinkles on Mad Men 3
Wrinkles on Mad Men 4
Wrinkles on Mad Men 5
Wrinkles on Mad Men 6

These were some of the best I could find, but the best wrinkles are on the women's clothing on the actual show, not publicity stills. I couldn't find any examples online, though.

They're the kind of wrinkles under the breasts, on the belly, and around the waist that result from the tight fit and material used in women's clothing back then.

Aaron said...

Piles of clothing and or fabric are always hard and fun to draw.

Anonymous said...

In the days prior to wash and wear fabrics, wrinkles were more intrusive and interesting.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Pappy: Wow! Thanks a million for the great links! They don't cover all that cartoonists need to know, but they're a good place to start!

David: I saw that episode. That's a great series isn't it!?

Cwyatt: I grew up with crispy starched and iron sheets, and it's a great memory. I offered to do that for my kids. You can buy sheet ironers with hot rollers that do practically all the work for you, but my kids weren't interested. I ache to think of what they lost. I should have done it without asking.

Phantom, Peter: An interesting list, Phantom, but as Pete points out you forgot Jack Davis.

Mr. Trombley: I couldn't get through...a computer glitch I guess. I'll try again later.

Jorge: Those men are well-groomed but I don't see many unique wrinkles like the ones in Kennedy's jacket.

cwyatt said...

Sheet rollers that do the work for you??? How? Where? I'm so curious.

Loved to draw wrinkles in college. I got an "A" in wrinkle drawing...YAY!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

CWyatt: Sheet ironing devices used to be common in the high-end stores but I haven't seen any lately. Come to think of it, I don't see starch as often as I used to.

Phantom Spitter said...

Aw! How could I forget Jack Davis on my list? Or John Severin, or Robert Crumb, or Bill Griffith, or Charles Schulz, or Milton Caniff, or Charles Crumb, or Vincent Waller, or George Wunder, or Salvador Dali, or...

Phantom Spitter said...

Eddie! This doesn't have anything to do with the post but I now have a blog! When I get a scanner, Milt Gross Funnies #1 will be on the net for all to see!

Jenny said...

I believe the peculiar hang of JFK's coat is due to: the back brace he's wearing and the size his jacket had to be so as not to show the outlines of the corset/brace. It also led to his standing either stiffly or when he did sloiuch, oddball things happening to the suit as is shown here.

It does look interesting though, whatever the reasons..

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Phantom: You didn't enable the comments on your blog!

jenny: Interesting! I had trouble finding good wrinkle pictures in the time I had. President Kennedy was the best I could do.

Jenny said...

Hey Eddie!---the Kennedy photo is GREAT! I was just offering a theory as to why he had the odd fit/wrinkling, not why you posted it. Did it sound that way? Bloody internets!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jenny: Haw! No offence taken!

Dinesh said...

Hello Eddie,

One of the pictures above (fourth from the last) is MINE. No issues for using without my permission. But I certainly deserve a credit and a clear link that points to my web page from where you pulled that picture. Plus, you should respectfully introduce me alongside the photo. For the intro, visit my site.

superchick said...

any idea about rough silk for jackets