What you first got to consider when drawing a cape is the length of it. Length size may vary starting from the left – Extra Short, Short, Medium, and Long.
Most characters usually has the Medium and Long lengths though you may go for something different and try the shorter two versions. Think about it; it would be pretty bizarre if a knight has a short cape!
The next thing you should consider about a cape is it’s width. Width may vary from thin (i.e. exact shoulder length or a bit smaller), medium (i.e. a little wider than the shoulder – passing the shoulder a bit), and wide (i.e. completely covering the shoulder, possibly so far as covering the whole body too).
Most of the times, characters have the wide cape as opposed to the thin and medium widths.
(The picture is a back view of a person)
When drawing a cape, you have to consider gravity and force. Gravity constantly pulls down on a cape as seen in the middle example. In this case, there is usually folds near the neck where all the cloth is gathered in semi-circle type lines and several straight lines going downwards nearer the shoulders.
It becomes a bit more complicated when more than one force is pulling on an object. Consider the other two examples on the left and the right. In the left most picture, the person is pulling outwards. These two new forces are more than gravity so as folds now have to be drawn towards the higher force – the hands.
Meanwhile, the right most example has the person pulling upwards. Again, folds have to move or be drawn according to that force. Notice that at the bottom, the cape moves upwards a bit since the rest of the cape is being pulled up.
(The picture is a back view of a person)
Another force that you have to consider is the wind.
First thing you have to consider is where is the wind blowing? Up? Down? Left? Right? …?
From there, draw the cape accordingly. The right example, for instance, has the wind blowing from behind the person which makes the cape “outline” the character’s figure and wrap itself around the person.
The left example, on the other hand, has the cape flapping upwards. When drawing a cape like this, all you have to do is draw rounded lines that will in the end roughly look like a triangle except with curvy edges.
There are several types of capes: Low Collar, High Collar, Hooded, and Plain.
Low Collars are until just beneath the ear.
High Collars are anything higher than the ear.
Hooded capes have hoods, of course.
Plain capes are just that – plain. Nothing fancy.
As far as drawing the Collared capes, you just basically draw two lines on the left and right side of the face which widen as you go upwards. It will look a bit like a triangle in the end. To finish it off, just draw a straight line behind the head that connects that two “triangles” on either side of the face.
Plain capes are nothing fancy – think of the drawing a shirt except that it opens in the middle.
Drawing hoods are a bit tricky but all you really need to keep in mind is that:
a. There are two “circles” around the head. One “circle” near the face and another “circle” farther from the face.
b. Leave enough room around the head, especially as you get nearer the neck as gravity makes the hood rest on the head and the rest hang down.
c. When drawing the hood down, you will have to draw folds that are slightly above the rest of the cape folds to show that there is a hood attached.
Another important aspect of a cape is how it is held. The typical ways are two points, part of armor, and one point.
Two points have two buttons or something similar on both sides of the cape which is joined by anything that can pull the two sides together.
Part of armor is when the cape itself is attached to the armor — typically on top of the shoulder guards.
One point is when the cape wraps around the person completely and is held at one point.
Holders are usually jewelry, cords, metal pieces, and clasps of some kind.
Now comes the fun part! When it comes to designing your cape, you can get pretty creative… or not. The following three are examples; the left drawing being the overall picture while the right drawing being a select close up.
The left example is a fancier version of the two point hold with a plate at center with an engraving and two tassels on either end.
The bottom left is a closer look at a one point hold using a ribbon.
Below is a cape which has some markings on the cape itself. You can a have a simple design with solid lines or go crazy with more intricate designs.
All in all, the look of your cape depends on your imagination but if you get stuck, take a look at some anime fantasy characters to get you started.