Ex: Observing Light and Shadow continued

I’m much happier with this last drawing.  There seems to be a greater different in tone between the different parts of each of the objects.  The highlights stand out more here, because I covered the whole object in a light shade and then removed the highlights, which was easier than trying to work around a highlighted area.

I’m still finding the pencil a hard medium to work with.  In my head I can see the very slight changes in variation, especially in the cast shadows on the left side, but I feel I’m still struggling to translate that onto paper.

While I have been doing this exercise I have been making a really effort to look for light and shadow, in actual objects and in the drawings of other artists.  I think this is helping me to be able to see it better.  I’m assuming that the more I practice the easier it will become, to see and draw.

Ex: Observing Light and Shadow Juggling Balls in pencil

Ex: Observing Light and Shadow Juggling Balls in pencil

Ex: Observing light and shadow juggling ball subject

Ex: Observing light and shadow juggling ball subject

Project 2.2 Tone and Form Ex: Observing light and shadow

Ex: Observing light and shadow

  • 2 simple objects lit from one side
  • watched a video on shading light and form from http://www.proto.com
  • the video used an egg, so I got two boiled eggs and put them on a light surface, and closed the curtains for stronger shadows.
Ex Observing Light and Shadow - sketch of shadow and light areas

Ex Observing Light and Shadow – sketch of shadow and light areas



Ex Observing Light and Shadow - 3B pencil

Ex Observing Light and Shadow – 3B pencil











Struggling with getting transition between the areas of shading.  Is my pencil too soft?

Ex Observing Light and Shadow - Micron 02 fine liner

Ex Observing Light and Shadow – Micron 02 fine liner







Ex Observing Light and Shadow HB Pencil

Ex Observing Light and Shadow HB Pencil







The shape of the eggs aren’t great – but the shading is slowly improving

The highlights don’t seem to stand out enough – because the areas around it aren’t dark enough.

Spent more time this week practising this exercise on different objects and trying to improve seeing the light and shade, but also how to do it.

This included a discussion with my husband about whether you can create an outline for the shadow area.  He says you can, and it does make it easier, but from my observations of my own sketches and my memory of those of others, my thinking is it depends…on the media, how deep the shadows is and where it is.

Practising tone and shading

I’m going to do some more exercises with the two objects, but I need to do it in the evening, when the shadows stand out much better under artificial light.

Practising tone and shading in the garden

Practising tone and shading in the garden







Practising tone and shading on a parasol - very appropriate!

Practising tone and shading on a parasol – very appropriate!

Project 2.2 Tone and Form

Ex: Circle to Ball, Shape to Form

I found this exercise quite challenging and the results show me that I need a lot more practice in two areas:

  • the creation of tone – actually making the marks
  • seeing light and shade

I used the ono round object I could find, which was a multi-coloured juggling ball.  It was hard to see really clearly where the light and shade areas were on the different coloured areas of the ball.

In terms of creating the marks I used mostly 3B, 6B and 9B pencils, but I think I need more practice in controlling the pencil and the hand-eye translating what I’m seeing to what ends up on the paper.  I realise some of this, if not all, is just I haven’t had enough practice in drawing generally and in using the different techniques available to create tone.

This is all something I will continue to practice, and to use this as an opportunity to practice drawing round shapes and my observational drawing.

Project 2.2 Ex Circle to Ball, Shape to Form

Project 2.2 Ex Circle to Ball, Shape to Form

Project 2.1 Tonal Variation

Ex: Graduation of tone using repeated marks

Using compressed charcoal.

Sheet 1 – Light

Sheet 2 – Medium

Sheet 3 – Dark

Sheet 4 – between two tones – Light/Medium

It was difficult to get consistent mark sizes with the charcoal wearing down so quickly all the time, but I think I may have managed to get mostly consistency of tone in each sheet.

With all four sheets in light to dark order it looks like a darker tone progression.

It seems to be all about the pressure of the marks and keeping them even to get the same tone throughout the sheet.

As I’m nervous and unsure of my use of tone, I think it is worth practising as suggested with dots, repeated lines, curves and cross-hatching and in a range of media, including pencil, fine lines and charcoal pencils and on different papers to see how that impacts the effects.

Additional tonal variation practice Sheet 1

Additional tonal variation practice Sheet 1

Additional tonal variation practice Sheet 2

Additional tonal variation practice Sheet 2

Project 1.3 Self Portrait

This was hard, for a number of reasons:

  • For vanity reasons – it wasn’t the most flattering pose and sitting looking at my double chin for an hour wasn’t great!
  • I’m not drawn to drawing people.  In fact I would say I never draw them and probably go out of my way to avoid drawing them.  Possibly because I lack confidence, but also because I am interested in drawing other things.
  • I’m also not confident in my drawing skills, especially in creating tones, light and shadow on the subject, so I didn’t feel I had the skills to complete this too my satisfaction.
  • But, I am also quite critical, in an objective way, I think.  Looking at the picture now I can see a number of areas where it doesn’t work, but the skill I need is to get it right while I’m doing it!

I look miserable too!

Project 1.3 Self Portrait

Project 1.3 Self Portrait

After the comments, I’ve added the photo of the pose below, with miserable look and double chin!

Pose for self portrait

Pose for self portrait

Project 1.2 Drawing from Memory and Drawing Blind

Ex: Drawing from Memory

I was surprised how much detail I remembered.  Perhaps this is from the build up of the course so far and learning to really look at an object, not just what you think you see?

With hindsight I needed to look more closely at the perspective, but this is something I’m not very familiar with yet.

With only five minutes I was also feeling like I needed to rush.

Drawing from Memory

Drawing from Memory

Ex: Drawing Blind

Having looked at Claude Heath‘s work and read articles about him and quotes form him I was really trying to be aware of the feel of the object with my eyes; the sharp edges which cut on the grater, where the metal folds into curves and the roundness of the handle.

I’m pleased with the individual elements, but obviously they don’t line up, as I wasn’t doing continuous line drawing, and wasn’t looking at what I was drawing.  But I do feel like you can see the real contours of the object; certainly better than when I was doing the contour drawing exercise.

From reading articles about Claude Heath’s approach it seems to work for me to really feel the object with your eyes.  Perhaps it creates a better, more conscious, connection between the eyes and the hand?  I think this will be something I will try and incorporate into my observational drawing in future, trying to feel the object with my eyes.

Drawing Blind

Drawing Blind

Drawing Blind and from Memory object

Drawing Blind and from Memory object

Project 1.2 Contour Drawing

Ex: Contour Drawing

This was harder than I imagined, but not in the way I expected.  Rather than struggling with a realistic likeness, the thing I struggled most with was only drawing the contour, not the rest of the object.  I must be used to drawing the other bits of the object as well as the outside.

Getting everything to meet up, where it should be was difficult, especially with not being able to take the pen off the paper.  I also found my hand got in the way.

Looking back at the sheets I’m not sure there was a great deal of improvement through the seven sheets and 26 drawings.  The early ones seem as good.  Not sure what that says about how I did the exercise.

The hardest thing was really getting everything in place while just drawing the outline, such as the spout lined up with the top of the handle, while the top and bottom of the spout and handles lined up with each other.

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Ex: Blind Contour Drawing

It felt like the pressure was off in this exercise.  Because I couldn’t see what I was drawing, I wasn’t worrying about whether it was all lined up or a true likeness. As a result I enjoyed this more than the ordinary contour drawing exercise.

I started each of the drawings in a different place on the object to see if it would change the outcome, but looking at the sheet they all look like replicas of the same object; which is good.

I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t drawn the object 26 times already?  Would this have affected the blind drawing? I think probably.  I was more comfortable drawing the object as I had been looking at it for so long.

Ex Blind Contour Drawing

Ex Blind Contour Drawing

Reflection on Contour Drawing

I enjoyed drawing the blind drawing more, but probably because it felt like the pressure was off.

It doesn’t seem like there is much different between the two exercises as representation of the teapot, which I worry about what it says about my observational drawing skills!

How much will I use this type of drawing? Not sure, much.  It seemed alien to be just concentrating on the outline, but I understand this was about observational skills mostly.