So after a bit of an Easter holiday break, it's back to some drawing practice and I'm up to exploring areas of light and dark. Smagula gives a good description of the term chiaroscuro which is an Italian term that refers to the opposition of dark and light tones to create perception of 3D forms and the illusion of space.
The project this week was to arrange some kitchen implements on a table and make sure there is a clear directional light to create shadows and clear highlights. I did this drawing at night time and the overhead light was sufficient to create some shadow effects, otherwise you can use a lamp to shine on the objects. This drawing was done with graphite pencils. I tried to think about clear light and dark areas and kept in mind the tonal categories from last weeks post regarding the technicality of drawing the highlights and shadow areas. I'm happy with the way this drawing has turned out. I think a 3D effect has been successfully created with the tonal shading. This drawing took between 30 - 45 minutes, but I was taking a lot of care with the shading. I feel quite comfortable with this style of tonal drawing.
So, I'm about a third of the way through the textbook (Creative Drawing by Howard Smagula in case you've just randomly stumbled across this post on the www..) and we're finally able to add a bit of shading and explore "Value" (or as I learnt it at school - "tone"). Smagula does actually go into a bit of technical detail here in explaining the difference between hue and tone and even includes a couple of diagrams of a 10 point value scale (such as the one I did in the first picture next to the pear) and a diagram of a ball with all the technical values indicated (highlight, light, shadow, core of shadow, reflected light, cast shadow). I bet you thought colouring in was not going to be so technical !
A friend of mine mentioned that in art school in Korea, you would probably take about a year just to master this aspect of drawing balls. She's been practicing drawing balls with her Korean teacher and I have to say, her ball was really fantastic and so much better than my rustic looking eggs (above).
Anyways.. the project this week was to place some eggs on a white sheet of paper and observe the shadows and highlights in relation to the direction of the light. It would have made things easier if I'd used a lamp to emphasise the direction of the light, but as it was, the light was coming from the window and hitting the eggs in a couple of different places. The shading was supposed to be done with cross hatching. I'd like to do more spherical tonal practice, just to work on the technical aspect of the shading to understand it and to get it right.
Below are some other tonal practice drawings I did a few years ago from Bert Dodson's "Keys to Drawing" book, using knowledge of the tonal categories
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.