Choose a simple single object to start with. Work in your sketchbook using four drawing tools such as pencil, ballpoint pen, dip pen and black ink and drawing pen. Divide a page into four and try to make four distinct grades of tone using crisscrossing lines – hatching – and spots. Try marks close together or further apart, short and long lines, curved and straight, large and small spots and stipples, etc. Don’t worry about neatness or accuracy.
Once you’ve practised a range of small lines and marks, arrange three or four objects and make a very quick and loose line drawing. Don’t draw obvious outlines; use just enough line to indicate the objects’ three-dimensionality, then work fast, using the hatching and/or spotting techniques to create tonal shadows that will make the sketches more believable as objects.
1. Half closing your eyes will help you eliminate most of the detail and see the range of tones.
2. Use slightly longer lines, cross-hatching, different amounts of pressure, etc. to create the impression of shadow. Unless the object is suspended in the air, its cast shadow will always be joined to it and emerge from it.
3. Avoid outlining shadows – either before or after drawing them. If you look at shadows closely you’ll see they have a sharp or soft edge, but no outline.
As you’ve probably realised by now, a flat area will never be evenly lit: the part closest to the light will always have the lightest tones and there will be some gradations of middle tones, however minimal. Look carefully at a flat surface such as a table top and see if you can identify the gradations of tone. Some light sources provide a more even tone, for example a fluorescent strip light or sunlight on a surface outside.
Review your work for the previous two exercises. How difficult did you find it to distinguish between light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light? How has awareness of tone affected your depiction of form? Make some notes in your learning log.
Process and Critique
A simple box shape, drawn from a standing position with pencil, biro, graphite and a nib pen. I think that I managed four distinct grades of tone in the pencil (lines) and graphite (spots and lines) sketches. However, I found it much harder to achieve this using ink, maybe just about with the biro, but not at all with the nib pen and ink as I found it difficult to control the flow of ink off the nib and control of the weight of the nib on the paper.
My four objects were a box, an upside-down tin, a clear plastic pot and a wooden ink rubber stamp. I used graphite pencil for this drawing and I think I managed to control the weight of the pencil on the paper more successfully and loosely, laying down differing grades of tone using lines and marks of varying pressure and styles of application – straight and curved lines, cross-hatching and what I can best describe as ‘squiggles’ (top of tin can). The main difficulty I found was trying not to outline the shadows, particularly with the larger box.
The light source for both drawings was a 13w side lamp clipped onto the right-hand side of the backing board. I probably made the right-hand side of the can closest to the light too dark in tone, although I think the other objects deal with this better. Both in this and the previous exercise I found that identifying the impact of the primary light source and the resulting shadows was relatively straightforward. However, capturing the effect of secondary reflected light was more tricky, although the relationship between the left-hand side of the tin can and the right-hand side of the box shape has a suggestion of reflected light. Likewise, in Exercise 2, the light seeping around the back and front of the candlestick from the right does have an effect on the surface of the cheese dish top.
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
19 May 2015