Part 2: Project 6: Exercise 3 – Tonal study

Brief

By now you should have a clear idea of the basic elements of your drawing. For this tonal exercise, work on a large scale (A2 to A1) and use light marks to map out the composition. Be sure to use all of the picture space.

Look carefully at how the light falls across your subject. Half close your eyes to help you see the broad tonal areas. Think about how you can convey the volume of forms in your drawing. Explore your subject using the techniques you learned in Part One.

Notice the lightest areas and map them in. Using charcoal, soft pencil, conté or pastel, work out the mid-tone areas and the darkest. Find a way to convey the subtle gradations within these areas. All of the media mentioned will give you problems of smudging, so work from the centre of a dark area outwards so that your hand doesn’t rest on an area of heavy charcoal or graphite. Don’t worry if you lose lighter areas; you can use a putty rubber to pick out highlights. You could also use white paint, chalk or conté for this, but be careful not to overdo it. Look for the lightest tones again when the drawing is almost finished.

Keep looking from your subject to your drawing while squinting to check on tonal values.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - course notes image
Vincent van Gogh, Cradle, (pencil on paper)

Process

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - outline sketch in charcoal
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – outline sketch in charcoal

The basic composition to build on. On A2 fine grain heavy weight paper.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - first pass
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – first pass

A first application of very light charcoal stick all over the composition to lay down a base ground was followed by a pass of slightly heavier shading to catch the mid-tones.

To add to the weak daylight coming in through the bathroom window above the sink basin I had added an artificial light bulb from above the back corner to give a more dramatic look to the foreground.

In this first pass I finished with marking in the darker tones, particularly in the shadows.

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study - second pass
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study – second pass

Using a putty eraser I picked out the key highlight areas in the composition and started to tone down some of the lighter areas in the foreground.

My feeling is – leave it overnight and take a fresh look in the morning – maybe some more darker tones requires in the deep shadows.

I need to watch that I don’t over work it.

Finished drawing

A last tweak to the back chair leg next to the set of drawers to slightly thicken the width below the chair seat in order to align it up better with the upper part of the leg back above the seat. I started out to darken some of the deeper shadows but soon discovered that what I was adding made no noticeable difference – dark is dark and can’t be made darker? I was also in danger of smudging and overworking – so I stopped. This is my finished drawing. Only thing left to do is apply fixative:

Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 - Tonal study finished drawing
Part 2 Project 6 Exercise 3 – Tonal study finished drawing

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015