Basic 101 Class 23
“Drawing glass is really no different than drawing any other subject. Attention to detail and accurate values are what creates the illusion of shiny glass”.----Karen Cardinal, Colored Pencil Forum.
The Glass Class
I remember a trick that we used to do in college. It involved “eating glass”. We would smash a light bulb—take a piece of it and slowly chew it—crunch it up a lot and then swallow it. Ah, college days. Do NOT try this yourself.
The key to the trick is to choose the right glass and to make sure that you totally broke down the glass.
Fact, glass is sand. That is what glass is made of –it is a silicon based product and the making of glass is ancient in its origins so it makes perfect sense that we would want to portray glass in our drawings.
Like the glass eating trick—that is all there is to drawing glass or anything transparent for that matter—it’s a trick—you don’t draw the glass you draw what it happens to be reflecting.
Glass is made of light, reflection and sand. Don’t concentrate on the problem of drawing the glass—think about what about what the glass “sees” and shows back to you—the reflection. Think about the shape of the glass—are there curves? Are there patterns in the glass—is there water in the container—are there distortions—what is or are the light sources? Is the glass colored OR is the reflection of the glass creating colors and patterns that you can exploit to create the illusion of glass. What about stain glass—how does light and reflection effect this type of glass. Is the glass clean—what if the glass is dirty—does the dirt distort the reflections? What is in, beside or behind the glass—what about windows, glasses, skylights, fishbowls. Consider the thickness of the glass—what about prisms.
Glass, as a personality, is very complex but is easy and fun to draw. Here are some glassy things to always keep in mind:
1. Focus on what the glass is reflecting—not the glass itself.
2. Focus on your light sources.
3. Tone and value are very, very important when drawing glass
4. When drawing in color, keep in mind that glass will sometimes break down light into its different spectrum bandwidths (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Indigo, and Violet)—consider using these in a limited palette along with white, black (if you must) and gray.
5. ALL transparent objects are comprised of dark and light patterns in varying degrees of value.
6. You don’t always have to draw the exact reflection—sometimes you can just indicate the reflection as a difused image (draw just the patterns and not the picture).
7. VERY important in drawing glass—Highlights, midtones, darks---work the darks first, then the highlights and then fill in the midtones.
A short list but this will help you move well on your way to adding the glass dimension to your artist’s bag of tricks.
The following four examples are demonstrations of the creation of a glass object. They are overly simplified, of course, and I really should follow my own advice and use a centerline.
The first two demos are done in graphite:
1. Lightly draw the line drawing and PLEASE use a centerline
2. Fill in your patterns
3. Add in your values
4. Use an eraser to fill in your highlights if necessary.
The second two sketches are in color using Prismacolor Pencils:
In the first one, I did a line drawing of the glass, and then filled in specific points with aquamarine. Next, I took a solvent called Turpenoid and, using a q-tip—dissolved the colored pencil to create a watercolor like effect. I then created darks by using a combination of Indigo Blue and Raspberry. Finally, I used Peacock and olive green to complete the glass.
In the next one, I did the line drawing very lightly and then developed the drawing using French gray 20 percent. Next I took indigo blue and tuscan red and created the darks. Finally I filled out the drawing using mineral orange. Notice, that in the sketch I have only indicated the reflection using a series of patterns.