Basic 101: Class 8
Light and Shade
Materials: For this class, as I am sure some of you are already doing, you can use the full range of drawing pencils, you may use mechanical pencils or any pencil which will afford you the rich darks that you will need for the project.
Light and dark are the consequence of each other. They play upon one another and co-mingle in a tenuous but mutual existence. They are the perfect example of action and reaction. Light and dark are the things that scary is made of or, more appropriately, mood and atmosphere, ambience and setting. They are the great influencers of emotions, setting the stage for Hamlet-like broodings or the bubbling merriments of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.
In a single community project, we will be exploring light and shade.
There are properties to light and shade: There is artificial light that you can control and there is natural light in which light controls you. In our project, which is outdoors, the property is natural light but we have control over the project because it is a photograph frozen in a single moment. For the general discussion and not the project we will be referring to objects lit artificially.
For the time being let us only deal with ONE light source. Light falls on an object and separates into distinct regions—these regions BLEND into one another—this point is very important. The brightest region is the point where the light directly hits the surface of the object and the darkest region is where the light source is least effected by the light source. Simple enough. BETWEEN the two extreme regions of light and dark there exist other regions of varying degrees of light and dark. The region that lies midway between the lightest and darkest region is called the MIDTONE.
When shading an object establish these three regions FIRST then lay in the other regions of varying degrees. MAKE SURE THAT ALL REGIONS BLEND INTO ONE ANOTHER.
When you do a drawing it is a good idea to create a tonal scale so that you have a good grip on how you will proceed with light and shadow. First lets do a simple tonal scale. For this exercise, I am only doing four degrees of shade but you can have as many as you choose. Note that I am only using one pencil—in this case, a 2b—by varying your degree of pressure you can create an entire range of values—again by just using ONE pencil (See Figure 1).
Now lets, try the same exercise on a sphere. Draw your sphere and then shade it accordingly. Mentally mark your bright light and your darkest dark and then locate the center value (the mid-tone). Once you have drawn in these values then move on to the lesser values and complete the sphere. Try this exercise also on a cone, cylinder and square.
Below you will notice a photograph of a tree. I took this shot myself early one morning. Your task is to take this tree and reproduce its texture and its values. I have also, for your convenience, provided a grayscale for you to use as a reference.
Exercise 3: Now that you have conquered the tree, the last step is to put SOMETHING in the tree that means something to you personally—something that will identify this as your tree. It could be a tree house, a person, a cat, a ball, a swing, anything that you so choose.
Good luck and Happy Drawing!!!
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