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Art Instruction: Assignment 3

Updated on August 29, 2012

Drawing and Shading Exercises

We're interjecting this lesson into the exercises listed in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." The reason we're doing this is that after doing the first two lessons, it has become apparent that the transition from copying line work to drawing from life can be difficult. Drawing from a few black and white photographs can ease the transition.

I would recommend that you do these exercises more than once. There are basic principles about drawing and rendering -- the improvement of which will be visible over time -- that you will see more easily if you revisit lessons like this every now and then.

Drawing 1 - Draw Simple Shapes

Draw the contours as you've been taught so far in Betty Edwards, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." Getting familiar with drawing simple shapes will pay dividends later on when we study perspective, and again when we learn construction (the modeling of form based on simple shapes).

These exercises are the first ones to involve shading. Keep in mind that tone changes on on plaster casts will only occur for the following reasons:

1. Plane changes in the surface.

2. Cast Shadows

3. Reflected light. Look on the left side of the cone to see what I mean. The tone is lighter because light is reflected from the pyramid shape.

4. Distance from light.

Drawing 2 - Michelangelo's David: Hand close up.

This is a more complex shape, but the same reasons for tone chances in the lesson above hold true. When shading, look for the plane changes, and resist the urge to model your shading where there is no plane change.

Also ask yourself questions about the value of the shading. When shading ask yourself "Is this black, a dark grey, a light grey, or a white?"

Drawing 3 - Michelangelo's David: Head 1

Drawing from images of plaster casts is a time honored tradition. It is one of the methods that Vincent van Gogh used to develop his drawing ability.

Drawing 4 - Michelangelo's David: Head 2

Here is the head in another position.

Drawing 5 - Michelangelo's David: Head 1

One final image to round off the lesson.

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