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"Antique" by Megan Byrne, Angel Academy of Art

While I was taking this workshop at GCA, I was ready to be done with drawing at this point.  I wanted to get to the fun part…painting!  There’s something so freeing and satisfying about the brush tip making marks on your canvas, and the ability to manipulate it.  However, I disciplined myself to stay on task one more day, and was surprised at how much my drawing developed in just one day of adding details.

As you work on rendering the correct values for the shadow shapes, remember that there should never be a harsh line.

At this point, you’re allowed to think about reflected light, like the kind you may see underneath the chin, or on the side of the nose, or above the eyes right below the eyebrows.  Reflected light helps support the volume you already created with your lights and darks.  Once you pass the terminator (the point where the form turns away completely from the light), all light in the shadow comes from reflected light.  This is particularly helpful to know if painting, when the reflected light may be a different color tint than the direct form light (for instance, the form light may be coming from a lamp, and the reflected light is a natural light from a window.  In that case the reflected light would be blueish, and the form light more yellow.  But I’m getting ahead of myself 🙂 )  Back to drawing!

"Maria" Final stage drawing, graphite on paper, by Jessica Libor 2011

You shouldn’t have as much information such as details and variation in value in the shadows as you do in the light.  Put in LESS reflected light than you want to.  You have to make sacrifices as an artist.  Model twenty percent of what you want to in the shadows!  It’s all about self control.  Resist the urge to exaggerate favorite details such as eyelashes.

Layer from softer pencils to harder.  The harder the pencil, the more light and precise you will be.  Compare every value.  Ask yourself, should this plane be lighter than this plane?

When rendering hair, think of it as a shining object, a single thing, not the millions of hair strands that it is.  When seen in light, it functions like a satin ribbon.   The hightlight actually runs in perpendicular to the way hair grows.  Notice the hair in the piece below.

Study of a New York Woman, by Graydon Parrish