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This exercise can go on forever because you will always come across objects that you have rarely drawn before, and there is always more to learn. However, try to find something made of metal, something made of glass, and something natural, like fruit or plants. The examples here are produced in watercolour because it is a very flexible medium, rather difficult to start with, but easy enough to handle when you've made the first steps.

Here is an ordinary metal kettle, not very shiny, but reflective enough. First, outline the shape with the brush, using a grey colour. When that is dry, flood the main light areas at the top of the kettle in a cool light blue-grey and a warmer brown-grey for the lower parts. Don't forget to leave little areas of white paper unpainted to indicate the highlights on the handle, lid and spout. When the first colour is dry, put in a dark neutral grey on the lower part to give darker shadows, but wash it off to one side of the main body of the kettle, so that the surface appears curved. Then, sparingly, put in darker tones on the handle and lid.

When you come to fruit, which I have chosen here, the method is similar but the contrast between dark and light is not so great. The purple grapes are painted smoothly round with most of the colour towards the edges of the fruit and, occasionally, across more of the surface. Leave one small area of white paper on each grape completely untouched to achieve the effect of the tiny highlight that occurs on glossy objects like grapes. The edges can be darkened as much as you like and any spaces between the grapes can be filled in very dark indeed. Put in a bit of background tone also, to 'anchor' the grapes in place.

The next example is of a glass; you have already attempted this in pastel, so you know the problems involved. You must include the background here because glass is defined by the fact that the background colour will show through. Again, you have to leave areas of unpainted white paper around the edges of the glass and across its broader facets, to mimic the reflected light that convinces the eye that this is indeed a glass object. Once you have put in the background and the brightest, lightest areas, you can put in the dark ones. This contrast between dark and light is the standard way of showing reflective surfaces. Parts of the outline can be very dark, and some left white.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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