In this chapter, you will learn about the objects and pointers that we, as artists, have come to rely on in our studio environment. Our years of experience will help you avoid the practical pitfalls you may come across while drawing.
Ample Space 25
Types of Easels 26
Mirror Use 28
Lighting is an extremely important aspect of drawing to consider. Drawing is about what you see and how you see your subject. Light is the most important element of drawing because it reveals the structure of an object. Only by accurately drawing the lighting on your subject will you be able to convey a sense of space and dimension.
When you set up a subject to draw, it is helpful in the beginning to control your light source. The photo on the right shows a jug lit by artificial light. Can you tell what direction the light is coming from, judging by the shadows it is creating? (The answer is at the bottom of this page.)
To provide a readily available light source, you can buy an artist studio light that you can easily move around with its lightweight stand. It has a pivoting head so that you can move the light bulb up and down to suit your needs. It is easy to identify the shapes of light and shadow in this setup. The light does not change because it is constant—you control it. Consequently, when you arrange your lighting setup, you control the design element of your drawing. Notice the long shadow to the right of the jug. If you accurately draw the shape of this shadow, you will define the jug because the shadow is an integral part of the jug. It is like putting a puzzle together; every piece interlocks with every other piece.
The lighting source on the jug is coming from the left.
Natural light is another term for daylight. It is a beautiful, soft light that gently glides over objects, giving them a softer appearance than that from artificial light. Edges of objects are not sharply defined, as they can be when using artificial light. This lighting creates more subtle and gradual changes in tones on objects. It can therefore be more difficult to render an object with this type of light.
As you gain more experience in your drawing, we encourage you to use natural light. An important point to remember is to light your objects by a window where there is no influence from direct sunlight. This will enable you to work for a longer period, as you will not have to deal with disturbing bands of sunlight or shadows across your paper. Draw from real life and not from photographs. This is simply because you can alter things in life by adjusting the objects to your light source. You cannot change or "investigate" anything in a photograph if you do not fully understand its form or texture. There is no substitute for the real object in front of you.
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Not only do you have to consider the light on the object you are about to draw, you must also consider the light on your easel. It is an easy factor to forget, but it is important. You have to be able to see clearly what you are drawing. When using natural light, make sure when you begin that your easel is being lit by a north-facing window, as it will provide you with the most constant source of light that is unaffected by the movement of the earth around the sun. The different types of easels available are discussed on page 26.
If you prefer a constant source of light, and have no north facing windows to light your studio, then you must use artificial light. Light your easel as well as you can. Here, the artist has used 4-foot "fluorescent style" daylight temperature tubes. He has angled the light bulbs down toward the easel. The light bulbs in this overhead setup are called daylight bulbs. These light bulbs simulate daylight and radiate a cool light, rather than the hot light of ordinary light bulbs. (This is normally a consideration when using color in your work.)
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