Squint and Observe

While looking and squinting at your entire still life setup, determine where the lightest light and the darkest dark are (see page 55). The lightest light usually appears on the lightest or most reflective object that is closest to the light source. The darkest dark usually appears in the area that is farthest from the light source, such as a crevice or under the object (as in the still life). If you find it difficult to see the lightest light or darkest dark with your eye alone, consider where the light is coming from and which portion of the object it is shining on. Also consider the texture of the object receiving the light.

Once you have determined where the lightest light and darkest dark are, indicate them on your drawing. With your eraser, erase the shape of the lightest light area. With a 4B pencil (or higher B number), draw the shape of the darkest dark area. Don't press too hard on the pencil. You may want to refine this shape later, or you may want to make it a little lighter later on. Now that you have two reference points, form a scale from lightest to darkest with which to compare all of the other areas of tone in your object or objects (see page 53). If you are using more than one object, you will still choose only one area for the lightest light, as you are establishing only one tonal scale for the whole drawing. If you see a tone in the light area that isn't quite as bright as your lightest light, you can observe to what degree that area is darker than your lightest light.

The

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Peephole

Discover the Pattern of Light and Shadow chapter U

A helpful technique to aid your eye in establishing the scale of your tones is to use a peephole.

A helpful technique to aid your eye in establishing the scale of your tones is to use a peephole.

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