The Half Tones

The artist noticed that the light area of the vase gradually darkens as it approaches the shadow area. This darker area within the light area is called the half tone. Careful observation and rendering of the half tone is crucial to successfully render the vase's volume. The quality of this half tone will describe whether the form turns gradually or abruptly. As more graphite was added, the artist used a tortillon (see page 17) and his finger to smooth out the transition from one tone to the next.

For larger areas, you can use a chamois cloth or paper towel. If you use your finger, make sure your hands are clean; otherwise, your skin's natural oils will mix with the graphite, making it difficult to remove later. Graphite has been erased in rough triangular shapes around the outer edges of the vase to emphasize the shadow on the bottom of the vase and to prepare for the rendition of the other objects.

Observe the object at its edge. As the form turns toward the edge of the object in the light area, notice that the tone of that area begins to get slightly darker. This is difficult to distinguish, as it is often a very subtle change of tone. The addition of these shapes of slightly darker tones will help the form turn, which adds volume to the object you are drawing. These darker shapes of tones within the light area are referred to as the light half tones. Remember that the light half tones cannot be as dark, or even get close to being as dark, as any tone within the shadow.

Note: To erase small areas, shape your kneaded eraser into a point.

The artist continued to develop the drawing, observing all areas in relationship to each other. Notice how the light on the wall begins to show a gradation of tone that indicates the direction of the light. The shape of the light on the table further enhances the direction and quality of the light, by defining the shape of the shadows of the objects sitting on it. (See the final stage of the drawing on page 65).

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