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Step Back!

Remember to continually step back at least 6-10 feet from your drawing to make sure that you aren't overemphasizing the details and, in turn, compromising the "big" forms.

In order to obtain the illusion of reality in your drawing, you must be able to portray the light that you observe on objects or scenes. Previously, you have considered light and shadow as shapes fitting together to form a jigsaw puzzle. You must now consider the quality of that light in those shapes.

Ask yourself the following questions: Is the light strong? Is it, therefore, making very defined shadows? Or is it weak, with less defined shadows and a lot more grays? The tonal range on the right demonstrates a series of tones from white to black. Nine tones are shown here, but many, many more are available to you. In order to draw any light situation that you will encounter as an artist, such as a sunny or cloudy day, you should have a wide range of tones available to you. Take a 4B pencil and, using squares as shown here, see how many squares of tone you can obtain with your pencil. Start with the white of your paper as your whitest white.

The images in this section will help you identify the many varied tones of gray that can be found in a drawing.

Here is a tonal sketch of a woman's head. The tone on the paper has been erased to reveal the light on the woman's head and neck. Look closely and you will see that within that area of light, there are tonal variations. In the large shadow area on the left of the head, there is also a large variation of grays down to black.

Now the image has ten different tones circled. These tones range from the brightest (white) to the darkest (black) on the head. Some of these transitions can be very subtle. The more variation of tone you use, the higher the level of accuracy you will achieve in your representational drawing.

The ten different tones are identified in ascending order from lightest to darkest in this image, with lightest being 1 to the darkest being 10. Can you see the range of gray shades that you can obtain from your graphite pencil? The lightest area can be seen on the tip of the nose. A nose usually displays the lightest area of tone, as it is the one feature that sticks out farthest from the face. Consequently, it is closest to the light source. The inner corner of the mouth is receiving the least amount of light, so a dark tone is used there. The darkest area of the face is located in the nostril. This area receives the least amount of light on the face, as the light cannot enter enough of this space to light it up.

Notice that the artist has also drawn out the shapes around the eye in the light. While squinting, he saw two large shapes of shadow: one shape at the outer corner of the eye and one shape at the inner corner of the eye.

Set Up the Still Life

You can draw a beautifully round, solid object by following the directions given here. Be sure that you have read and understood the previous sections in this chapter. You will need to understand the terms used in the previous sections in order to complete the drawing.

Artists refer to an arrangement of objects as a still life because the objects do not and cannot move unless someone moves them. Consequently, you can be sure that if you do not finish your drawing in one session, you can return to it at any time, knowing that it hasn't changed.

Try to set up your own still life by choosing any round object that you would like to draw—for example, an apple, orange, or white ball. Use a spotlight on your object (see page 35). Place the light to the right and above your still life. Use the same vantage point that is shown here. You will probably need to sit down to get this vantage point. Make sure that you have a tone on your piece of drawing paper (see page 36), and that you secure the paper to a board. After the board is mounted on your easel, you are ready to begin.

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Map out the shape of your object. Don't worry about obtaining a perfect outline of your object. This is not necessary. Draw several lines if you have to, and keep them light so they do not distract you. Be aware of the proportions of the object. Remember to measure. If you cannot accurately draw the curve of your object, refer to "Measure Your Object" in Chapter 4.

To key your drawing means to create a tonal range in your drawing. Tonal relationships (see pages 54-55) show you how the lightness or darkness of one area relates to the lightness or darkness of other areas in your subject. This development of tonal relationships is essential to building the illusion of space and form in a drawing.

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