Creating Forms

One of the most difficult problems of drawing is creating a three-dimensional form on a flat piece of paper. The best demonstration of producing three-di-mensions is with a drawing of a cube that has height, width, and depth. If there is a flat overall light on a cube, it is difficult to see the light side, the middle tone side, and the shadow side. When a single light is directed on the cube you will be able to see the height, width, and depth. Each surface of the cube will have a value, and the difference between these values will reflect the amount of light. For example, if the lightest side of the cube is a 9th value and the shadow side is a 1st value, there is a stronger light effect than if the difference were a 7th value for the light and a 5th value for the shadow.

You can create the values you'll use to produce the form with the same methods that were used to make the value charts. Use either one pencil and change the pressure to make the values, or use all seven grade pencils

(see below). With a 2H pencil (A), indicate the light value, the middle value, and the dark value. It is difficult to achieve a strong light effect since the darkest tone you can obtain with a 2H pencil is the 6th value. When you use an HB pencil (B) you can achieve a much stronger light on the cube, since the HB pencil can make a 4th or 5th value. However, by reducing the pressure on the pencil you can create more texture in the middle tone side. A stronger light effect is obtained with a 2B pencil (C) because the shadow side now becomes a 3rd value. Since the pencils are softer, the texture in the paper becomes more noticeable. By using a 6H pencil for the lightest tone, a 2H for the middle tone, and an HB for the shadow (D), you'll have more control in creating the values. The value relationship between the middle tone and the shadow is only one value difference, which gives a very weak light effect. You can obtain a stronger light by using an HB pencil for the middle tone and a 2B for the darks (E).

There is still only a one value difference between these two sides, which does not enhance the form. As in (F) leave the lightest side white. By doing so, you'll make that side as light as possible. In effect, this is the same as using a darker value in the shadows. By keeping the values on each side close together (G), you can achieve the effect of a very dim light. In a landscape, for example, this could give you a very hazy or foggy atmosphere. The value relationship in this cube is 9, 8, 6. You can achieve the strongest contrast in values (H) by keeping the light side white, the middle tone a 6th value with a 2H pencil, and the dark side a 3rd value by using a 4B pencil. You may want to try keeping this value relationship in most of your drawings. In order to create the strongest effect of light possible (I), leave the light side white and the middle tone a 4th value with a 2B pencil and the darks a 3rd value with a 4B pencil. This has the effect of a strong spotlight on a subject.

Harbor Pencil Sketches
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