As for the mechanics of this drawing of Oliver Rodin, a relative of the great sculptor August Rodin, you can see that the light comes from the windows in back of him, outlining his head and arms and shining through his white hair. Notice, however, that the hair tones around the forehead and ear appear rather dark, seeming to belie their true whiteness. The reason is that his hair doesn't have a smooth, planar surface like his shirt does, but instead has many tiny ridges and canyons formed by hair shafts. Therefore, the hair on the side cannot reflect a weak, indirect light as effectively as the shirt. So, unless the light shines directly upon the hair or through it, like at the top of the head, the hair often appears to be quite dark.
One problem here is the unity of the design as well as the correctness of the actual figure drawing, since the arms stretch away to a secondary object. The artist tried to counter the oblique line of the arms with downward, linear pencil strokes; he didn't want the strokes to be spaced too evenly, which would give them a machine-made effect, as in the shirt. He would have preferred developing the same loose feeling all over the face as in the arm, but then he wouldn't have been able to explicitly designate all the character planes.
1. The artist started this pencil sketch by carefully mapping out the portrait's tonal areas. He used a 4H pencil and kept the lines lighter than they are in this reproduction, since these had to be darkened for clarity.
2. Here the artist began stroking in the tones. You can start at the top as well as anywhere else but you should move over the entire picture to develop the tonal structure properly. The tones range from the black of the window bar (2B pencil), to the apron string, the shadows between the fingers, and to the fine preliminary shading on the lips (4H pencil).
3. Here the artist made the window structure heavier—by doing this he felt he'd added an emotional solidity to the picture, and he liked the silhouette created by the white hair against the window. He shaded all of the face heavier with a combination of 2B and HB pencil strokes, most of which follow a general direction, although sometimes they follow the form of the facial structures. For your own drawings, take care to shade up to and around the highlights such as those on the forehead, around the eye structure, nose, and mouth. Remember, stroking across the form can create texture.
4. Using 2B. 2H. and l-IB pencils, the artist shaded and darkened the va'ues to develop the close-kr.it tores that he wanted on the face, as the center of interest. You may find it diflicult to control the interrelating tones in your own drawings because of the linear technique pencil drawing requires. When drawing, you should constantly step back to get an overall impression of your work, to see it as a whole and to see specific fusions ol Ihe tonal planes.
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