Tonal Drawing Using Graphite Or Very Soft Pencil

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This is a tonal portrait drawing based in observation and it is done using a very soft pencil - 8b.

The first concerns of this drawing are to create a sense of the fundamental form by observing the nature of the effects of light. You will notice there is a very strong direct light that plays over the surface of the subject.

Stepl/ establish the basic form of the head by drawing an ovoid or an egg shape. Draw two lines for the neck, and then two arced lines for the shoulders. This will give you the basic outline for the form of the head. You can now initially place the basic areas of shadow in on one side of the head leaving the other side in the light. But you need to put some shadow on the outside of the head so as to pick up the edge of the form on the light side of the face. Notice the free sketched way in which the tone has been placed down at this point in the drawing.

Tonal Drawing Face
The light source picks out the fundamental form of the portrait.
Drawing Light Source
The light becomes more distinct on how it plays across the surface of the form.
Portrait Draw With Tonality
More tonal detail that brings out the character and more personal details

Step 2/ now look at the person you are drawing and begin to pick out the other major areas of tone that exist on the head. It is a mistake in this type of drawing to try and render features as this is a drawing that will bring you the likeness through the tonal rendition of the drawing.

Step 3/ one can now begin to put the more detailed and subtler tones that in turn will start to imply the idea of a likeness of the subject.

What is so dramatic about this drawing is that it is purely based in the observation of a light and dark effect that is known as Chiaroscuro.

Using a rubber in a directional motion gives an effect of shimmering light.

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