June 26, 2014

Values, light and Dark

I began teaching my Drawing 1 course at ACAD again . This post is for the students who missed last class in order to help them catch up on anything they may have missed out on and for any followers and readers who find this stuff as fascinating as I do!   =:D

Last week we began in the realm of imagination and using line. Line is very powerful, as you draw it is like you are cutting through light. A drawing can be made with a line which separates dark and light.  But line only describes a form but does not give mass and body to it. We need to learn to describe three dimensionality with shading. In order to accomplish this we need to develop our value scale.

Using the tools of drawing each student completed a value scale by utilizing the variety of pencils H - HB - B - F, charcoal or pen and crosshatching. In this way we have a base line to compare the values in  the drawing.  In the above image of the value scale the lower strip has the middle grey value added as a comparison. This is incredibly useful information especially if you are using a neutral ground as your starting point.

The next step is understanding how to see how these things play out in reality on any given object. For this I brought out SHAPES!!!! Some people dread the shapes, I remember the groans at art school for spending days at this. I think they are a valuable tool for understanding drawing. It is such a powerful way to understand what you see and I still practice it from time to time.
We used white painted plaster and wooden shapes under a single light source to create very defined shadows. If you are working from home, find white stuff around the house, you can make shaped out of white paper, paint stuff yourself, use what you have, or buy these at art supply stores. The goal is to use the value chart as a comparison in order to  create drawings of the simple shapes defined in space by lights and darks. Below is an example as to how the values relate on the drawing surface.
At this point it isn't as important to me that you have the proportions absolutely correct, as we will be working on that tons later, what we are really after is the ability to blend the values to create smooth transitions of shadow. Hard edged shapes tend to not have blended shadows. This exercise is to draw what we see! To understand the core and cast shadows and to have the relationship between the light and the dark on these shapes relate properly to create a realistic drawing.  Remember: Draw what you see!
I have included some snap shots taken on my iPhone so they are not "superfantastique" by any means but they were from the class set up for those who missed and would like an idea what we worked on.  It is helpful to work with white painted shapes as they are less confusing to break down. It is also better to try this from life rather than photo as the camera does change the way we look.
There was no homework as we used the 3 hr class for demos and exercises and finished off by looking at what we created in the class. Next class we add to this by working on still life using what we learned with values and we will begin our pursuit of proportions. Ciao for now. Have a great week-end and CANADA DAY!

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