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Mike Sibley


Comment posted Aug.31st, 2012, viewed 20 times

EXERCISE 1
Lovely smooth transition through the tones and your black is strong too.

EXERCISE 3
A good attempt. You've achieved relatively smooth transitions through the tones. However, your blacks are not as strong as they could have been, so you've lost the full benefit that layering can produce. You can use this layering technique whenever you want to darken a black or smooth a mid tone - just layer with a harder grade, which will remove any white content and, in the case of the blacks, break up the large graphite grains, spread them more evenly, and push it deeper into your paper. If your blacks had been darker initially, you would have seen that effect more clearly.

Drawing dense and solid blacks and darks is important. It's light and shadow that make a drawing, not middle values. If you want your subjects to appear three dimensional, you must have light and shade, and the more contrast you can introduce, the stronger will be the three-dimensional shaping. When someone looks at your drawing their brain will register the darkest value as "black" and then read the white of your paper as being pure white (even if it's off-white). It will compare those two extremes to understand all the mid values. The wider the overall tonal range the more three-dimensional information you can impart.

Your blending is smooth and you may have discovered that layering produces a similar effect to blending but the result is sharper and more lively, and it doesn't lighten the darks. Blending, which I don't often use, certainly has its uses and works well if you shade a degree darker than you want the result to be, because blending will always lighten tone.

Never be afraid of using strong blacks - I'll show you how you can reverse it soon.

EXERCISE 4
I feel you had a good idea of the three-dimensional shapes as you shaded this, which means it was living in your mind as a real Lily. That's good! It leads to drawing with understanding instead of copying.

I'm very pleased to see that you managed to remove any need to use outline - and understand why :o) That's excellent! Line is a purely man-made device and completely unnatural, so always look for ways that cast shadows or reflected light can help you to display edges and junctions between two parts. You can use reflected light almost anywhere you need it - the viewer's brain just assumes there's a reflective surface outside of the picture that is bouncing light back in. It really is the artist's best friend :o)

Your shading of the petals, with their subtle highlights, describes their form very well. And I like your dark tones within the inside of the flower - they give a very good sense of depth and really help to make the stamens stand out.

Your shading of the petals could have been smoother, although the apparent coarseness might be because you have not yet blended. It could also be the result of using grades that were too soft. Harder grades draw more smoothly, so you could have lightly used a 2B to suggest the stronger areas of shading and then layered with HB or 2H, and then used that harder grade to extend the darker area and fade it smoothly into the highlights.

Your highlights describe the form of the leaves well. Although the leaves themselves appear to be a little grainy. Blending might correct that, and it's not necessarily a fault - just my personal opinion. However, your shading nicely follows the contours of the petals and reads well as surface texture, and your cast shadows work really well.

In response to image:

Aug.31st, 2012
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gladysyao
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