- Lesson Details
The New Masters Academy Beginner Series helps aspiring artists start their artistic journey on the right foot. Your expert instructors will gently guide you to an understanding of drawing fundamentals. In this fifth lesson of the series, New Masters Academy instructor Heather Lenefsky and Disney art director, Bill Perkins, will teach you about the core principles of drawing. You will learn about Gesture and Rhythm, and how to control your composition’s values using Major and Minor Keys. You will also be taken through the process of how to set up and draw a still life.
- General Charcoal Pencil
- Conté a Paris Sketching Pencil – Brown, Black
- Kneaded Eraser
- Copic Sketch Marker – W6, W10
- Adhesive Note Pad (“Sticky Notes”)
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on the right foot.
Your expert instructors will gently guide you to an understanding of drawing fundamentals.
In this lesson, Disney art director and New Masters Academy instructor Bill Perkins, and
Heather Lenefsky will teach you the core principles of drawing.
You will learn about gesture and rhythm and how to control your composition and values
using major and minor keys.
Bill will also take you through the process of how to set up and draw from a still life.
And I’m Heather Lenefsky.
In this lesson, we’re going to talk about the core principles,
and we’re going to start with gesture.
Gesture and rhythm are maybe some of the mostimportant concepts,
and they can also be the most elusive.
So, no better person to clear them up for us than Bill Perkins.
Bill is going to take over from here.
So, let’s get started.
If we talk about gesture and rhythm, what we’re really talking about is looking at shapes.
I’ll just start off with a simple shape.
If I just start off with a simple circle.
If I’m looking for a rhythm in this circle, we’re really not going to really find it.
Geometrically what happens is, you know, this shape is really a series of dots by geometry.
It’s a series of dots all equidistant from the center line.
What we’re going to end up doing is we’re going to end up—we won’t find a gesture
to this because these are all equidistant from this line.
But we will find an axis line, and there will be balance.
Everything is going to be balanced in some way if it sits on a plane,
so we want to look at balance.
We also want to look at the axis.
Now, your axis is important if you’re drawing anything.
Let’s just say that you’re drawing a bottle.
And the sides of the bottle might be parallel.
This axis line is going to be like this.
I guess I should draw with this.
There we go.
Then maybe the top of the bottle is something like this that tapers.
The axis line is going to be important because what’s going to happen is everything on
this side is going to mirror things on this side.
I need to make sure that they come in closer on this.
These need to be equal.
And see, your access line can actually help you find the form.
I’ll draw through.
I’m drawing through here.
I might draw through here.
And, looking at where the taper is on this, maybe it starts here, and from there I’m
going to go like this.
I’m going to find the equal and opposite taper on this side.
I might even look at this for the label, possibly.
That might sit down here.
It might go around to the back here.
If I draw through.
Our access line is going to run down the center of something.
Again, this bottle is symmetrical, so it’s going to be down the center.
If I take an irregular shape—for instance, if I just draw any other kind of shape, just
an irregular shape, what happens with this shape?
The unique thing about this shape, rather than this, this one has an axis that goes
along this longitudinal length.
You see, there is directional force that pushes in this direction, and as it’s balanced,
it’s going to sit over here somewhere.
This is our strong directional force.
This and also out here.
This pushes out as well.
We’re going to get this dynamic movement which we might call an axis.
We might also look at this as the rhythm of this shape.
Now, the rhythm can come in a couple of different ways.
It has directional forces, and those are described in the contour.
But at the same time, it has directional forces that move your eye.
They might exist in the contour of an object or a shape, but the directional forces in
the contour, they could exist in the outside or the contour of the shape, but the consequence
of that is moving your eye.
That will move your eye or move the viewer’s eye.
See, here, it’s pretty static in this circle.
It doesn’t move the viewer’s eye.
In this shape of the bottle, it’s all along this axis, and it tapers down here up around
from here to the heavier barrel down here, into this narrower area.
There is a strong directional force that’s actually pushing up this way.
The axis is going both ways, up and down, but this one, because it tapers in here, this
one becomes a little bit more dominant.
We end up doing two things with gestures and gestural lines as axis lines and moving your eye.
So, these directional forces from the contour will move your eye.
Also, some things are more symmetrical like this, but when we get into things are different
shapes—and I’ll go ahead and draw something else too.
We’ve been playing with just a simple cup.
So, if we take a simple cup.
I’m going to draw through the cup so we have this.
And then, where you put the handle on the cup, that’s also going to give you some
kind of directional axis.
It’s going to make you feel like the front of the cup is here and the back of the cup
is back here.
The barrel of the cup is going to give you the sensation that it’s vertical like this,
but yet again, because the handle is oriented back here, this is going to feel like the
front, and this cup is looking forward.
We’re getting also this directional force or eye movement that’s saying this is the
front of the cup.
Now, I’m going to draw the cup again.
Taper it a little bit.
Here is the cup again.
Now, I’m going to draw it with the handle here.
So, we have our access line.
That gives us some rhythm, or it gives us this straight gesture here.
Then, our foundation, this is our balance.
But, because the handle is here, again, we’re going to be drawn to the idea that this might
be the back of the cup, and the front is on the far side over here.
This becomes—our directional force is moving back this way, moving back into the frame.
When we get into looking at still lifes and landscapes and so on, these little directional
things help support our eye movement, or help to create stronger directional forces and
That’s what you want to do in your images.
As the artist, as the director your image, your job is really to direct the viewer’s
eye in some manner.
That’s where both rhythm and gesture fall.
One side of it is actually helping you to construct an object dimensionally and see
the angles and directions of those contours and forms.
The other is to direct the viewer’s eye.
The consequence is moving the viewer’s eye.
That’s where we can even depart from something that’s normal and go into something that’s
fantastic or add or invent along the way.
We’ll invent these shapes and so on, but as long as we’re inventing them to move
the viewer’s eye, they’re going to have a purpose in the total image.
So, let’s take a look at just a structural form and an organic form.
I’m going to take just a structural form here.
This might be a simple box that has a structural form.
I made it longer on purpose because it gives us the chance to have a longer axis.
Now it has some direction moving here and here.
And here and here.
Because these are fairly even, we could say this is the face having a directional force
here, or this is even too.
This could be a directional force moving in this direction.
Let’s give this a bias now.
Let’s just say here is—I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do this now.
And when I do this…once I do this, this surface here has a directional bias.
This starts to read—because it’s smaller in here.
Here is our axis line again, and we have these and these.
But what happens, this surface feels like it’s the front and gives a stronger directional
force moving this way.
Do you see this one could be this way, could be that way?
This one, clearly, this is the dominant surface because we say this is front, and it appears
that it will be played out that way.
We see the same thing in the cup up here.
This is clearly, the handle is in the back, the front has more dominance in this situation,
where it’s hidden or obstructed back there.
We see the detail of the handle, but the directional force is pushing us
back into this illusionary space.
Now, these shapes, these two rectangular shapes, are a bit more architectural.
If we take the idea of building more rhythms into these shapes, and we want to make something
feel like it’s a little bit more organic or real,
we might just look at doing something like this.
If I do something like this, I could even mimic the same.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to take this and bend this up to here.
I’m going to take this and bend this down to here.
I’m going to bend this in here and this here.
You can see what’s happening here.
It looks like this box is being twisted, radically twisted 90 degrees from top to bottom.
Again, it has an axis line that runs the length of this.
The length is what gives us the strong axis line.
We have the bottom like this, and we have this.
We also now have created this rhythm or this other gesture that comes off in this manner.
Something that is more organic might have a little twist to it.
Any of the shapes that we might create—I’ll do something that’s a little bit more subtle
instead of coming straight down like this.
Maybe what I’ll do is just tilt it a little bit like this.
And you’re going to see that even a little bit of twist
makes it feel a little bit more organic.
Let me get that right.
I’ll make this as clear as I can.
The top surface is coming toward us a little bit like this, so I want to make sure I get
that and then going away a little bit like that.
So, you see, we can build this rhythm or gesture that’s going through the axis line.
In basically, in this one what I did was I took it away from being this straight axis
line like this to having this over-dominant, curved aspect.
Like I mentioned here, our directional forces could be in the contour and also move your eye.
Imagine the center line.
It might be a gestural line in there.
I’m also having it in the contours.
It exists in the contours, and it exists in this overall gesture.
move in other directions.
I think the best way to describe that is I’m going to just take this simple figure, and
I’m going to simplify it down to just simple spheres and cylinders and boxes and stuff.
What I want to do is break it down and show you the different types of rhythms and directional
forces that you can start to build on and actually look for.
In this image, I’m going to start by giving myself a rectangle.
I like to start with a rectangle, something that’s going to be close to what I’m working with.
Also, I want to know within my paper, where is the border of my image.
The reason is, I want to know my positive and negative shapes.
I’m going to take this from the beginning, and I’m going to say that my gesture, the
axis, the gesture of the axis line of this drawing might be from her head coming down
into her rib cage into her hips this way.
Then I’m going to see that there is from her hips over here, the area that’s pointing
out over this way, it’s going to be coming back this way.
I’m seeing this kind of a rhythm.
On the other hand, her other leg that’s coming out here might be more like this.
These are the longer gestures that really show the directional movement
of this long axis of her.
So, when I start building on this, I know that her head needs to be along the axis.
Her shoulders are going to play into that by being almost perpendicular.
This shoulder is up a little bit, so it’s going to be skewed a little bit.
It’s not straight across because her hand is on her hip, and so on.
I’m going to play with that.
Then I’m going to look at the rib cage is going to be on this axis as well.
Something like this.
Again, I’m following the rhythm of this axis line.
And then her waist
and then her legs.
Okay, and from her shoulder, her arm comes down.
Her elbow is just inside.
I’m just matching these things up.
Then it comes down here.
Her wrist is right outside here where her hand overlaps her leg.
On this side, from her hip up here I’m going to look at my positive and my negative shapes,
and then I’m also going to look at from here, I’m going to look
and see what’s the angle.
Again, if this is the overall gesture, moving through her like this, building this rhythm
here, I also see her other arm coming off.
I’m going to look for the shape or the direction and gesture of that line too.
I’m going to find that it’s coming this way and this way, and her elbow is right about
at this height.
So, her elbow here is just a little bit lower than this one up here.
This one is up a little higher than that one.
So, I’m going to be coming out here.
Here is my silhouette, just my silhouetted drawing of her following this gesture line.
And then you can see that even in these simple silhouette, even in the simple silhouette
there is a rhythm to these shapes.
Okay, so just within the shapes there is a rhythm.
Now, this has to do with—I’m just kind of looking at the line and shape.
Okay, so this is a basic rhythm as an axis.
Okay, now there is many, many more rhythms that are happening within this figure.
But, this is where we begin.
We start with something that’s a little bit more organic, and we look for the rhythm
that we’ll move through.
Some people will call it the gesture.
On that we’re going to build the structure on top of that gesture.
So, in the beginning, you want to find out what’s the rhythm.
What’s the balance you need to have?
Make sure that your weight is centered.
You can see that move of her weight is over this leg.
Our straight axis line is going to be somewhere in here.
It favors this foot because this is where her weight is.
We can tell her hip is right here.
So, it favors this.
This one is out farther.
This is our basic axis line.
This is our gestural, rhythmic line.
And then this one comes out here like this, whereas this one comes out this way, and then
also comes back into here.
We also have this arm, this basic line goes this way, too.
So, along these long forms or shapes, we’re going to get these rhythms.
Now, if I take this—I’m going to do this again.
I’ll do a few of these.
I want you to do these at home too.
You can follow along with me on these, or you can take these and then do them.
Watch how I do it, and then you do the same thing at home.
Okay, within this second one, I’m going to do the same thing.
Except this time, I’m going to start with that center line because she’s very, very vertical.
But I can also see that there is a twist.
In this drawing there is a twist.
What I’ll do is I’ll start with her head.
Let me get this axis line, this gestural axis line that comes like this.
Now, you can see that this line isn’t complete.
It’s not all just one line.
This is—I’ll call it like a near tangent or a rhythmic connection.
This connection might go all the way out here, but her body really doesn’t do that.
It comes this way, and then we get a little bit more coming out here.
This is actually her calf because this is more active.
This is where your gesture will end up becoming active.
In here is going to be active.
In here it’s going to be passive.
This is going to be passive because this side is pretty much like this.
Whereas her figure is going to be bent in this kind of a way—and I’m still looking
at my silhouettes right now.
This up here, this coming in here—the axis is coming out here,
coming out here, and from here.
You can see where her calf goes in like this.
This is an important curve in here because it’s going to be contrasting this active
and passive right in here.
Then up here, this is passive and this is going to be active.
We’re going to get this against this.
This is active here.
This is more subtle so this is more passive in here.
This one gets passive in here.
This one has the bigger curve in there.
Now, since she’s twisting, at the same time our center line might be over here, but then
it’s over here.
Remember, I twisted like this.
What’s going to happen is if we take a look at her hips in here, we’re going to look
at something like this as a box.
This box is going to along the axis at this angle.
Here, this is the center line here.
You can see now we get this turn of an axis.
We can see a little bit more of a twist in this now and even push this back farther.
I’m going to make this in front of her arm back here.
And her arm would come back like this.
And then this shoulder is up high, and this arm comes out this way and connects.
Her forearm is pretty much straighter at the top, and this comes down like this.
Then her hand, something like this.
I’m just looking at the silhouetted shapes like I did here, but you can see I’m getting
some twist in this.
I’m adding the twist to this.
And I’m looking at my passive and my active sides.
I can look at a center line here too.
Again, like our cup, we sense that this is the center.
Again, this is the center.
Our cup this appears as the back of the cup.
Our face, our nose might appear as the leading angle that’s going to indicate the leading
angle of our shape up here and then come back in like this.
What I want to do too is I’m going to also notice that I have my rhythmic gesture line
down here, and this coming around down here.
I have more rhythms going on in here than just these center axis lines.
I go from the basic rhythms along an axis.
These would be
rhythms found in contours.
okay, directional forces to move your eye.
So now, I’m purposely looking for things that will move your eye, and that’s why
I’m pushing this up just a little bit and then across here.
And building across the length of this down here.
There is something also interesting here.
Her eyelines are also very, very strong.
Very important because your eyelines—she’s looking down this way.
And you can see this is a strong line, and that line is parallel to this line.
That adds to it.
Whenever you compound or add more forces in your image, they can either negate one another
or reinforce them.
This strong eyeline and this lineup here together combined create a lot of emphasis on this
line up here.
To complement that, her palm comes down like this, so her hand comes up, and the shadow
of her palm comes down like this.
Her fingers are both in this orientation.
Long neck kind of pulls up this way.
If I’m looking for things that are working an eyeline with this, where this comes up.
See this long line up here?
Her arm creates the same kind of a gestural thing, and then it moves our eye back this way.
Her hand, so I’m not going to be shy when it comes to actually flipping her wrists back
a little bit farther.
Like is said, if I’m using directional forces to move your eye, I might just exaggerate
this a little bit back this way.
And with her thumb coming here and her fingers a little bit higher, this little bit in here
gives me a situation where if I’m—say this is the back of her hand and I’m looking
at the contours right now, so these are just the flat shapes.
If I see the volume in here in her thumb moving in this direction and then one finger, her
first finger here like this, and then I see the shadow of her second finger in here and
then the other back here, it’s going to give me…
I can clean these things up, but I just want to get the bigger rhythms going on.
Now, if I have something that’s moving my eye, it could be something like this and this
These lines, they might be, you know, dissociated lines, I’ll draw three disassociated lines
Here is three disassociated lines.
These have a little reference.
There is very little reference between these two.
But, look at the rhythm that’s created by these three lines here.
These all have this slight curve, and they’re not exactly parallel, not exactly the same.
They create this strong directional force that goes out on each of these axis, but at
the same time, it moves our eye up this way.
There is an implied directional force by these radiant lines.
That’s kind of what’s happening here.
We get this axis here, and the axis here, but these lines from her palm in here under
her thumb, this can bring us back and then the top of the thumb, the top of the finger
These are like this directional forces like this.
Move you up, up, up.
These can actually work to move your eye up because they fan out.
Her fingers will fan out and put this directional force back up here.
with the lines.
Finding the line of the character.
I’m going to put line up here.
In this one, we’re drawing—I did draw a couple of little forms inside here to help
me understand the tilt on some of these.
These are some of the lines.
This, I’m looking a little bit more at some of the contours in here.
Contours are shapes.
Okay, now what I’m going to do is I’m going to look at the same thing trying to
find these rhythms within the figure.
Again, I’m going to start with basic rectangle.
I’m going to work with.
This time what I want to do is I want to look at this one in terms of forms, contour or
axis and rhythms in forms.
With forms, what I’m going to be looking for, is I’m going to be looking for the volumes.
Okay, first I want to start with my general gesture, and I’m going to look length-wise here.
Then back up here I see this kind of coming this way and then back up this way.
What I’m going to find too is I’m going to find that if I draw this axis, I see a
lot of this is my stable line, but what I’m going to see is that there is, you know, the
way that her weight is distributed a little bit differently in this one, it might be right
where her foot is back here.
Then the balance of her foot is going to be here.
I know her feet are going to be here because this is where her weight needs to be distributed.
So, between the front and the back we need to have this balance that’s going to need
to occur in there.
And then a real strong point in there is her shoulder.
That’s a real strong anchor in here.
It lies right above her ankle there too.
And then over her back and then I’m going to be looking at these gestures or the rhythm
kind of moving through these different forms.
This way and then this way.
Again, this is following a contour that’s going to build the rhythm overall.
It’s going to move it right back and bring you back down here.
There is an axis coming up here, going out the front of her throat there.
Okay, I have these strong gestural lines.
I started getting into my forms, but I’ll go back and review the forms now.
What I’m going to be doing is I’m going to be looking at these forms, and I’m doing
to draw through.
I’m going to draw up to her ear here.
The front plane.
Then from her ear back here like this.
Now, from her ear here also goes down the strong angle down like this, and then from
her chin back in here like this.
Okay, we have a—her eyeline is on the front surfaces going this way, and the side comes
back over here.
Nose, front, and side.
We’re getting a little bit of volume going on in here.
Forms that are happening in there.
We can draw through in any of these areas like her neck.
Her shoulder and back now.
Her back and then shoulder.
You can see this is the top of her shoulder again.
Now, with this form going back, I’m building on that gesture.
There is a lot of rhythm that goes in this arm.
From her back I can see this is more stretched, and this is contracted on the back of her arm.
We’re going to see a little bit more of this on the back of her arm compared to this.
Then the forms turn.
It becomes flat in here almost like a rectangle and then turns into a tube again, a subtle
tube because we see the top plane of her arm there too.
Where her wrist is it’s going to come like this.
We see the side of her hand, the back of her hand, and it attaches to the back of her wrist.
As we get a little bit of a twist in this form structure in there.
It’s got to follow that rhythm.
I’m staying with that rhythm all the way through.
Here, there are two things going on here.
We have this gesture here or this rhythm that’s going to go through the center axis of her
body this way.
But then we also have this arm over here.
We also see if we construct the form here we’re going to see that from her arms we
have her pectoral muscles that come out this way that help define the front plane.
Then the side plane is going to come down the side here and across and up.
And from her shoulder in here across here.
Again, I’m constructing these forms now.
I was doing that in order that I can get this over here to read clearly.
That would be coming in here.
I’m getting this shoulder working.
And this is going to taper down.
Again, here it’s going to turn a little bit more boxy here because we get a flattening
on the top of the arm here, and then we’re going to see it’s going to go into the side.
That’s what I was talking about with the boxes that start like this and then turn.
These things that turn are going to give some rhythm, but they are also going to turn in
So, there is a twisting going on here.
This has a greater proportion, and then this has a greater proportion.
What happens is, our straight axis is this, then we get this dominant shape going this way.
Then because this is the bigger surface here we get a dominant shape going this way, and
this is what I was talking about, kind of those near rhythms.
They aren’t exact.
They don’t connect completely, but they do move your eye, and our eye will actually
slide over easily if we lay these things out properly.
So, it’s about your eye movement.
This time I’m trying to do it with these forms, so I’m looking at these boxes, spheres,
near boxes, cylinders, spheres up here, cylinders in here.
I’ve got this and now I’m going to come from here.
I’m going to go back.
I’m going to get the outer, her buttocks like this, and if I’m still coming off of
her rib cage, I’m going to see that off of her rib cage comes down, and we’ve got
a little bit of tummy in here.
Then her tummy is going to go right into the top of her leg.
And I’m going to see that this leg is going up into here, flattens into this area.
So, her tummy, again, comes this way.
Then it comes down here just like this.
That’s the edge of her tummy that is going to come in here.
So, it comes from here over to here over to here and then down, and this comes in here too.
We get this whole frontal turn.
It’s broader here, and then it turns so we see more of her side here than we do up here.
And there we go.
Just drawing through here, and then back here we see where her foot is here.
There we go.
Again, I’m always looking to see where the active and the passive side is as well when
I put these forms in, where this knee…ankle might be here like this.
Okay, so I’m looking to extend some of these motions and stuff through here.
If I get the contour with my line and I get internal forms.
If I’m looking at the box of her hip in here, let me get a little bit more in the
box of her hips in here, thrown in here.
Her legs like tubes here.
Her buttocks is like a cylinder in here.
All these things will kind of add in in this kind of, if we’re drawing through.
Now, even her leotard is going to help describe some of the forms
as it rolls around her forms here.
See, from her pectoral muscle lies on her rib cage back up into the back here, and then
even across the front of her chest pretty much, and then back up here.
Down here, all the way down into this area down in her crotch area, and then as her hip
turns right in here over her hip, this is going to go over the top just a little bit.
I’m going to pull this up just a little higher.
It goes over the top just like that.
And these things will help me resolve some of these shapes.
Okay, so these are drawing through.
We’re drawing through, and we’re trying to identify these forms as we draw through
along these rhythmic axis lines.
This will hold them all together and give your eye or tell the viewer’s eye how to
flow across the form.
So, that’s really important.
Get the overall rhythm moving.
That helps tell the viewer how to look across the form.
These gestures like this.
Then you can build your volumes or your forms on top of that so that they’ll all line up.
I’m going to do one more.
Actually, I’ll do two more.
I’ll draw two more.
For this one, I’m going to go back to the original drawing, and I’m going to look
at my center line.
This is the center axis, and I’m going to see where my balance is for this figure.
I’m going to look at it like this.
I’m going to see that her weight is going to be distributed a little bit over this hip
on this side.
I’m going to favor this one up a little bit here, and so this foot is going to be
in a little bit.
This one is going to be out a little bit.
This allows this gesture—remember, move this gesture here and this one like this.
And then her hip is out here, and this goes into this.
Okay, so this is my first major gesture, and then I go back, and I’m going to find out
where my hips to my head.
I’m going to start with…okay.
I’m going to build off of that.
It’s starting to go off.
This is center off of here.
Then I’m building off of this.
It’s going back to her shoulder and then down.
I’m looking at this gesture coming up here.
I want to look at too—these are rhythms, but these are alignments too.
I want to see where this line goes across the face up here.
It tends to go under the nose, under her nose.
Maybe this needs to be out here and her nose is in here.
Her mouth might be in here.
I’m looking to see these longer lines now.
I’ve created this axis line.
I’ve created a gestural line, and now I’m going to look for these lines that actually
go from one area to another.
This is going from the outside contour to an interior marking in here.
And her ear might be just a little bit higher because it’s on an angle up here.
I’m getting all of this in line, okay, moving your eye around, and then I can even go to
her hair, pushing this over the top like this.
This will catch her eye over here just a little bit.
I’m going all the way from up here, and then I can see that this, the gesture of this
goes into here, but as this gesture comes down into here, if I go all the way to the
other side over here, I’m going to see her hand right there.
This is how I can also help kind of map out some of these areas like her arm.
This is going up.
Her waist in here.
Then from here, her hand coming in here.
It’s kind of tapering down.
I made a big, long heavy legs here.
I’m going to follow that rhythm and see where her ankle is in relation there.
Now, I’ve got this silhouette on here, but what I’m going to look for on this image
is I’m going to look for if I’ve went through my forms and volumes there, now I’m
going to look at it.
These are different ways that you can view your subject here.
One of them is by the shapes of light and shadow.
I’m going to make this about chiaroscuro.
That’s going to be kind of the sculpting of the form on this.
So, now that I have these rhythms, now I’m going to look at my shadow shapes and think,
okay, how can I use my shadow shapes to add to moving the viewer’s eye.
I’ll start up here with the head, and in this volume I see the bottom of her nose in
here and the axis of her eyes in here.
Now, I’m going to follow along.
There is a real hard shadow here, and then her eyebrow up here.
I see these two different things.
The top of her eye and then her cheek underneath here.
This is soft.
On the outside there is a soft edge, but I get this hard edge in here.
My tool is a little bit big for the small shapes that I’m proposing here, but I’m
going to try to do the best with it just by giving little indications.
Now, this is the base of her nose.
Her nose is a little bit illuminated underneath there because there is a little bit of a low
light, and we’re going to go up the length of her nose.
Then it’s going to go over her brow.
This is going to go, this is going to lead my eye back down here.
On the other side of this ear might be this ear over here.
There is an interesting thing that happens up here.
Her hair is dark, so what ends up happening is her dark hair plays into that same shape
It plays into the same shape.
This is going to move your eye over, and her upper lip is in light.
Lower lip is in shadow.
Under her lip is in light.
Then her chin appears to be a little bit in shadow in the front and on the bottom in light
going to her neck.
So, I’m looking for this shape on her neck that is going to come down and help go along
the length of this.
What can help is the shadow here kind of going up, lengthening that a little bit.
And then pulling back.
This shape is going to contour that.
Let me finish that.
We need to finish one thing at a time.
Very important that you don’t jump around on this.
Then, her shoulder, if you look at the shape of her shadow on her shoulder, let’s see
how it can move our eye here.
Okay, so it’s going to come around her shoulder, but then it goes into shadow a little more
of a line moving us up this way.
This can tend to start to go up like this, and the back of her shoulder go into a shadow
This all connects here, making this simple matrix, a simple pattern here.
Then this defines that edge here and in here, and all of this falls into this shadow shape.
All I’m concerning myself right now is the shape of these shadows and how they describe
the form and create rhythms with these.
I want to create rhythms with all these shapes, so I’m looking for the
movement along these shapes.
You can see from the side of her breast down to her rib cage here, getting the bottom of
the rib cage and then going back to her hip, playing out the inside of her hip in here
to the outside of her leg with us following that rhythm down here to her knee, and her
knee is in dark.
There is a little bit of a change, see it comes to this long, lengthy rhythm that goes
into here, and there is a little bit of a hitch right here.
Then comes the outside of that.
Let me see her ankle in there.
It creates this longer, more elegant rhythm that goes all the way down like that.
So you get this long pattern.
Now, as I’m going around, I want the viewer’s eye to move all the way across.
If I have her elbow coming out here, I’m going to see that this is her leotard out
this way coming down here, and I’m going to get the little shadow here which is then
going to lead into the shadow of her leg, and so all of this comes in here like that.
We find this rhythm in here.
This is the bottom of her leotard right here, and we get a little bit of a halftone.
Her muscle starts to turn away from the light there.
But more importantly, we get this strong shape going up here.
Down here and this strong shape going over and wrapping around here.
That wraps around her leg, but it also gets picked up by the bottom of her hand and her
fingers here and then continues down the length of her leg to her knee and then softly over
the back of her calf.
I just want to make sure that I get this, get the top of her foot like this, and then
the bridge of her foot and then down to her ankle and up here.
These are important because these things also create arrows that will—
where will this one go?
This was the top of her ankle.
The top of her ankle is like this going into this other, her leg.
The top of her ankle here, ankle is at an axis like this, and then her foot is going
to be the bridge of her foot, and her toes are going to be like this up to her ankle.
This is going to come down to her heel.
But if we look at this shape in here, as it comes down onto the inside where the shadow
shape on the front, accentuating the top of her foot where it goes into her leg.
You can see where this aims down, and it’ll pick up on the top of her foot, right at her
It stops and then it picks up again.
Now, this kind of a gesture or rhythmic line is, there is a gap in here.
But our eyes will close the gap.
We have this strong shape here, and then we have the beginning of another dark down here,
and our eyes will actually close that gap, so it’ll follow along.
It’ll stop and then pick up.
We want to look for these alignments.
I talked about near alignments, and then alignments like this that will actually help move your
So, all the way through here we’re going to be looking for these things.
The shadow on her shoulder, if I jump right back into this, the shadow on her shoulder
is going to come down here.
It’s going to be soft here, but it’s going to go right up into her shoulder here like
that and give a little bit of this plane.
But, it’s going to give you this directional movement right that comes because of the contour.
And then because it goes soft into this area here on the front, this is going to be what
we’ll call a passage.
It moves you right into this area.
So, if I go to the outside and then I go down the rib cage like that.
This is tucking in, this is the rib cage up here and dropping down in there like that.
This passage up here is going to come down.
I need to find something like a subtle shadow here that, again, will repeat, and then I
can pick something up in here, and you can see that this is just falling over and over.
It goes here, here, here.
We get a little bit of a passage underneath here.
That’s a softening.
Then it picks up hard right here.
That’s how we’re going to see these little transitions in here.
But the transitions, their general shape and how they move us across the form is really
the more important thing.
Down in there.
Then the shadow on her from her arm.
In this case, what I’m looking for is the light and shadow pattern.
Let me get rid of some of these construction lines, and I want to look at the way the shadow
shape can also create rhythms and move your eye across the form.
I’ll try a little diagram down here where—
let’s just say we get a little bit of her rib cage in here.
It really comes down low here.
Above that we get her clavicle in here, reinforcing this, and this is really long and lengthy
down in here, but here it starts to pinch.
We get a pinch into here, and it goes along in here.
Again, we have this passive and very active side that we’ve seen before.
Moving a rhythm across here.
This is our main gesture, and then we have something that’s going to help tell the
form a little bit.
Now, this is running the shadow shape.
That shadow shape is going to be the important aspect of this type of drawing.
We get that the contours of the shadow shape are going to be the thing that also helps
create more rhythm in our form.
looking at my gesture and creating rhythms, but I'm going
to acknowledge both the light and shadow and the local values
because the local values have something to do with the
image as well. So I'm going to just start with my main
axis as well.
Okay, and then I'm going to look at
And where we have her head is turned this way,
right. Here's the back of her head. Here's the side of her
head. Her front of her head is turned away so her ear is
basically up in here.
And this is the back of her head. I've turned this like a
And then out of that
comes her back and then straight down here.
this comes straight down and then picking it up off
the side here is her buttocks down in here.
And I'm seeing that, just the gesture
of the overall shape going like this.
Then across the top there's a strong movement this way, but to
get a little bit more discriminating about it comes
up and then like this,
over like this,
up this way.
So this shoulder goes over.
Shoulder goes over and picks up to the elbow here. I'm looking
for these little things where I'm drawing my eye and
then moves over this way and then back up here.
Here we go.
from this axis coming over here and down and then line here
over like this and then catching over here I'm going
to build to the outside of this at this point where I can see
there's her back is curved over so I need to make sure that her
body is also at this same axis here right and then it will
And then out of that
this is a widest part down in here at her lower hip
down in here.
But you can see it's up this way. The angle is up this way a
little bit. So this is going to be
and then down.
You can see starting to build the rhythms out of here
This is more straight.
This is going to come off a little bit curved this
way. And then this has a nice curve to it this way. So I'm
going to find these little rhythms, you can see that
I'm looking for these things that are a little straighter, a little more
curved and kind of play off of one another. This is the back
of her heel and it can go up to the back of her achilles and
here and then back out this way, right?
Up to the top of her calf, but then coming into this shape
behind her knee and you can see this going into shadow a little
bit is going to help that the description of where that goes.
And then on up here.
There we go.
And now I have - since I have this I'm going to just kind of
trim some my little sloppy lines here as I kind of race
I don't want to give the end of
implication that I'm just
suggesting, I want to be very literal about some of these
There we go.
So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to look for
the local values in here and I'm going to see that her
leotard is secondary, the contrast between her skin and
her leotard is secondary to the chiaroscuro, to the
form, right? So what I'm going to do is I'm going to make the
contrast between her skin and her leotard a little less
Or less contrasting.
And so -
and then I'm going to come back with a stronger form.
And you'll see how they go together.
I want to be conscious of my local values. Everything
has a local value. Even your plaster casts, the plaster
casts are white almost like her
her leotard. So you don't get a lot of local value in there.
It's all white. So I want to acknowledge that there is a
local value here.
But I'm still going to make the form dominant.
And any time we're drawing or painting something what we
want to do is we want to be conscious of both the local
the light and shadow. What's dominant, what's subordinate
one's going to always overpower the other so as long as you're
conscious of both at the same time, then that's the important
just giving you a local value. This isn't light. It's not
shadow. It's the local value of her skin compared to her
leotard and every hair on the other hand or hair is much
darker too. So that's going to go into the black.
I'll use a black to show the warm and these
So her hair, I'm just going to lay in a little value of
her dark hair because this is the local value. I've kind of
designated this brown as the local value. So I'll go ahead
and put that in.
And it's a darker local value than her skin tone. So I'm
going to make that difference.
Modify the shape just a little bit.
So I'm building off of these rhythms. But now I'm what these rhythms. But now I'm what
I'm going to do is I've built my rhythms in my contours.
Okay. I started with my axis and then my gestural rhythm
moving through her body, coming over and down and then catching
over here and then moving and then going into the contours
Down her arm I'm going to look for like these
kinda clean these up just a little bit. Look at these
directional forces and then back here, too. I'm going to
get a little bit
more of of her form in there where it needs to be.
There we go.
Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go in and I'm going to
use my shadow shapes and I'm going to try to build on
rhythms with these shadow shapes. So I'll start here.
I can see it goes on
under a back muscle here
and then the inside of her shoulder here now all of this
goes into shadows. I'm going to go ahead and put the shadow
shape on there and all of this goes into shadow. Remember, I
initially drew the kind of her head like a box.
It's just a little tiny bit of her ear in light
which I'll leave in there and then I'm going to go into shadow there.
There we go.
Again shadow here.
Thumb in shadow.
And then her little finger in shadow up here like this.
The back of her hand. This is all giving some direction, this
kind of splays out, but it gives some direction into her
and then down
her arm here. Now this fold over here it's going to be
You can see it's going to create kind of an
arrow, but that arrow is going to be answered with this
on the other side. This is the shadow shape on the other side,
the lower side of her elbow.
And that's going to turn our eye around
and move it back the other way.
And then along here.
I'll just reinforce this line a little bit.
this at this angle.
And then I'm going to reinforce that over here on her back
And even that's going to go down and it's going to connect
on her leotard because her leotard is stretching from her
the center of her back over to her other muscle over here. So
it's stretching over there like that and then
her shoulder goes into shadow
or the back of her shoulder goes into shadow at her at her
back right here.
And then there's a directional - this shadow up here goes goes
over her shoulder or the back of her arm here.
It's from her shoulder muscle right up in here.
Okay, and it's going to give a directional force and this
back of her tricep here this is going to be a subtle
reinforcement of that
that drops down here.
So again joining this shape
connecting this longer shape in here like this.
Now from this center her leotard pulls out, spans across
the low small part of her back where it stretched
from form to form, from this form here.
You can see it's stretched across here. That's why it's
really soft and so if it stretched from there to there
there's a cast shadow right along the edge of her buttocks
there and then here
again, it's very soft.
is soft here
of this shadow.
So we go some from something that's real sharp.
This is all very soft.
And this soft shape here of her buttocks goes all the way under
follows this form all the way across here.
And then comes down in here.
There's another little -
the back of her muscle here on her
creates another line at the back of her knee coming down
And her buttocks up here - here's one thing I'm going to -
I want to show you something
about a core and a cast shadow.
The core right along here is the result of any light source.
If this is our light source coming down here, I'll draw it
on a ball
on a plane.
Okay, if the light source is coming down here, the light is
coming down, depending on the type of light. If it's a
sunlight it all goes parallel.
All goes parallel. If it's a spotlight or something that's
closer it might even be a conical or splay out just a
little bit but that mostly it's fairly straight like this. Okay
from your light source. Let's say your light source is up
here and it's coming down here. Your core is going to actually
be the planes - if this sphere is made up of all different
planes it's the planes that become parallel to this light
source or the plane that's most perpendicular if this
comes down the most perpendicular point is going to
be the highlight.
Okay, the most perpendicular to the light source. Okay, if this
is the light source, that plane that's most perpendicular is to
the light, that's going to be the highlight. It's most
perpendicular to this then and that's going to change
depending on where we are in relation to the object and the
light source so it's kind of a triangulation but you'll see
that this highlight is going to ride somewhere on the edge of a
plane or if it's a sphere its little tiny dot it's going to
be on the most perpendicular point of on the ball to that
light source. Now our shadow or core is going to be created
that form of that sphere becomes parallel to the light
source. So if the light source is coming here and this is your
circle at this point this becomes shadow.
It's because the light comes in here, okay, and where the
planes wherever they turn parallel they fall into shadow.
So all the rest would become shadow and if this was this
point going in shadow on this sphere, it would come down. That
would be the back part of the shadow shape
where this hits the ground here. That would become the
front of the shadow shape and you would get something like
So the core is actually the result of a parallel plane to
the light source. So that means our light source is up here
and this is that point where the planes wrap around her
buttocks and they become parallel to this light source.
Okay. So when that form starts to turn around, that plane that
turns will start to get dark there and then it will cast its
light or its shadow onto another form, which is the back
of her leg here.
This form this will go into shadow here.
So that's why you get this strong shape here. It's a cast
edge. So it's going to be harder edge than this, than the
subtle form, but that's going to tell you it's going to
reinforce this one light direction over here like this,
And then it's going to come around, the shape is going to
come around the back of her leg here, under her calf
and then follow along the bottom of her foot here.
The bottom of her foot here.
Tiny bit of her heel going back this way.
And this way like this.
Now I'm not going to get into reflected lights and all those
qualities of light. What I really want to do here is just
shape. I'm making it dominant. Okay, the shadow shape. I'm
making it more dominant than the difference between light or
excuse me local values, see the brown being the local value.
I'm going to make the shadow shape more dominant.
It's always a balance where more contrast lies is contrast
between light and shadow or contrasting local values. In
this case this is a case where our shadow
shapes are photographed more dominantly.
Some of these are real subtle they get soft. it gets soft.
I started going out the arm, and I didn't finish. That's a
problem because you should always finish the thought and I
jumped around, that's not the right thing to do.
Complete your thought, complete the shape. Don't jump to another
shape if you haven't completed one.
that all starts to connect together.
Now the local values can help describe some of the form.
Like this subtly helps describe the curve on the back, the
roundness of, you know, of the arch on her back, you know,
she's wrapping around this way. So this helps to tell that
story even out to here
and then pull back.
your local values, that change of local value there can help
also tell the story but this is really predominantly about
light versus shadow. I'm going to make the stronger more
And the rhythms that we're finding again we were
using these shadow shapes to help create these alignments.
For instance this shape going up, the shape curving back,
coming up and if we start to get into the
half-tones and more subtle situations we can get very
From along her back underneath her rib back up in there.
That's a little too contrasty. I want to avoid those right now
because those are little subtleties that we're
going to get in. I want you to just to first what I want you
to do is just just decide and just find the areas of light
and the areas of shadow and how they wrap around. Just to recap
on this we started with our gesture lines throughout the
figure and built forms around those gestures then looked at
the shadow shape and how the shadow shape can also create
include some of those this way. I'll just draw this okay, and
then back up across here and aligning these things with like
the back of the arm and the nose and up here. We're
aligning some of these things and then these strong shadows
aligning this way, bringing around here, picking you up here, bringing
you back down to here, and then down here and here. Okay, so
also coming from around here is this comes wide. We also pick
up we have this little arrow there that points you back up
towards rhythmic shape here. Okay and up and even from here
this being straight, going back up into this neck area and it
rounded on this side, bring us here, bring us here, and then
down into here and bring us in there. So all of these rhythms,
we want to look for how these rhythms work in this case in
those shadow shapes. And in this one we want to - we got this
one with the local values as well. So I wanted to illustrate
that even though we have these dominant light and shadow
areas. I can make shadows darker
on her figure
and see if I do that just a little bit difference there in
her figure than I do.
This makes a little bit - a little bit stronger to see the
difference in the local values and how they play in the
Here we go.
Just to recap, you're going to find rhythms from your
basic axis you're going to find these rhythmic lines
through the axis of these volumes like this. Then you're
going to find also there's rhythms that you're going to
find along the contours finding passive to active side, moving
back and forth and building the rhythms in those where one will
come down or maybe one will follow a contour and then
come back up into here. Now this might go back all the way
and catch something up here and your eye line as another line,
lining up with this contour
line or edge of the form here. That's a contour line. Okay. So
those are enhancing the direction, they're forcing this
back. Okay, so we have those kinds of shapes from our lines
to our contour shapes. Interiors to exteriors. Then we find a
rhythm in the forms and how the forms in these volumes work
in here and that's by drawing through and finding those
rhythms to lock things together and move things in and
out of space just a little bit more. Okay. Now you can see
here if we're just looking at the shadow shapes we can look
at, you know, without anything else we can see that there are
these shapes can also create rhythms in here. Okay.
And when we combine that with local values we'll have some
that are more dominant, some that are more subordinate, but
they can all make these long linear gestures all the way
through. Okay, so these are a few ways to view rhythms and
from simple to complex and in all five cases,
you can find rhythms in all these different areas. So it's
not just a general axis line that you want to look for, all
of these from your line to your contoured shapes that push
directional forces to volumes and forms that give directional
forces as well. But in more of a dimensional way the edges
of shadows if you map those out. They'll also be an
opportunity to create more directional shapes. Those will
also follow these forms. So these will work together as you
can see in here, they all work together from the kind of
a combining of the forms and these shapes, it'll all work
together in something like that.
So follow along, try these five different versions, do a few
drawings where you're doing simple objects, Simple objects, like
like a cup like we talked about before. Okay, maybe you're
using a salt shaker. Okay, and and draw it really carefully.
I'm scribbling this thing out but, you know, take your time
and look at it and draw through. Okay, look at these,
maybe there's different planes on the salt shaker or
something like that but draw through all of these objects,
all the objects that you do to really get the form. So you'll
be able to understand the form then look for the organic
rhythms within those these are all mechanicals and symmetrical
but as we start drawing figures and landscapes, we want to
look for things that have a little bit more rhythm in their
Draw over the Dean Cornwell image attached to this page.
Define the axis lines in one color, accent the rhythms that
you see in another color, and identify the directional
movement created by shapes, folds, object, edges, internal
shapes created through contrasts, etc. These will be in
addition to the accent rhythms and access lines. Find at least
25 to 30.
Now, we’re going to learn about controlling value.
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about the whole range, from limited values to using
a full-value spectrum to help us create better drawings and better pictures.
I want to talk about controlling your values.
When you’re creating an image, everything is going to have a local color, and it’s
going to be affected by light and shadow.
I’ve selected a couple little landscape images that I’ll work with.
First I want to introduce you to the principle of value grouping.
Value grouping really has to do with—I’ll start off here with a value scale from 1 to
10 or zero to 10 down here like this.
And 10 might be considered our darkest dark.
Let me just kind of start there.
And if our mid-value is somewhere in this range, I’m going to make a gradation that’s
going to go all the way down to our darkest dark here.
I’m going to try to make it even.
I’ll smooth it out.
This is our blackest black down here.
I’ll just use my finger to get in here and even bring this just a little bit lighter
to my lightest light up there if I can.
This is a consistent gradient.
That’s what I want to do.
I want to create a consistent gradient that gets darker and darker and darker down here
and lighter up there.
You can see it kind of changes abruptly up here, so I’m going to lighten this up a little bit.
I’ve got a little bit of a bump right here, so I want to make sure that that’s cleared
out and I get an even gradient up here.
I’ll kind of push that up a little bit.
Then I’ll draw a little bit more in there.
There we go.
Okay, so this is my gradient from white to black.
Let’s just say we’ve got this gradient from one or zero to 10.
Okay, now in any image, you don’t need to use this whole range of white to solid black,
and all of the in-betweens.
We might think, oh, well, we need a real broad range of value to depict something.
It really comes down to managing your groupings of values rather than using the whole range.
You determine whether your image is what it’s major key and its minor key is, and then you
can break it down from there.
For instance, in any kind of an image, and I’m going to use, I’m going to start with
one image here, and I’ll do this little seascape here.
I’ll start with something like this.
What I’m going to do is first I’m going to do my basic design.
Then I see that there are some rocks out in this area.
Those rocks are going to look like that, and I have a couple other rocks in here like this.
And they’re a little broken up in here.
Okay, so there is the sky area and then the water in that area.
I also have an area down in here, which is the sand, and I have this larger rock that
comes down something like this.
And then like this.
And then we have some of the form breaking into this.
We can draw how this works here.
The top plane.
The side plane like that.
The side plane around here.
This kind of comes around and then breaks down in here.
In this area here, we have some other dark rocks.
The top of the surface and the side of the surface.
Then we have a couple other little rocks like this.
We have another one coming in here.
Then what I want to do is I want to also acknowledge that I’ve got this foam
that’s swirling around in this area.
I’m just going to make kind of an abstract of this shape.
And I also see that this is coming in an area like this.
It’s rolling over a rock that’s over water, but it’s kind of slipping over that.
We see that turn that way.
Then coming around this side we see the whitest area of the foam like this.
Again, kind of going into these kind of little abstract shapes here.
Back around this rock back here, we also see some areas that are getting a little bit lighter.
The water, the foam, that’s breaking around the edges of these rocks.
So, there is my basic design.
Now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to identify where is my lightest area?
Where is my darkest area?
I might just number those.
So, my lightest area might be in here in the foam.
That might be my lightest areas, those areas of the foam.
The next value group might be the sky.
Now, if I squinted this image, the foam and the sky in this overcast day are very close
in value, so I’m going to group those as one group.
I’m going to say, okay, that exists in one group of value range.
Okay, so the foam, which is in here, and the sky are going to be in one value group.
There is a clear jump along the horizon that I notice that goes into my next value.
That, I’m going to say, is the water.
I’ll number this as one, and this is two.
Now, I see this has a pretty broad range.
It goes from the lighter area over in here down to the area in here.
This is a pretty broad range of contrast.
Then I’m going to look at my rocks.
That’s the next thing that I’m looking at.
The rocks in here, there’s the top surfaces of these rocks, and then the sides as they
get darker and as they’re wet in here.
That might be the third, so three would be rocks.
And what I’ll notice is the rocks have a value range as well.
So, there is the tops and sides and the distance.
The distance ones too.
We don’t see as much top on the distance ones.
We do see that they do sit within this darkest region.
This is the third group in here.
This image can get broken down into three basic value groups.
I’ll show you how that works.
We’ve associated close values.
Now, if we look at the sky and the foam, we’re going to realize that those are only existing
within about this range.
That is sky and foam.
Now, our next group, the water, that’s a pretty broad range.
Remember, we’re going from areas that are fairly light over here and in here, all the
way down into here.
That’s going to be somewhere in here to that darker zone in here.
Okay, our rocks, you’re going to see that the tops of the rocks and the darkened part
of the rocks and these dark rocks back here are really down low in the low range.
The tops that we see a little bit later, they almost get the same value as the water, the
darkest water in here.
So, they get really close in here.
I’m going to go kind of close in here, and they go to black.
I mean this is a pretty broad range as well.
This might be rocks.
Now, here is the key to making a clear image.
That is, if we know the range of this and the range of this and the range of that, we
need to keep a clear gap between our light group, our light range of values, or midrange
of values, and a darker range of values.
You can do that by just eliminating those values.
You don’t have to have all of your values in any image.
It’s not a case of making it more realistic is going to be dependent on having a full
range of values.
It’s having an accurate selection of value ranges.
That’s the key to making this work.
So, if I’m saying the sky and foam are within this range, I’m going to look at my image,
and I’m going to say, okay, my light or my sky is very light.
It’s somewhere in the foam that’s going to have a little bit more articulation.
The sky is going to be even.
I’m going to do this quite flat.
I’ll use a little tissue to flatten this value out.
See if I can lift a little of it.
It’s going to be very, very light.
I’ll lighten it up just a little bit.
I’m going to clean up my shape, my border here too just a little.
I’ll lighten that up just a little bit.
There we go.
There we are.
You can see that I’m trying not to go any darker than this right in here.
That’s that value range.
In the form in here it’s going to be the same thing.
I’m going to look for my, a little bit of variation in here within the foam.
I’m going to see a little bit in here.
It’s not the whitest whites in some of these.
And these are not going to be the lightest lights as well.
These are going to be about the same as the sky at this point.
I’m going to bring that down a little bit.
There we go.
My water is going to be a little step down from the sky.
As it reflects up here, this is the area that is reflecting closest to the sky.
I’m going to keep this fairly light.
As I get into here, it’s going to get a little bit darker.
I purposely selected something that is just kind of a simple image
that has a simple value breakdown.
I’m going to get my basic values in here.
I’m going to go toward my darker region in here of the water.
Now, I’ll soften this up just a little bit, too.
And this area here is a little darker as well.
I’m going to pull the whites back out of that.
I want to get this arrangement.
You see how here the water is rolling over.
We get a little bit of a gradient here.
Here it goes a little darker like the darkness down here up in there.
I’ll put this, get this a little darker here.
I can even get it just a little bit darker here in these little areas in here and little
areas close to the rock here where it’s picking up the reflection of that dark, dark
rock in there.
Got the reflection of the dark rock in there.
A little in there as well.
So, I’ve got a range now.
Before I go too far, I’m going to pull some of these lights back out.
I don’t want to get too lost in some of these.
Some of the areas where there is a little bit of the foam, I’m going to pick some
of that back out up in here.
Some of the shapes in here.
Okay, I’m going to get some of my lightest lights coming out of there.
You can see I’m building that range, trying to stay with—now, within
each of these groups, within each of these value ranges,
we have them in these different zones.
We have the lightest foam and the sky, and we’re going to see in that range we don’t
have a great deal of contrast.
It’s all pretty light.
Within that—you see, let me put it this way.
Our ranges of contrast is we’ve got a full minor key.
We have everything from white all the way to black.
That’s our minor key.
We have a broad, high-contrast of minor key.
Now, within each zone you have a contrast range.
In every area that I designate, I can actually monitor the range of contrast within each area.
It’s breaking it down from the big picture down to those three areas.
Then what’s the contrast range within each area, and how does that get broken up?
In this image, there is not a lot of contrast in the foam.
It’s all pretty light.
There is not a lot of contrast there.
There area of greatest contrast is going to be in the darks.
It’s in this area.
You’re going to see that if I block this in now it’s fairly dark, substantially dark.
There is a little bit of breakup in the top surfaces of this rock.
As we see in here there are more top surfaces, and I’m breaking the top surfaces up with
a little broken value.
You can see it’s a little lighter, a little darker in some of these regions.
That’s the nature of this zone.
It’s a little bit broken up and lighter on the top.
I can see the breakup in here.
Something down here.
This gets broken up in here like this and like this.
Then as we go down and get to the darker region, it goes down to the black here.
We’re going to lay that in.
It needs areas that are more wet or more perpendicular to the sky,
because that’s what’s going on here.
These are getting broken up.
Now, as I start getting into this, you can start to see the breakup a little bit more
clearly, what’s going on with some of the forms.
And I’m just observing and working in these darks in this range.
Remember, this is all this one range here.
I’m just trying to stay within that range of values.
It’s easier to do this when you identify this values and value groups like this.
It’s so much simpler because it’s a way of seeing the world simply.
That’s really what you want to do.
You want to understand what’s going on and see it simply.
If you understand things, the way that things look in a simple manner, it makes them easier
to draw as well.
You end up drawing the spirit of the image and emphasizing
the distinguishing elements there.
It's almost like doing a caricature of the real world around you as you’re breaking
these things down into these groups.
You can see that it starts to take shape.
I’m going to simplify this down.
I’m going to try to get these darks in here just a little bit darker.
And I’ll get the darks in back here.
There we go.
Overall, this stays fairly dark.
We don’t see a lot of breakup in this area back here.
It stays pretty silhouetted.
Now, in here, again, we’ll break up.
Here is the overall, and then we’ll get to the darker, the full range of that element
in that area.
Okay, I’m going to pull out just a little bit of the rock in here.
Again, I don’t want to go too light.
See, that’s as light as the water is out there.
I just want to be able to get the distinguishing shape in there.
I’m going to bring that back down into its proper value.
Water is going to reflect rocking it just a little bit.
We have some of these little dark elements coming out from the, as they reflect the rock
A little more of the same down in here.
Okay, there is a little bit of darkening in the water as well, as it turns away from the
light in there.
I want to make sure that the water here and here doesn’t get quite as dark as that.
Same thing over here.
It’s going to go a little darker there, but not as dark as the rocks in there.
This area in here can get a little bit darker just like I darkened this area over here.
It’s in the water.
We want to make sure that it doesn’t get as dark as that, as dark as the rock.
Now what I’ll do is I’ll go back and kind of pick out some of my lightest lights of
the foam again in this area.
Just kind of wax on and wax off with a charcoal pencil like this.
You know, you can go over areas.
Don’t feel like you’ve ruined it if you’ve drawn over something.
You can always kind of pick it up and draw back into a little bit.
What I’m doing here is—if I’m spending a lot more time.
I’m going to be a lot more accurate about my shapes in here, but for this little exercise
of value grouping, I’m just going to get it in the ballpark.
Discriminating about all these little shapes is something that you definitely want to do,
and you can see how you can get at it this way.
This is the right setup.
This is the way to get you into the area where you can actually get these values set so that
you can actually do something that has a point of view.
Here is a little breakup in this area now, too.
These, this is the darker foam and a little bit like this.
Then some of the bits of the sky reflecting into the water are going to reflect in this
And a little bit over in here like this.
I’m going to do a couple of these as examples so that if you just kind of get a, you know,
not just one example, but we can see a couple of them as we move forward.
In the distance we some of the reflection of the sky, just a little heavier in certain
areas because the current is moving over and stuff.
But, by bracketing your values and eliminating the values in-between, what that does is it
gives your image clarity.
You get clear distinctions between different areas.
In here I could go in and just subtly create these areas in here and play with these shapes
just a little bit to show that we’re seeing a little bit down into the water a little
bit into here.
And we’re going to see that there is a foam and how it rolls over a little bit there.
We’re going to see it rolling over here just a little bit.
We can just accentuate some of those, the pooling, by darkening these that comes down
just a little bit.
This is a rock so it’s going to be in this value range.
And there is a little bit of this darker range.
Remember, in the water here we can go down to this dark.
I can use this.
I’ve got to make sure that I don’t go too dark; otherwise, it’s going to start
to look like this.
Keeping the difference, I’ll darken this up just a little bit more, and that gives
me a broader range to work with on my rocks, and it also gives me a broader range to work
with my water.
If I make this all darker I can make this darker too.
What will happen is it’ll allow me more use of being able to make these just a little
bit darker in here too.
If I want to get articulate little shapes in here, I can start doing that now too.
But, by doing this, then I know what values those need to be.
I know that I can’t go darker than a certain range and I can’t go lighter than a certain range.
Knowing that, that keeps a balance on all your values and your overall image.
That’s what I mean by value grouping.
Let me show you another example of this.
I’m going to look at the range of values that we have in this image, and then I’m
going to assess the major and minor key and break it down from there.
Again, I’m going to start with a value range where I have my darkest darks down here.
I’m doing this as kind of a rough demonstration.
I think if you really want to do a real complete subtle value range you can definitely do it.
I’m doing it as kind of a demonstration for you, kind of a shorthand version, but
I still want to get it pretty clear.
Okay, that’s our basic range.
Then what I’m going to do is I’ll do my drawing over here.
Kind of break this drawing down.
Now, this drawing, I’m going to see that there is a large foreground area.
It almost goes halfway up into the image.
Then there is a large hedge that comes over like this, and there is a top that appears
on that hedge so it’s a lighter value.
We can see that clearly.
Then there is another bush that comes over here.
We can see the light and shadow shapes in these bushes, but the contrast is very similar,
so they group pretty similar.
Okay, there is the fence.
There is another tree that comes up in here.
I kind of do a center of the tree just so I get it to kind of grow appropriately.
Then I get a palm.
And another one over in here.
You can see they’re overlapping like this.
There is a building here with a roof.
There is a section of the roof.
Another large tree over here.
I’m getting my basic shapes in, and as I do, I’m kind of determining my arrangement.
I’m looking at the differences of shapes in here too, and so I’m defining my zones
by marking out these different zones.
These are bushes in here, and then we have this kind of a bush here that has this kind
of a topiary quality to it.
It actually comes in here a little bit like this, and then this tree out here.
Okay, so these are my basic zones.
I’ve got a little area in here of dirty that helps give us this movement in here.
I’m going to see that the values in here are similar.
Now we’ll look at bracketing our values.
When I designate my area into these zones, I’m going to look at it and say, okay, where
is my darkest dark, and what’s my value range in there?
And I’m going to see that some of my darkest darks are in this cypress tree here, this
little topiary and the dark of the tree as it comes down here.
In my bush this long hedge and then this tree back up into here, and little areas of the palm.
Those are going to be the areas of the darkest darks.
I’ve got some real darks down in here as well, and then my range, I have a lighter
range, is going to be like the fence and the tops of these bushes in here and the palm.
Then the next lightest is going to be the foreground in here, and then the ground, and
then the wall here, and then the sky.
So, kind of numbering those things through, the darkest ones are going to be—let’s
go from the lightest to the darkest.
This is the lightest.
It’ll be a one.
Then the next would be two.
These are all two in here.
The next would be three.
There is a good amount of contrast within here within this region.
There is a good amount of contrast here.
There is also a good amount in the trees and stuff.
Initially, we’ll call this number three.
And then we’re going to go a step darker.
This is four.
And then five in here and six in there.
If we look closely we’re going to see that this five area in here runs real similar to
So maybe we can put the four and the five and group those together.
Make those a five and this a four.
We’ll just stay with five value groups.
Our sky, the range in there is pretty narrow.
We just get a little bit.
And this is a long gradient in here, but we’re only going to get a little bit of that value in there.
We have a gap because we can see that the buildings here are a good step darker.
It’s a narrow range, so it’s a good step darker, but it’s a very narrow range.
That, this is going to be our one.
These are our buildings.
And then our three area is going to be the grass, and that’s a good step down.
That’s going to be in here.
And then the fence is close, but it’s a narrow range in here.
So, that’s the fence and bush tops.
We can even expand this a little bit if we want.
We’re going to have room down here.
Then we have a little bit of a gap again, and we go into five.
And five is going to be the trees, dark.
Now, anything that you do, any subject matter that you choose, you can do this with any
subject matter you choose.
Again, like I mentioned before, the key to doing this is just making sure that you have
a gap, you know, a clear, distinctive difference between one zone and the next value zone.
And you can see how this looks now, too.
We’re eliminating this.
We’re eliminating this.
Now, again, when we eliminate these values, we are grouping these other values, and it’ll
make sure that these different areas don’t get all muddied together.
Managing your values is—it can be really complex if you don’t have a plan.
Usually, things will break down into these value ranges.
You just determine where those value ranges sit.
And so for any major or minor key, you’re going to be able to establish it within these,
within this manner of doing it.
It’s really pretty easy, whether you have something complex or something simple.
I’ll just do, I’ll do a simple little ball,
but I’ll make sure that it’s—let’s do this.
Let’s do a pool ball.
Let’s just say the light source is coming from over here.
Well, if it has a strong light source, one thing that’s going to happen is you’re
going to get a highlight that’s right in here.
So, we want to register that first.
And if this is a dark color and we have, let’s say we have a number here.
I’m going to put a zero on here.
This is the local color on here.
This is the local color affected by light being lit up.
If our light source is coming this way, okay, coming back this way like this, and it’s
hitting our ball right here, our half tone is going to be where the surface turns around
or is parallel to this light source.
That might land somewhere in here.
Now, in this region is where you’re going to see the real local value.
The lighter part of the ball and the darker part of the ball.
This is kind of where your local value region is going to be because everything into the
light is going to be this value plus a little bit light.
This value plus light is going to be subtle.
Okay, and now when it goes into shadow, it’s going to be this value minus that light, so
it’s going to get darker as it goes into the shadow just like this.
Again, that’s the light going into shadow there, getting a little darker.
So, if one object has two different values on it, you’re going to see the difference.
They’re both going to go into shadow similarly.
Let’s just say that here is our ground plane, and our ground plane has a local color.
And outside the light source it’s going to fall off just a little bit.
We’d give it of a grading over here, far away from the light source.
It’s going to get a little darker here.
We get a little variation on that.
Then it’s cast shadow.
The little ball is going to be a darker value.
I’m just using my fingers to get all this in here.
Okay, so I have the light part of the ball, a medium value on the ground, and a dark local
color wrapping around this ball.
Let me get back to the light of the ball here.
There we go.
This being in light as well might pull a little bit off of this.
There we go.
The highlight is going to be, since this is a pretty shiny object, the highlight might
get pulled right out of here.
And this being the middle value being hit by light here, it’s going to reflect up
into this, and it’s going to illuminate just a little bit the darkness of this.
It’ll bring up the value just slightly.
We’ll read it as something like this.
And as this reflects up into here, you’re going to get reflected light in there too.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here, so I’m going to, I just want to show
you just an example of how values can be grouped.
This is a case where an object has multiple values in its local situation.
Okay, so this can set up a scheme so you get this range of the ball in light.
Okay, so that’s one.
We get this half tone in here.
This starts to get two, along with this down in here.
That range starts to group together, you see?
It could even get lost, similar in value.
Then it’s going to go to three down in these region, and then four, down into your darkest
darks down in here and up in here.
Now, all these have names, and we’ll get into that later.
The main thing is it’s all breaking down into value groups, just like we’re breaking
It allows for clarity within your image.
So, I’m going t set this up, and I’m going to work with the lightest range, which is
the sky at this point.
You’ll see I’m just getting a little bit of this tone in here.
The clouds in here are real soft, barely see the contrast in there.
They’re very, very subtle.
That’s the total range of that area.
Then our next group is the buildings.
They need to be a good step down from anything up there, so we’re going to step that down
into here and in here.
And in here.
Okay, so these are the bits of the building that are in light or they’re painted light.
Then we go to the next value, which is going to be the grass
where we want to go a little darker yet.
Going to smooth that down because the texture of the paper is a little overpowering there.
Some of this is pretty uneven so let me even this out a little bit.
Just evening that value out just a little bit.
And you can see there is a clear distinction between the sky and this second value group
and the lay-in on this group.
My next thing is the fence.
Now, it’s just slightly darker.
The fence and the bush tops are very close in value, but it is a little bit darker.
Here we go.
Now, I’m going to
pull this out just a little bit so it still keeps this gap.
That’s what I want to make sure—I have a gap between my value groups.
Even though it’s subtle, I want a gap in there because that’s going to make sure
that my image remains clear.
I’m going to have subtle nuances all over this thing, but I’m going to make sure that
my value groups are managed properly, and I keep them within this range.
Again, this range is darker than that range.
I’m going to see that the tops of these bushes are in that same value range.
It seems to be pretty similar to the value range here of these roofs.
I’m going to combine that, even the little top piece up on the top up there.
This gets a little dark.
That’s a little too dark.
I’m going to clean this up a little bit.
There we go.
I’m subtly putting that in there.
I want to make sure this has a clean edge in there, and I’m subtly putting this in
This is the range.
Then I have these bushes in light here.
I’m going to see some of this is the same value as my fence and bush tops over here.
Same thing in here.
Same thing at the top over here.
These are all grouped together, so this is a mass of similar value.
As these tops in here, this level four in here, I can see that the rooftop here is kind
of my level four as well.
That’s a little dark.
There we go.
I’m going to drop those in.
I also have some of the palms that fit this value grouping as well.
I’ll go ahead and put some of those shapes in.
And over like this.
Now, some of these fronds go a little darker.
Where they overlap and stuff they’ll go a little bit darker.
I’m going to save some of that for my darkest dark.
But you can see I’m in this range right in here.
I’m getting a little bit along these here.
The side of that is like this.
This is the side of that building there and the top of the chimney there.
There is a little area that is this value right in here too, along with this palm tree.
Now I’m going to put in the darkest dark, and that’s our number five, in our bushes here.
We’re going to see a little bit of breakup in here.
This is subtle, but I know that in this zone between the area of the bush in light and
the area in shadow, there is a value difference, but it’s broken up with all the little leaves
that are refracting light and those that are turning down that aren’t picking up the
light from the sky.
You get a little difference there.
On the back over here we can see that it gets a little bit darker behind here so that it
hangs onto this lighter area here.
There is also a little bit of a gap in there, and then our other little piece, chimney,
back in here.
Here we go.
We can make that read a little better that way.
We can also see that there is a side there.
This darkest dark, this five falls into shadow there, and then it falls into number four there.
There is a window that goes into five right in there.
Along the edge.
Even if we want to pick up some of this, we’re looking at the five.
And now we’re going to go back and get the rest of our number five.
This is our back bush in the back back here.
Or tree—I called it a bush.
It's a tree.
Now, once you get your value ranges in here, and I’m putting these shapes in kind of
in the direction of the plants, the way the plants are growing and stuff.
I can kind of get a little bit of difference, not just with the value between zones but
also with the application of the marks that I’m putting down.
I’m also getting a little bit of variation there.
As this bush goes into shadow, you can see it is different.
The growth pattern goes this way, so I’m going to make strokes that way.
With this one I’m going to make strokes this way to follow the growth pattern here,
which is a little different.
The marks are actually going to help indicate a little bit more information.
What I’m doing is I’m just breaking the edge from one value group to another, but
I’m breaking up with the type of breakup, and the difference between the breakup of
this tree and this tree.
Look at the nature of the shape or texture.
If you stay true to that, you’ll start building in what feels like the appearance of an actual
There will appear like there is more rendering than you actually put into your image.
You’re just being true with your values and your value grouping.
Here is some of the darker areas that are in shadow in this palm tree.
There we go.
Okay, coming over here.
There we go.
And then this section in shadow as well, coming in here.
There is the other trunk in here, and then this trunk.
When you look at a finished piece it may seem like there’s a big mystery to getting all
the rendering of this stuff, and there is really not.
If you’re paying attention to grouping your values in a way that gives each area a little
clear distinction of range of value.
Again, this is my four and my five value comes in here like this.
There we go.
I had this a little wide, so let me just kind of crop this down in here.
Now, when I get into here I can draw into this, but I know that my values in here, I
can go as dark as my four.
I’m getting a little number four range in here and here, along the edge here.
Just breaking this up a little bit.
There is a little bit of subtle shadow in there.
It’s broken along the edge.
It goes from the five to the three value.
Then our fence—I don’t want to smudge my drawing here.
So, there is a contrast within this zone, as is there is some contrast within this zone,
but as long as I keep my groups similar or within one region…If I start to make these
things too dark, they’re going to associate with this, and they’re going to be punching
holes in this image.
I’ll do that and I’ll pull it back.
You see, once I do that, see how it kind of breaks the situation?
It turns these dark areas, puts them on the same depth plane as this back there.
You have to avoid using the same contrast in different zones.
You’ve got to avoid that.
Here we go.
What I’ll do is I’ll pick out a couple of the little flowers along the sides here.
I can pick out a little bit of the ground because it’s going to be a little bit lighter
in value, just by sharpening the edges of some of those edges.
And then there are areas in here where we get leaves that are falling over.
His looks a little bit light, but I’m just making these marks, and then I’ll smudge
them a little bit to bring them close in value again.
You can see I can make it more subtle again.
You can see that I can get the effect of the subtle bushes because I’m staying within
the value group necessary.
If I have longer things kind of shooting up into that, I can soften that up, that edge
a little bit by bringing some of those things up, and I’ll make sure
that my values stay correct.
If I have a few little highlights on the tops of some of the leaves and stuff back here
and over in here, I know this area is going to get a little bit lighter because it appears
a little bit lighter in there.
A couple of flowers and things, kind of blades of grass shooting up a little bit.
I’ll get those in a similar value.
I’ll make this light area over the top of this dark area of those overhanging leaves there.
I don’t want to make it too light.
See, this can’t be as light as that, so I’m going to lighten this.
That’ll give me a little more range to work with this.
It’s all relative.
Okay, I’ll get the three value back in there.
I can get my sharp edge back on the edge of this building.
It got a little too bright.
But see, when I work with my value groups—this can get a little bit darker in here.
When I work with my value groups in here, you can see it makes it so much easier to
manage as long as I maintain a gap between each area just like this.
Just stay consistent with that.
Once you group them then you can manage them pretty easily.
I’ll go back into something like this.
This needs to be a little bit darker.
This needs to be just a little bit darker.
There we go.
You can do this on your own.
If you want to get a photograph.
Just get a photograph, but try to get something that has just a small number of different
value groups, and try to identify their range.
Do a gradient like this and identify their range.
Then it’s almost like a paint-by-number.
You identify the area by its value range.
Then you make sure that this range of values only exist in here.
This is the predominant area.
You’re going to also find that once you set your value ranges, you may look at a situation,
I’m going to do another little diagram really quick down here.
You may end up—as you move forward, you may end up having a situation where you have
maybe a person.
We’ll put a tie on them.
We’re going to put him in a suit like this.
Now, what we might do is say the shirt is white, so that’s our lightest light.
Then what we might do is we might say is the skin might be like this, generally.
And let’s say it’s flatly lit.
let’s make the background a little bit darker.
This has to do with your value grouping as well.
I’m going just one, two, three, four.
My whitest white is the shirt.
And then the background.
I’ll say the tie is the same is the background or similar.
It’s within the same value range.
Then let’s just say his coat is much darker.
Now, I have basically four different values.
These are four different value groups.
Now, once I establish these values groups, the shirt being one, the skin being two, the
background and the tie being three, and the coat being four, once I establish those, I
might say, okay, where in this image is the most contrast?
Maybe it’s on his face.
Maybe his eyes are dark and maybe he has dark eyebrows.
Maybe he’s got dark hair that comes in here like this.
If we have the greatest contrast in there, maybe we have some breakup of light and shadow.
So, we can say that this is an area where we want greater contrast in this zone.
This went too light.
It’s as light as his shirt.
You can see in here that this is going to be the area that’s going to have the greater
amount of contrast within that one zone.
Maybe if we have a shadow on this, maybe the shadow is going to go with the same value
as the background and kind of soften some of those edges.
You kind of lose a few of those.
Maybe it’s a case—let’s get the shirt really white.
Maybe we say there’s not much contrast on the shirt because it’s just so white-white.
And we have a little bit more breakup on the background than we go on his coat.
His coat is like really dark, and there is no contrast on the background.
So, this is taking those value groups from his shirt to his skin to the BG, background
and his tie, to his coat.
And now that we have these value ranges, what I did here is I said in the coat area I have
In the background and tie I might have medium contrast.
In the shirt I have very low contrast.
In his skin I have high contrast.
So, what happens is, I’ve not only given myself these value ranges, but within each
zone I’ve given a range of contrast.
I can direct the viewer’s eye just by using my area of contrast.
Do you see that?
High contrast in the next area.
Now, the fact that the tie next to the shirt and the coat next to the shirt, there is a
great amount of contrast there, but that works as a zone next to a zone.
This is one zone that has more contrast within that one zone.
That’s going to always catch your eye in there.
This will be stark but one of the things you can do too is you can give a softer edge to
some of these.
If I give a softer edge, it would kind of imply that there was a little bit of a shadowing,
but really not much at all.
See, something like that.
You can get a lot of distance or way down the road with your image just by looking at
your value bracketing, and then you’re looking at the range of contrast within each zone
just like this and just like this.
I think it would really be good if you did a few examples.
Do a few examples of maybe landscapes that have a simple number of values that you can
work with, or if you want to have a friend sit or do it from one of the photos online,
you can do that as well.
Look for your value structures so you get your value groups.
Eliminate the values in between so it keeps it really separate.
Once you do a few of those, then really start looking at, okay, in what area do you have
the greater contrast and what area do you have the less contrast.
Again, that will help move your eye through the image, and it will actually make it feel
more like reality because that is what happens.
This is a way that you can direct the viewer’s eye.
You can tell them to go to the area of the greatest contrast, and that area would be
Even if I—see, if I wanted to, I could go in and put a little highlight.
If I have these things working you can see the range of contrast there now.
Pull that back.
Those would be some highlights that you might see in there.
This is an area of interest.
Your eye is going to go there because it's a strong area
favorite teachers is going to introduce the concepts of major and minor key.
Alright, let’s kick it to Bill.
I’m going to demonstrate how we move from one key as a major key into major and minor keys.
We have a situation where we’re going from, say, dark to light.
Maybe this one is mostly dark.
I’ll give a gradient in here that is going from dark to light.
And it is mostly dark.
In this situation, you can see that as I rub this I’m trying to get the charcoal down
into the grain of the paper just a little bit.
Just to smooth it out so we’re not so conscious of the grain in the paper just for this effect.
And in this situation, we have an overall light composition or gradient.
It’s overall light.
It goes from—you can see this one is overall light and this is mostly dark.
We might look at this and say this is our major key.
Now, your major key equals the proportion.
This image is mostly dark with some contrast here.
This image is mostly light with some contrast.
I can make this image appear even lighter by cutting back into this and making it more
overall light, but you can see there is still gradient.
But, if we were to look at this image we might say that is a low major key, meaning it’s dark.
This might be a high major key, and that’s because it’s mostly light.
The proportion in our major key, if it’s low or dark, or the greater proportion is
light, we might say it has a high minor key.
So, this could go from a range of let’s just say 10-value dark all the way to a zero,
which is all the way light.
In our full spectrum we might go from black all the way to white.
But in this top end of the spectrum.
We might say if our greater proportion is overall light, we might say it has a high major key.
If it’s down at the dark end of the spectrum we might say it’s a low major key.
It’s overall dark.
Again, major key is about proportion.
I would kind of diagram that like this and say, okay, in this image, most of this image—I’ll
put two of them over here so we can do a dark one and a light one.
Most of this image is dark.
Within the total there is some light, but most of it is dark.
In this one, maybe most of this one is light.
In this composition or this image you’re going to see that most of this one is light,
but it has some contrast in it.
Now, let’s talk about our minor key.
Our minor key is the range of contrast.
We might view this in this way.
Something that has—I’ll just divide it up this way.
I’ll do three of them.
This one, we might say, if we say this is a high contrast.
Let’s just make this high contrast, from black to white, really strong.
High contrast as far as the range of the contrast, this would be high minor.
That’s a high minor key because we have the highest contrast.
We might then go to a medium.
Let’s just say this is dark.
Our medium contrast it won’t go all the way to white, but this we could consider medium
contrast, or medium minor key.
We also have low contrast or low key, low minor key.
Low minor key might mean that there is low contrast.
Getting the distinction between the two sides of this might be very minimal.
There is very little contrast there, so it’s low minor key.
Medium minor key because there is medium contrast.
Then the greatest contrast here is a high minor key.
Now, from our overall proportion, that’s our major key.
Overall dark, overall all light.
You see it in the proportion here and here.
Then we talk about our minor key.
That’s the range of contrast.
This fills out the whole dimension of our tonal equation.
What ends up happening is if we only look at a major key like overall dark or overall
light we don’t have the complete range or understanding that we can completely have.
We’re going to take it into this next step.
So, where we go into the minor key.
This is kind of interesting because we have the high minor key or high contrast.
Again, our minor key is the range of contrast.
Our high contrast is high minor key.
Medium contrast would be a medium minor key and low contrast would be low minor key.
Now, I don’t want this to get confusing, but I’m going to give you another low minor key.
I’ll do it down here.
Here is a low minor key.
Okay, now this is also low.
This is just a high major key.
This is a low major key.
Overall dark, overall light.
Just like this.
Overall dark, low contrast is a low minor key.
Overall light with a low contrast is also a low minor key.
So, the range of contrast, again, we consider this our minor key.
A medium might be a little bit darker medium contrast like this.
I’m going to even lighten this one just a little bit so it’s just real subtle.
We’ll make that real clean.
I would suggest for you guys to make these little diagrams as clean as you can.
We’re still working with our control, our pencil control and so on.
So, if there is little contrast here—I’m going to lighten this up just a little bit more—
There we go.
Then you can see a real distinction between low contrast or low minor key, medium contrast,
medium minor key, and then high contrast in a high minor key is going to look
just like that.
Now, the reason I divide a circle just in half is because
this minor key is not the proportion.
This is about contrast only.
This might be a high minor.
What that equates to is this is a high minor key and also a high minor key.
Medium minor keys and low minor keys.
Remember, being a low minor key doesn’t mean that it’s dark like this like a 10 to zero.
This means if there is low contrast there may only be a small step of contrast in here
or a small step of contrast in here.
The medium is going to have a greater range of contrast in both, whether our major key
is overall dark or it’s overall light.
It doesn’t matter.
High contrast, medium contrast, low contrast is suited for this.
Now, if we put these two ideas together,
what I want you to do is I want you to draw nine rectangles.
We’ll do that right here.
Now, within these nine, I want you to draw a circle and that division.
Circle and the division.
Circle and the division.
Now, what’s going to happen here is the background is going to represent our major key.
It’s going to be the larger area or surface area within your image or composition.
Okay, so if the backgrounds are going to represent our major key, then let’s just say we have
a high medium and low major key.
So, that’ll be just across the top here.
High, medium, and low major key.
Let’s go ahead and illustrate that by putting a medium value.
Just get an even medium value all the way across.
You can practice your directional markings and stuff like that like Chris was going over.
You can practice that or just get an even tonal quality that heather was showing you as well.
Okay, so there is medium.
Do the same, medium.
Again, this is our major key.
The greater proportion of your image is a medium value.
I’m going to make this darker.
The backgrounds here are going to be dark.
We have light, medium, dark.
I’ll just fill this in just as an exercise.
This is going to be a really good—not only an exercise to work on, but this is going
to be something that you might want to do on a good piece of paper that you’re going
to hang onto for a while.
You might refer to this over and over.
It’s going to help our next step of image making.
I’ll kind of clean this up just a little bit.
There we go.
This one is dark as well.
We want to make sure these are pretty even so that you don’t confuse yourself with
having variations where it’s just a display of these simple ideas.
Don’t want anything to confuse you there.
So, overall light.
That’s our major key.
Now what we want to do is look at the range of contrast.
That’s our minor key.
I’ll put our minor key here.
Our minor key, again, it’s our range of contrast here.
We might say high, medium, and low.
Now, that would mean our range of contrast in this row would be high contrast.
In this situation, what I would do is I would want the greatest contrast in here, so I’m
going to give my black-black on my white-white.
I get the greatest contrast in here.
Same thing here.
I want the greatest amount of contrast in here, so within this overall gray image, I’m
going to have some element that’s dark and some element that’s light,
as light as I can get it.
I’m just going to refine this to make it a little clear.
That’s what it is.
And in our low major key, we’re going to have high contrast in our low major key.
I’m going to go ahead and make this really dark.
High contrast in our low major key.
It’s a high minor key, meaning a lot of contrast in a low situation, or a low major key.
Now, I’m going to jump right to the low contrast right in here.
So, if it’s overall light and there is low contrast, this also has to be very light.
In the medium situation, there is going to be low contrast, so maybe one of these sides
is going to medium or close to medium.
We’ll make this just a little bit darker.
And then with low contrast this is only going to be a little bit lighter.
Try to make sure the circle is just clear enough, but it’s low contrast in here.
Then with the darkest dark, I’m going to go very low contrast here.
This is really dark, this half.
And this half is pretty dark as well.
I’m going to need to capture a little bit of the shape back, so let me lighten it up
just a little bit in there.
Again, I’m keeping very low contrast within that little divided circle.
Okay, and now I’m looking at somewhere in the middle.
So, medium contrast in the overall light, I’m going to get something
in between this and this.
There might be medium contrast.
It’s not as contrast-y as this, and it’s not as minimal of contrast as this.
I’ll go back and forth and I’ll measure.
Once I do one, I do the top and the bottom and then I’ll do the middle so that I can
get a clear distinction there.
Here I have low-contrast.
Medium contrast might mean that I’m going to make this side between this and this.
And you can see there is a light medium value here and white.
I might need to just bring this down a little bit, not much, just a little bit.
I’ll just do enough and then I’ll get the edge to show.
There we have just a little bit of contrast, medium contrast because it’s white, medium
and medium in here or low contrast.
This is closer to this value so that means I’m going to need to lighten this up a little bit more.
There we go.
Now I’m going to go to high contrast in my low major key and high minor key, high contrast.
If you want to pause and see what I’m doing and do it while I’m doing this, that’s great.
Then you can follow along.
I don’t want you to just kind of think it through.
I want you to really do it.
I’ve found that when students actually do follow the examples, they learn faster.
Go ahead and follow these.
This is overall dark again.
That’s your low major key.
Now, where we have low contrast and low minor key, we have a high contrast in the high minor
key, and this will be medium.
So, I’ll go ahead and make this close to the background here, so it’s going to get
a medium amount of contrast.
Then the lighter area is going to be kind of halfway in between.
Try to shore up this shape just a little bit so that we’re in the same world.
Kind of knock that down a little.
This could be less contrast.
Now we get this distinction.
Let me brighten this up just a little bit.
So, you can see that we have these nine variations, and they’re really just based on your major
and minor key.
Again, I keep repeating, but I’ll keep repeating again.
Your major key is the overall proportions.
That’s the greater amount of your image.
It’s overall light, overall medium, or overall dark.
Your minor key is the range of contrast within there.
So, your range of contrast is going to be either high contrast,
medium contrast, or low contrast.
Now, I did it in these flat diagrams, but now what I’m going to do is I’m going
to—and I hope you follow with me—I’m going to repeat this exercise.
But, I’m going to repeat it with the appearance of a light direction.
So, first I’m going to start with my nine squares or rectangles.
Now, in this situation, I’m going to draw a circle but I’m not going to divide it in half.
I’m just going to draw the circle first.
Now that I drew the circle, I’m going to say let’s make a light direction coming
down this way on all of these.
So, I might say this is the area of this.
Instead of a circle divided, I’m going to make a shadow on the ground from this light
source on this circle.
I’m going to make it feel like a sphere.
So, again, I’m going to go like this.
I’m going to do this little diagram for all nine.
Circle got a little bit sawed off there.
Okay, now I’m going to follow the same pattern that I did up above, where the background
here are light.
These are going to medium, and these are going to be dark.
I’ll straighten this up.
Might as well just start with this one.
I’ll make this dark.
I’m going to do the background, and at this point, I’m not going to include the shadow
shape in with tone yet.
I’m just going to leave it as a shape and make sure I get my larger
major key blocked in dark.
I’m pushing this pretty quick, but if you want to slow it down or stop it while you
get all these in here, go ahead.
Again, we have our overall dark and our overall light.
That’s our major key.
Now I’m going to put in my medium.
This is going to be my medium value.
I just want to get it in kind of even.
Again, I’m rushing this through.
We might want to take your time and make some really nice charts.
Like I said, this is something that you’re going to want to hang on to because there
is a really good lesson in this.
If you always keep this in your mind, it’s going to make lighting things, lighting objects
down the road is going to make a lot more sense.
You don’t often hear people talk about major and minor keys.
Usually they just leave it with a key.
That’s fairly vague.
They can be much more discriminating about the makeup and the nature of our imagery.
We can even determine a clear mood.
This is really about how you can determine a mood.
Once we get this chart done, you’re going to see how this mood is going to play out,
or how you can create different moods just with your tonal structure.
By tonal structure I mean your major and minor keys.
Overall medium, overall medium.
Okay, what we’re going to look at here now is high contrast of your minor key.
Your minor key—again, I’ll put minor.
Minor key comes along this way, and your major key.
Light, medium, dark or high, medium, low.
And, if this is your minor key, a range of contrast is high, medium, and low.
So, if we’re looking at our greatest contrast, in this situation we might have great contrast
between the light and the shadow.
There is a strong contrast in here, and the contact shadow on the ground and the shadow
on the little ball might even merge in here.
It’s a shadow shape.
That’s its own characteristic.
That’s a strong effect right there.
Let me clean that up just a little bit.
I’ll even soften the edge just a little bit to make it transition and feel a little
more at forms.
We go from light into shadow.
There is high contrast.
Now, in here, we’re also going to get a high contrast.
I’m going to go ahead and put this in here.
In this we might also have a real strong contrasting shadow shape and contact shadow.
And in our overall dark image, our low major key, we
have a high minor key.
Again, high contrast here.
I’m going to put a soft edge onto here and go into the darkness here.
Just clean this up just a little bit.
Make this really dark in here.
Now, as I work with this just a little bit.
I want to make sure that I kind of hang on to a few little edges because I think that’s
going to be important.
Let me get this little darkness out of here as we’re looking at this.
There we go.
This can go into a darkness here.
I’m making sure that I get my highest contrast in here against the light.
We have the dark against the light there.
That remains pretty clear.
Now, I’m going to go down to my low contrast, and my low contrast I might
have this just very subtle.
I might even want to just diminish this just a little bit.
If I want to hang onto the edge up here just a little bit.
Maybe I just have a little bit of subtle value change here.
Just to pick up the form and make that little ball stand out against the background.
I’m still keeping the overall image for the major key very light and low contrast,
meaning low minor key.
Now, low contrast in here might mean that I’m going a little darker but close in value.
Just a little bit lighter than the background.
Again, I’ll just do a little bit of value adjustment here just to hang onto that leading
edge so that we can define it.
I don’t want to darken the overall scheme too much.
Pick up a little bit of that back out again so it gets a little more even.
There we are.
There we go.
Okay, medium contrast.
Or, excuse me, low contrast.
Then we’re going to go to low contrast here in the low major key and a low minor key.
Okay, so we get this dark, dark shadow shape, and very low contrast in here.
And I hope this kind of clears it up.
I know over here in this demonstration it’s kind of confusing where you say a low minor
key and a low minor key.
In this situation, we look at it and think, oh well, that must be high, but that’s your
high major key, not your high minor key.
Your minor key is your range of contrast.
It’s easier to see in these diagrams, so that’s why these become important.
We have low minor key, low contrast, and then high contrast in overall light, medium, and
dark major key.
Now I’m going to go to medium contrast so I’m going to go in the middle of these two.
I’m going to darken this up a little bit.
I’m working one against the other, and that’s important.
Don’t feel you have to make one perfect and the other one exactly and then exactly
and then exactly.
You can go back and forth like I’m doing here.
It’s overall high contrast, medium contrast, low contrast.
Maybe I want to pick up a little less contrast by diminishing that a little bit.
Maybe I’m going to, in this medium contrast, maybe I’m just going to get a little bit
of tone to play off of that.
I can get a little bit on this too.
Just enough to get that leading edge read.
If we’re saying it’s overall light, I want to make sure the proportion of my image
is mostly light.
That’s in here.
And then medium.
If we go to the medium we’re going to look at low contrast, medium contrast,
and then high contrast.
Again, I’ll push this a little bit stronger, so I have a little more latitude
in my medium one here.
I’m going to go right in the middle of those.
I’ll get this medium value kind of working a little bit like the other one.
And we’re looking at our medium contrast in here, of this shadow, and this sphere,
the shadow on this sphere.
Okay, so now let me get this reading like a sphere—I’m getting the charcoal down
into the tooth of the paper.
There is a lot more medium value or medium contrast.
Then our highest contrast up here.
I can make this feel like it’s just a lighter sphere in general, and that would increase
that as well.
Now let’s review these.
Let’s take a look.
In the top images here, what I did is I just used kind of a graphic symbol to show the
contrast within the major keys.
Down here I used shapes that might reflect a sphere and the effect of light.
Applying this same idea of this major key and minor key and breaking it down, you can
see that all nine of these create a little bit different mood.
It’s more obvious down in here.
I’ll describe some of those.
In the middle here we have a tendency to have something, something like this is a little
bit kind of melancholy.
This as opposed to this or maybe this in here start to feel a little bit more dreamlike
This becomes very moody, very dark and moody.
Whereas this can kind of feel kind of threatening.
It’s overall dark but there is a high contrast, almost like a spotlight
or a flashlight in the dark.
And so this kind of an arrangement with a low major key and a high minor key might give
you a dark and more dramatic or scary threatening kind of a feeling as opposed to this one over
here, where it’s mostly light and yet there is a good amount of contrast in here.
I can do this.
Since I’ve got a good amount of contrast on the shadow here, even if I increase the
major key just a little bit more—that means increase the proportion of light value—if
I make this sphere feel like it’s a little bit lighter overall, something like that.
Out of all of these, this one seems to have a mood that is a little bit brighter and lightheaded.
As we go down here it starts to become a little bit more dreamlike, hazy and dreamlike.
This is also kind of hazy.
This is stronger contrast, but again, it starts to get a little murky and then scary over here.
We can start to create these different moods or the mood of our image can be determined
by the combination or the interaction of the major and minor keys.
This is how we would break down the arrangement of values initially in our images by major
and minor key, major being the greater proportion, or identifying the greater proportion as overall
dark, overall light, and your minor key, in terms of range of contrast within the image.
High minor key, high contrast.
Low minor key, low contrast.
High minor key, great contrast.
Low minor key, low contrast.
As it plays out in our illusionary world of spheres and solid objects, we end up feeling
a mood that this translates, and it comes directly from these two relationships.
Bill is going to show us how to arrange some simple objects and how you can combine them
and arrange them to make an interesting picture for you to draw and study.
Let’s get started.
What I’m going to mention in this lesson is still life and how you select your items
for a still life.
You can use any household objects that you wish, but there is an idea that the selection
of objects that you pick is going to help you actually be successful with your still
life or not.
I want to walk you through a few different things that you might consider when you’re
selecting items to draw.
You’re drawing begins not when you pick up the pencil, it begins with your choices.
It begins with the choices of the items you put together.
I’m going to start with some simple forms.
We’ll look at the values and the way the values work together.
Then we’ll go and look at materials and more complex shapes.
As you can see, I’ve grabbed three different items.
I’ve got a cone, a cube, and a sphere.
They’re all the same value.
They’re on an overall gray background.
These are the simplest things that I would put together.
Just these simple forms.
As you can see, the surface, the values of these surfaces are going to change depending
on where I place them and where they’re getting caught in light.
There are a few things when I want you to consider when you’re selecting your items.
The first thing is shape.
You want to make sure that you’re selecting three objects at least, but three objects
that have a variety of shapes.
Tall, small, wide, but three different shapes.
That’s why I use these simple forms first.
Just to identify, we have a cone, which is a simple shape; a cube, which is a simple
shape; and a sphere as a simple shape.
They’re all very, very different.
Shape is one of your issues.
You want to make sure that your objects have different shape.
The next thing is size.
You want to make sure there is something large, medium, and small.
Okay, with these three objects, what I’m looking at, they’re all kind of cubes.
They’re all kind of rectangular or have a cube-type shape, but what I’ve established
here is size, size being small, medium, and large.
He next thing I want to think about or I want you to think about is value.
I have something dark.
I have something light, and I have something of a mid-value.
I also have three different textures.
I have something that is kind of fuzzy and matte.
It absorbs the light.
Something that is semi-reflective, and something that absorbs some of the light as well.
It has some reflective edges that you might see some highlights on because there was a
little metal trim on there.
So there is a little variety on this object.
Again, these being three different values—though they are similar in shape, they are three
different values and three different textures.
Those are the other elements that I want you to consider, your textures and your values.
So, this is a situation that you might want to avoid in the beginning.
This is a case where the background is light.
The ground plane is light, and the objects are light, all the same value.
You can see that when everything is all the same local value, you really, really rely
on the light and the effect of light to determine the shapes up here.
You can determine form.
Again, when all of the values or local values are all the same value, it makes it more difficult
to actually depict what’s going on up here.
That’s what I’m suggesting to make sure that you have something light, something medium,
something dark in your initial selection.
I’ll show you this with a different ground plane, and you can see how that looks.
Now we have a situation where you can see it clearly, the silhouetted shape on the ground,
but they might disappear against the background.
That’s what you want to also be considering when you put these objects
together or selecting your objects.
Now I have set up a situation where I have something light, which are the three objects,
something medium which is the background, and something dark, which is the ground plane.
In this situation, you have three different distinct values, but as you can see, the objects
being all the same value, they tend to merge together,
except for the way the light falls across them.
If one is really shadowing over another one—I’m making the shadow here.
The shadow on the triangle right here, or the cone, the shadow on the cone is going
to be much darker in its value.
You see the shape on the side, the top and sides of the cube here is going to have a
little darker in value in this lighting condition.
Then you’re going to see a little gradation in here.
But mostly, when you squint at this there is so much fill or ambient light in this situation,
that the greater distinction of values is between the light of these objects, the medium
of the background, and the black of this.
So, we have to think of a couple of different things.
One, what are the values of our objects?
What are the values of the background and ground that we’re working with?
So, we want to consider that.
As you’re—I’m going to repeat this—as you’re selecting your objects, you want
to look at where you’re putting them and make sure that your environment, your painting
or drawing environment is going to represent something light, medium, and dark.
And your objects are going to be varying in shape and texture.
As you start getting farther and farther into handling your surfaces and rendering different
surfaces and reflections and so on, you know, a little bit farther down the road, you’re
going to want to already be set up with different objects that have different values and different
textures and just start getting used to selecting those things so that when you’re building
up your skills and your observation skills besides your drawing disciplines, you’re
going to end up being able to just move right into capturing these different textures.
Use it as a focus of your work at a certain point.
Right now, I want to make sure that your values and shapes and textures are different so that
you have variety in your image.
That’s a real key.
Most of your drawing and painting is really about your observation skills.
There is a lot of imagination that goes into it as well.
But, in the beginning, as you start, you want to be able to just be able to draw and depict
and understand what you see first.
So, this is just kind of a clear setup for how you could go about setting things up.
I’m going to start setting up a couple of things with a variety of values, shapes, and sizes.
With just a simple shop light—if you have a little cone light like this or if it’s
just a shop light, you want to make sure you’re not using just a regular light bulb because
it’ll glare in your eyes as well.
But, having something like this will keep that light out of your eyes
as you’re illuminating something else.
If you just get a shop light or a little spotlight, something you can illuminate your still life
with in a directional way, you can get a little bit more dramatic lighting, but you can also
play up the effect of chiaroscuro.
You’re seeing a light side and a shadow side of each object.
Let’s see what that looks like.
When we dim the houselights and reinforce our form with our little additive light over here.
Okay, so with this little shop light you can see that in our still life here, it takes
these three objects that are all the same value, and with a strong directional light
we can create new shapes in here.
We’re getting a little bit of form because what we’re seeing is we’re seeing a very
dark side over here.
We’re seeing the cone in shadow is a little bit lighter than the cube in shadow.
That’s basically between the direction, distance, and angle in any ambient filling
into this, and you can see this dark is occluding any light that might be in here.
The sphere, we see the volume of the sphere with this strong directional light much more
clearly than we do with an ambient fully lit room.
This would be a case where this lighting setup creates more dramatic design of your image
because it’s really defining or breaking these simple volumes down into two areas,
the area of light and the area of shadow.
Now, there are characteristics to the properties of light and shadow, which we’ll get into.
I just want you to know that as you set things up, you’re going to want to look at not
only the size, the shape, the value and textures of the objects, but you also want to consider
your lighting condition.
If you’re going to do it a little more flat and you have strong dramatic values in your
objects then you might want a little more ambient flat light.
You’re going to see that the shadows don’t go as dark as these, but then you might want
some strong dramatic shadows in your objects, and then it would be chiaroscuro dominant,
and you would use this strong directional light to group some of your shadow shapes together.
Let’s look at some objects that have some different local values and see how they react
in both flat light and this directional light.
As you can see, what I did here is I gathered three different objects.
Something that is overall light.
This has a light, but it’s overall dark here.
And something of a mid-value.
You see the mid-value here kind of blends into the background a little bit.
I’ll change up the background.
I want you to notice that these are three very different textures and different values.
It becomes important because now you can start looking at the arrangement of your light and
your dark patterns in this kind of ambient light situation, where you do get a little
bit of shadowing, but it’s really these local values are really more dominant.
That’s what we call notan dominant.
Notan is the effect of light versus dark.
It’s not light versus shadow; it’s light versus dark.
Meaning this is a light value and this is a dark value.
This is a medium value and how they silhouette against one another is the strongest contrast.
When we dim the house lights and put our directional light on, you’re going to see it’s going
to become more chiaroscuro dominant, where your light and shadow is the inverse or the
other side of the coin from notan.
That light versus shadow, that is going to become your design element.
You want to look at bracketing your values in that way.
Now I have the same setup or the same objects against a lighter background.
And so you can see that we get a little bit of contrast between this medium value and
this medium light background.
I brought the medium-dark background down on the ground.
All of the items will silhouette against each other and read clearly in this type of lighting.
Again, you really want to make sure that you’re grabbing some elements or still life components
that are light, medium, and dark.
Alright, now with the house lights down, you can see that I’ve rearranged the items,
but they’re the same items.
You can see that the shadows are connecting some of these shapes together now.
For instance, the shadow on this light flower,
the shadow on the table is getting as dark
as the dark bottle, so it starts to merge and
creates kind of a grouping of values in there.
You can see that the shadow on the background here is accentuating
the lightness of the flower here.
It gets close to the value of the frame itself back here.
So, I want you to look at the distinction between these value groups.
What I also did, too—see I could turn this bottle over here, and we’re going to see
the bottle is mostly just dark except for the highlights that sit on it.
Okay, those will stand out.
But, the label itself is, we have dark, very light, dark, and then a medium dark up here,
very close in value to this.
You’re going to see that the form on this cylinder of the bottle, it goes from light
over to shadow over on this side.
I can create a darker shape by bringing the edge of the label in.
Now, all of a sudden, I have distinction between it goes from the light to the dark of the
bottle, and it accentuates this shadow on the frame being a little bit lighter than this.
It’s still in the same shadow group, but we get a little distinction of value.
I’ll turn that back just to show you again.
You can see how now it’s a little bit lighter than the shadow on the frame.
And now it’s a little bit darker.
This is how we’re going to be thinking in terms of setting up the arrangements like this.
Now I’ve selected three objects.
They are different sizes, different shape, but they’re close in value.
There is something light, a little bit darker, and a little bit darker.
I’ve got like a medium value and a light medium value back here.
This kind of a setup would be more of a medium to a higher major key.
That means it’s a low contrast situation.
It’s not as extremely contrast-y in this situation.
If I included something that is much darker, a real dark object, you’re going to see
that the contrast here compared to everything else is going to give us the darkest little
accent in there.
So, having something really dark in your scheme, you can see it does give you a broad range
of values, but if I take this out, here is a better example of these values being closer
as kind of the ambient fill in this room kind of flattens everything out.
You can see that some of these forms are a little bit harder to depict.
This is what I want you to really think about.
When you assemble things, if you don’t have much contrast of value or shape, you’re
going to run the possibility of making a composition or a design that’s going to be a little
more difficult for you to do, and it might be a little bit more value.
Okay, just because the values are so close, one thing runs into the other.
Until you really, really control your values really discreetly, I would kind of avoid things
being so similar.
You really want to push a little bit more contrast.
Here would be adding some contrast to the situation.
Take this out and we just add this in there.
You can see I’ve got a light and a stronger dark in this situation.
Let’s take a look at this situation under our direct light.
Okay, now with our strong directional light you’re going to see that the shadows here
all kind of lock together from the area of the shadow of the frame on the background
merging into the dark of the bottle.
The frame on the ground in shadow, and then the dark side of the basket, the shadow on
the ground of the basket, and then the shadow on the wall of the backdrop of the frame.
You can see in this situation we have stronger contrast within the image in our local values
with that dark bottle and white label, and the others with the stronger light source.
Values that are similar will actually—you’ll gain some distinction.
Take a look at the basket here.
Look at the lightness of this to the darkness of this side.
With this one directional light you’re going to be able to divide that basket up and see
it in more dimensionally.
A lot of people view this as being much more dramatic in its lighting.
The drama of the still life you’re setting up—
you know, you should determine that ahead of time.
What kind of level of drama or what do you want to say in your image?
That’s going to help you pick things.
It’s just getting images that you like and exploring different light conditions, that’s
really the best thing for our experiment right now.
Again, I’ll repeat it again.
Getting something light, medium, and dark, different shapes, and different textures and
putting them together and lighting them both with an ambient light
and with a strong directional light.
Those are the types of things you should look for in setting up your still life.
Okay, in this setup, again, I grabbed something that’s overall light, medium, and then light
with some medium, and then medium here.
Our table is dark.
So, we have the dark of the table here as these things merge into here.
I also want to make sure that you consider how things silhouette against one another.
In this case, we have this dark over the light and light over the dark.
Look for these interactions.
When you arrange your elements, make sure that you have a nice interaction or a play,
light over dark, dark over light so you can maintain the edges and silhouettes.
Some things will blend like some of the lights here will blend into the hat.
If I pull this over slightly, you know, over in here—for instance, I might be able to
move something in here like this.
We get a little medium over here and light into light.
Now, with something like this as well, some of this will merge with that.
Those passages that you’re going to create when they’re the same value, elements or
values moving from one object to the next at the same value.
That’s going to create passages, and it’s going to allow your eye to move in and through
Something else to consider when you put a still life together.
I know that this is a lot of information about textures and how things start to work.
But, try to just stay focused.
Just keep real simple items.
Again, look for things that are different size, different value.
Your backdrop and arrangement there.
That has to play into it too.
Consider that and look for the shapes and textures.
The textures, we don’t have anything super shiny up here or anything.
We could include something like that.
Again, it comes down to the range, whether you have a narrow range of values, a broad
range of values, narrow ranges of textures, and a broad range of textures.
Something very glossy in here would have strong highlights, be very dark and have strong highlights.
But, we do get little rim accents and little highlights on some of the areas in this.
Our local values in this ambient light situation are a good example of variation.
Let’s take a look at it now under our strong directional light.
Here we have a situation with the strong directional light.
You’re going to see the shadows on the hat over here.
It’s going to create shapes over there.
Again, the strong directional light is going to give a little bit of variation.
It’s going to break up the objects into these various groups.
You’re going to see a shadow down here from the flowers.
There is an overlap.
You can see it clearly now that when you have these light flowers in light they’re going
to be a little bit lighter than the hat.
Then when they’re in shadow they’re going to go slightly darker than that brim on the hat.
So, these little variations are going to look different depending on where you place this light.
So, I’m going to move the light and you can see that it’ll rearrange the design
of these shapes.
It’s something you want to be aware of.
So, if I move the light way over here and bring it something like this.
Let’s just say that I bring it up a little bit higher here.
If I do that, then we’ve created a different kind of lighting scheme.
Let me see if I can move that.
There we go.
I’ll move it over here.
I actually tak the shadow of the top part of the hat and put it behind the flowers.
You see how the flowers stand out again now?
I can move that around.
The back of that hat gets a real highlight.
I’ll move it around to the other side now.
This way we can take the top of the boot and make the shadow from the top of that boot
blend right in, or break into the shape of the hat.
If we want to keep the brim of that hat, I want to move this light over here, and we
can keep that shape.
There are some shapes you can control when you have a strong directional light.
It’s really more about those shadow shapes that you’re moving around.
You can see as I move this around it creates a different look for the design.
We can feature different areas, or we can put things silhouetting against other areas.
Silhouetting shape against shape in light versus shape in shadow, and so on.
and we’ve seen Chris work with form and finding form in household objects.
Let’s go ahead and do a bunch of thumbnails from some of those
household objects and little still lifes.
Then we’ll work towards doing a bigger drawing and using some of those great photos that
Bill set up for us.
Alright, guys, so we’re going to get into the fun experiment of thumbnails.
Probably one of the most fun ways to do this is on Post-It notes.
They’re all ready to go.
For starters, we want to keep things simple.
We want to learn to see the light and dark, and so I’m going to use a dark value marker,
which is going to eliminate a lot of variables.
When we look at the still life reference, you going to see the longer you look, the
more information you start to see.
You start to see different lights and darks on the whole value scale.
We’re only going to see light and dark.
So where we see things that might look like a gray area, literally, we’re going to pick
if it’s going to be dark or light.
That’s up to you.
With these we don’t want to overthink it.
This is experiments.
This is the slab.
This is the mad science.
This is where we’re going to see how many different ideas we can come up with.
Then we’ll decide what we like the best.
Let’s go ahead and take a Post-It, slap it down there.
Let’s just say we look at the still life, and we want the mug to be the major object.
So, maybe we’re going to make one where we’ve got a really big mug.
Let’s make the mug really big.
Something like that.
We know it’s got its handle.
Got a little hammer situation.
Maybe want the hammer to shoot off the edge.
If it’s about the mug we’re going to zoom in.
We might not see the other objects quite as well.
Alright, so something like that.
Hammer is off the edge.
Let’s just see what we think.
Alright, we’ve got one.
I don’t know if it’s about the mug, though.
There are still too many distracting things going on there.
Maybe if we really wanted the mug we’re going to flip it and make this really big here.
Maybe it’s going to actually engage and pop off the side, and then when this hammer
exits the thing, let’s just see what happens.
Something like that.
Maybe we want to see what happens if we zoom way out and just put the whole thing in there
just like it is.
Kind of find that horizon line, which would put—or the edge of the table, excuse me,
the edge of the ground.
We make it a little smaller.
We’ve got this hammer coming as a strong diagonal.
This little guy.
Pull a shadow off of that, a shadow off of that.
Then we have an overlap here.
So that might more accurately represent the whole thing.
So this shows a complete picture, although we might find as we keep going, this might
not be the most exciting.
Bill is going to talk to later about this, but you’ll realize the most important thing
is to know what you want to say before you start anything.
It’s really going to dictate all your choices, so being really clear about what’s most
important before you even start.
If we wanted to show kind of the context of everything and it’s sort of subtle and relaxed;
it’s kind of nice.
You know, maybe we do want something like this.
But, if want to, you know, make it a little more interesting, we might choose to crop
down and show less.
We might shift the point of view.
If this is sort of in the middle, and this is sort of higher in the page, there are all
these things you can play with, but just keep going.
The important thing is to keep going.
So maybe we really just like this hammer.
And it’s got a cool shape.
I’m using this side of the marker because I don’t want to get too fussy right now.
This isn’t the time to render and be perfect.
Maybe there is just a little bit of this.
We could even leave it like that, but if we’re going to show you, let’s just see what happens.
We’ve got that shadow kind of going back like that.
Try to stay on the edge here.
One of my teachers used to say when you’re doing thumbnails, don’t use your sharpened
Use a baseball bat, something with a dull edge.
Okay, so we’ve got one that is kind of zoomed in on the hammer.
Let’s see what else we could do.
Let’s try—what happens if we leave a lot of space at the top?
Let’s look at putting the whole thing—let’s just see how it looks.
We put the whole thing—we just move it toward the bottom.
We’re doing experiments.
This is supposed to be fun.
And we’ve got this little guy.
Shadow going back.
This kind of overlaps off, something like that.
This has a different look even though the objects are actually the same.
I’ll include it here.
This is a totally different look than this guy.
What else have we not tried yet?
We could also try the same thing.
Let me move this for a second.
We could do something like this, but move it to the top.
We’ve got to do it.
We’ve got to see what’s going to happen.
So, say we want a lot of tablecloth.
What’s that going to do to us?
How’s that going to make us feel?
Hammer is just going to come across.
It’s going to come a little lower here.
Let’s do that.
I kind of made that too big.
The scale is a little shot.
Alright, and then we’ve got this little guy.
Let’s find the back of the table.
Now, this is impossible right?
This table will be coming so far forward we find we need to resolve the corner of the table.
We might have to say, okay, maybe the corner of the table is here and maybe we decide this
folds in the fabric.
Something like that.
Alright, so one example of some just quick thumbnails, let’s switch the reference.
Okay, so looking at second reference.
Same three objects.
Again, just to get an idea of all the different ways you can push it.
We’ll try one where it’s pretty standard.
There is maybe the back of that table is about the lower third.
Try not to overthink it.
We just want to see how this is going to end up.
It kind of comes out a little bit.
Something like that.
We’re seeing just light and dark right now.
That shadow, you might say, well, that’s kind of gray.
I’m just going to make it dark.
You can try it, and you should.
Do some where you think, you know, I’m going to try somewhere to push the shadows in the
light, and somewhere to push the shadows in the dark or the grays.
It doesn’t even—we’re not even talking about shadow.
It could be a dark handle.
Maybe the handle is in light and it just happens to be the local color of it.
The point is just to squint, just to squint and see two values only.
You only get this one marker.
And I’ve got this so close to the edge.
Let’s see how that makes us feel here.
This is interesting to note.
Where I stopped it just to the edge versus just running something off, this kind of stuff
can add tension.
You may or may not want that, but it’s important to observe how it makes you feel when you
play with it.
Alright, let’s do one—let’s move it all the way over so this—let’s just see
what happens if we get that paint tube in there.
Let’s draw that shadow.
We’re going to call that dark for now, and one thing we can play with is that background
is actually also dark.
If we put this little mug in there, we’ll just make this overlap a little bit.
Take some liberties just to see what’ll happen here.
You can lose that handle.
We could almost pick it back up if there was a little bit of light on there.
We could pick up a little bit of light inside the—there we go.
And maybe we’re just going to push this into the dark to see what’s going to happen.
You really don’t know until you just do it.
You just do it and see what you think.
Let’s finish that off.
Let’s bring that down.
Let’s just bring this down a little lower because I don’t want that tangent.
I want there to be a little bit, where it jets down below that line.
Okay, so maybe that’s one.
It’d be interesting to see what happens if we put the hammer in it, but I kind of
like it like that.
Just leave it.
Alright, next, let’s try one where the hammer is off the lower plane here.
It’s off the picture plane.
So, if it’s at an angle—I’ll just start it.
So, it’s going off the page here out of the view.
And it’s a little shape like that.
Then we’ve got this guy.
Last time we tried it where I chose to put that gray area on the mug into the dark.
That’s the distinction we’ve got to make.
We’re just talking about light and dark.
So, maybe now I’ll let that gray be in the light family, and then we’ll see what happens.
The back plane of that almost tangent.
Alright, let’s bring this guy across here.
Say we want to see what happens if that’s all in dark behind.
I’ll go ahead and let that light show through, and we’ll let that show through.
And let’s see, yeah, let’s go ahead and put that in.
This little guy.
And if we’re going to let that guy be all light, let’s try it.
Yeah, let’s just see what we think.
We step back for a second.
This is kind of interesting.
This has a much cooler graphic feel to me with these shadow shapes
included into that dark family.
Something you also want to consider.
As we’re starting to add these values more completely in these thumbnails, when you’re
dividing a picture into light and dark, you want to think about how much of it you’re
going to put in light, and how much of it you’re going to put in dark.
The answer to the question is always, what do you want to say?
How does that help or hinder your statement?
There are infinite statements to make.
What is your statement?
What is your experiment?
This is one experiment.
So, something you might want to take note of is, is it mostly in light?
Is it mostly dark?
Let’s do another one here.
Let’s have the paint tube off the page.
Let’s see what happens.
We’ll just bring this down.
I’m going to go ahead and put that gray shape in with the dark family this time.
What happens if we lighten that handle?
We’re going real quick.
We’re not going to be too fussy with the drawing here.
We want to see the relationships, the bigger picture.
Put a hammer going this way.
And maybe this part of the hammer this time I’ll let it be light, a little bit of light
We’ll let that dark shape just run off the page.
And now let’s go ahead and fill this in.
This is in interesting because without planning it, this is ending up kind of
cutting across that 50% line.
The back of the table is sort of cutting the picture plane in half.
Again, with this we’re not looking for right and wrong,
we’re looking for what do we want to say.
So, that’s interesting.
Let’s try that, but let’s see what happens if we move this off center more, off that 50% mark.
Okay, so let’s say we want it to be—let’s do the same thing but we’ll just move it
up like that.
Let’s keep our objects the same for a second.
Alright, we’ve got that guy.
We’re going to leave this the same.
I think I might be in trouble.
I filled the negative shape in, but didn’t account for the fact that we’re moving something.
Let’s just take a quick hammer across the thing.
We’ll run that off.
We want to see what would happen if we move this up.
So, I blew it.
This should be light right here.
This will bleed into dark.
Okay, so that’s interesting.
Okay, so that changes things.
I’m curious what’s going to happen if I add this shadow to the dark family.
I like that better.
Alright, starting to look kind of cooler.
And it just depends. It's totally up to you.
I think the most important thing is to do a bunch of experiments and get really excited
about what you want to do.
Alright, let’s do one more.
You know what, we haven’t done any vertical.
I’m going to flip a Post-It.
This is probably either going to be really small if we put this whole thing into a vertical
format, or we’re going to lose something off the edge.
Let’s say if we get the paint tube in here, we’re going to lose some of the hammer.
Let’s just try it in vertical.
Get this guy going around.
Let’s see, where do we want—maybe we’ll move—let’s see how funny this looks if
we move it up there.
Alright, we’ll leave a little shape for light right there to hit the handle.
Alright, you may notice in the reference image that these two objects aren’t touching.
Let’s see how that feels.
We know we’re going to lose the hammer here.
It’s going to just be this vertical—not really vertical—angled element going of the page.
I moved up this line just to play with it.
So you may have noticed the goal here isn’t to make a perfect copy, but to play with the
elements that we have.
You can make changes.
That’s what is so great about art.
There is what is going on, and it’s how it inspires you.
There is all the space where we get to make those choices, that filter where it comes through.
That's kind of where the magic happens.
Alright, so know we’ve got a lot of empty space down here.
This is running off the page.
I don’t know.
Does it drive you nuts that these two things aren’t touching?
Sometimes it can kind of create a little bit of tension.
You know, you might want to actually try some where you slide some into an overlap situation.
Just to show you, not to do a whole other thing.
You know, if these two things are so close to touching, you might say, well, paint tube
is the story I want to tell.
This is about this tube of paint.
I want to make that more dominant than that mug.
One way of doing that is to slide it over.
It might even really be there.
No one is going to say where is your reference.
In the end they’re going to look at the image you created and the story it tells.
This is going to exist independently of whatever is happening in life.
If this isn’t quite the relationship you want, scoot it over.
Okay, you guys, we used up all those Post-Its, and we’re going to get some more out.
This isn’t hazing.
We’re not messing with you.
This is a thing.
This is the start of invention.
This is the start of thinking pictorially and the creative process.
As you move on and start getting into other areas of art, you'll find yourself here.
Remember, this is fun.
This is experiment.
This is adventure.
This is invention.
We’ll figure it out at the end what our favorite design is.
For now, see if you can push yourself and stretch yourself and come up with some creative
ways to look at things.
So, I’ve changed the reference,
and we’re going to do more thumbnails using our handy Post-Its.
We’re moving now from two values to three.
So the light of the Post-It is going to be our lightest value.
Then I’ve got a medium, and I’ve got a dark.
This is to keep things simple so I can’t carried away.
I can’t start noodling or rendering, that I look simply.
Alright, so when I look at the reference, we have decisions to make again in terms of
where we want to push things and where we want to put them.
Let’s go ahead and just kind of get going without thinking too, too much.
Let’s start one that looks fairly similar and fairly true to the reference.
That paint tube is looking fairly light.
The back of the table looks like it’s hitting about 50%.
Maybe I’ll just move it slightly higher just to see.
Maybe we’ll put it somewhere in here.
Again, we’re just going to start and see what we think.
If you’re doing this at home, if you can start with a really specific idea, that’s
great, and kind of do things to support that.
But, for now, even just kind of playing with it is going to be great here.
I’m going to say, I’m going to put this into the middle value.
There is a little bit of a middle value here.
We’re just being pretty true, pretty literal.
Maybe I’ll keep this dark for now.
Yeah, I’m getting too noodly.
Let’s keep it simple.
This is going to connect up here.
We see more of the opening.
A little bit of handle and something like that.
If this is a situation—gosh it’s so close to the edge.
Let’s see how we like it.
Let’s do, I want to just push this all into the dark value range, and the sky.
If I squint, I’m just going to make that dark too and try not to get too caught up.
It can get so tempting to start getting particular.
This isn’t the time to get particular.
Try to use the fat edge of your implement if you can.
Let’s push that into the mid, and we’ll let that be a highlight.
If I look at the tabletop, you know what, that could be light.
I’m looking at this and I’m kind of bored.
I could either push this middle.
You know, let’s just put this dark in the back.
Let’s see what we think.
So, trying to go fairly quickly.
I’m not getting too precious here.
Not the time for rendering.
The time for playing with relationships.
Alright, that’s kind of cool.
Let’s stop there with that guy.
That’s sort of good.
Everything in there fit on the page.
We got some things getting close to the edge.
Maybe we try one where we let those things run off the sides.
Let’s zoom in on some things here.
I kind of like the head of that hammer.
If we make it about the head of the hammer, and we want to see that we could make it bigger
and run off and then have some stuff.
Let’s just try it.
It’s like snacks.
Sometimes you just got to taste it.
If you can drink wine, it’s kind of like that.
This is going to run off.
I want to make a decision about the head here.
I’ll make that all dark.
And then this part, let’s see if we want to make a little shadow under there.
So, it goes something like that.
This looks pretty dark.
Another thing I’ve heard before is if you don’t want to see it, don’t light it.
That’s something to keep in mind, too.
If we decide we want to show off this, we might want to shave our light for just that
Let’s see, we’ve got the mug.
Where would the mug go?
Technically the mug would go here-ish.
Let’s just drop it and maybe we let that kind of go off the page.
Just running experiments.
Okay, what do you think?
We could put that dark—you know what?
Let’s try it.
It’s going to be a lot of dark, but it might be cool.
What if we put all this into dark?
What if we take our middle—now, we want to be careful if we leave that light on the
I wonder if it’s going to fight for attention.
We want it to be about this.
Maybe we even want to lose some of that light.
We can leave it in.
Maybe it’s off enough to the side that it’s not distracting.
That’s something you kind of want to be thinking about.
Maybe this corner is too distracting.
What if we make that middle so it kind of blends out.
I kind of like that better.
Maybe we’ll do the same thing right there.
And it’s interesting.
Just watch what happens to your eye.
Watch how it changes as you make those decisions.
Alright, before we get too carried away, next Post-It.
Should we try vertical?
Okay, so if we want to show off the paint tube, maybe we can try one where we’ve got
the paint tube in here, and we kind of lose the hammer off the side.
Let’s see if that takes our eye off the page, or if it helps bring us back in.
If I make the paint tube here, you know, something we can think about, if we want this to be
about the paint tube, I wonder if we move the hammer a little bit if it would kind of
point us back to it.
Let’s get this in and kind of look at it.
We’ll get this guy, and we really want this to come over the top so it’s overlapping.
You know, this is kind of a tangent—yeah, that’s okay.
Where can we put the hammer that’s not going to take us off, that might point us back?
What if we have the hammer overlap—let’s just try it.
See what happens to our eye.
Okay, we’ll maybe bring this down and have that so it links up.
I know it doesn’t actually, so let’s just see what happens.
Let’s get our mid-value.
Alright, now we’re dangerous.
We want this to be about the paint.
Let’s get rid of some of that.
Keep it about the paint.
What happens if we make all this middle?
Maybe we just put that all in shadow and see what happens.
It might have been good to leave a little bit of that.
That wasn’t too distracting.
Alright, so that’s one way to do it.
Okay, what’s next?
Alright, let’s try leaving a big space at one side.
Let’s just take these shapes.
Let’s run the paint off the top.
Just make this real simple.
Let’s make him stick out a little past that just to see.
Maybe it’s better if it overlaps a little bit, have that come across.
Just to give it a little.
Alright, we’ve got that.
Let’s make that under there.
We’ll just kind of fill that in.
We’ve got a little opening here.
Let’s see if we want to flip it.
What if we leave this light?
We haven’t really tried that.
I know it’s really not, but don’t you kind of wonder what would happen?
That kind of changes things a little bit.
Maybe we should let the cup be a little more important this time.
I’m going to use the dark here.
Get a little more complex in the cup.
And boo, hammer, see you later.
That’s interesting, that’s another one.
So, you’re probably starting to realize this can go on and on and on.
And that’s why it’s so important to kind of know what you like about something and
what you want to emphasize.
It’s not bad to do a million of these, but it nice sometimes to have an intention.
You can start with plan A. It can always go plan B, plan C, plan D. You never know where
it’ll end up, but if you have a strong intention or, you know, if you’re clear, if you’re
clear on what you want to say, I feel like that is really important.
So, for now, again, we’re experimenting.
Just keep that in your back pocket.
Later you’re going to want to be doing this to some specific end.
That’s important to sit down and think about before you even start.
I think Bill is going to get more into that as well.
Let’s do another one.
We’ve got something going off the bottom.
Let’s—what if we scoot everything up to the top.
Maybe that’s a good way to look at it.
I don’t know if you guys remember the first day of school.
There was always like a bunch of questions for the teacher.
You know, if it’s like first grade.
What if there’s a fire drill and it goes on and on.
Maybe this is the place for that.
Okay, so maybe there is a little more in the foreground.
Let’s go ahead and lay in some of the darks on that guy.
Kind of square it off a little bit there.
We’ll make this get dark again.
What if we lose that all in the darkness.
What would happen?
Alright, so if we wanted to try—we’re going to lose most of it.
Let’s just see.
It could be a terrible idea, but don’t you kind of want to know what’ll it’ll look like.
What if it’s just gone?
It could be really strong with just some highlights.
Okay, all of that would be gone.
All of this.
It might have been better to have some similar directional strokes.
I’m just trying to go quick here and not get too carried away.
The kind of beauty of the Post-Its is to not get too precious.
But, now maybe we can emphasize that part sticking out right there.
That could be kind of cool.
Alright, let’s just try a little mid-value.
Kind of interesting.
What if we close all this out?
See what happens to our emphasis.
We kind of lose this cool thing and kind of come back to the hammer there.
Alright, let’s do one more.
What if we only see this part of the cap of this?
And it’s resting on something.
Look who gets to be in the middle all of a sudden.
This is a pretty clear example of dominance versus subordinance, just crop the whole thing out.
Although, if you change the light and dark pattern, you could probably still play with it.
Let’s see what happens with the mug sitting in the middle here.
I’m just going to throw in some mid-value.
What would make this stronger?
I’m going to forget about the hammer.
Maybe we want to run this off the front here.
I kind of like maybe a dark.
Would we be cool if this is going to be dark on dark, maybe we want to just leave a little
spot for a highlight on there.
Kind of let that come in from the side.
It might be cool to work with some ingredients too.
I’m trying to keep it a little bit more simple for now.
You can do anything you want.
Alright, so we’ve got that cup.
What do you guys think?
A little grey.
Let’s just close that out.
I don’t want to have to fight for attention.
So, what’s interesting is there is a shadow.
There is a dark shape here.
It’s being cast from where this touches the ground.
It’s kind of off camera.
This is a cool thing to remember.
I’m going to put it in.
It’s kind of a nice design solution.
You never know what is outside the picture plane.
You can cast any shadow you want.
It doesn’t even have to be there.
Nobody can prove you’re wrong because nobody can see what’s happening here.
Note to self.
Let’s make it gray.
Okay, this is really light.
What can we do?
What happens—that’s a lot of dark.
Let’s do it.
Kind of like that.
Let’s go ahead.
Let’s just do a little.
Alright, something like that.
So, that’s kind of fun.
Alright, let’s do another round with another reference.
We’re just going to check out the reference for a second.
Now, with this one we have some opportunities to play.
We’ve got a lot of light hitting that hammer.
If you squint and you see it, it kind of changes it a little more from the last one.
It’s got a lot of reflective properties so it looks super light.
Again, you can take it or leave it because you’re the one with the marker.
Let’s just do one to start us off here before we overthink anything.
Kind of maybe do one that’s a little more true to the reference to just get us going.
I feel like it’s important to start.
Something to get you started.
Let’s get started.
Let’s stay loose.
Let’s try to not get seduced by all those awesome little shapes.
We’re looking for the big picture here.
Alright, sorry about the sound effect.
Alright, so in reality, there is space here.
There is a space between these two guys.
This looks pretty dark.
Alright, so we’ve got overlap here.
I got a little sloppy where the back of that table plane is.
And I pushed it to the right it looks like.
We’ll see how that works.
Let’s drop that into dark.
Something like that.
You know the other cool thing is you can look for these ways to connect things together,
observing that this dark goes behind there.
That’s kind of nice how they’re all connected together.
You can recreate those if you want to connect them in another way.
As you do these, you may be starting off fairly literally before you start to change it up,
which is what I did.
I’m starting kind of literal just to get going.
But as I’m doing it, I’m going, oh well, that’s how this is, but that could be an
Maybe I want to change something later and connect them a different way.
So, just kind of taking notes as you get going can be super helpful for later, even if you
start off a literal more literal.
Alright, if I squint that actually looks pretty dark.
I might flip into my dark for now and do that.
If I wanted to, I could get a little more mid-value here.
Okay, so maybe that’s our first one.
Let’s see what we think.
It’s not too exciting.
I think we can play with that and see if we can make it more interesting.
Okay, let’s start by pushing something off an edge again.
You know, what’s funny is having this full hammer handle fit on the plane, it may actually
make it seem shorter.
Let’s stick it off and see if that changes our impression of things at all.
If you’ve got something like a tall vertical, and you want to emphasize it, pushing it off
the picture will probably affect how we view it.
This one has a little space between it.
We’ll keep that for now.
This overlaps the corner.
Just being quick.
Try not to get too caught up.
This is almost tangent to the line.
I think I’m going to bring this over just a little bit.
Do we want the paint to go off the edge too?
Yeah, we kind of have to.
It won’t probably read as paint.
I started that hammer so high.
Let’s just leave it like that for now.
Alright, I’m trying to use that broadside again so I don’t get too careful.
It’s going to be too noodly.
A little bit of light there and dark.
This is giving you guys some ideas.
Hopefully, I do a bunch of them and you think of even better ones while you’re sitting
A little bit of dark maybe in there.
I like that connection there.
Okay, so I’m a little bored.
That’s going off the edge.
I’ll do that.
What if we just do this whole thing in mid-value?
It looks like right now this gets a lot of attention.
That’s kind of cool.
Kind of shoved at the top.
I feel like it’s setting the stage for like a mouse to run past us.
Let’s push everything over this way.
Let’s do a simple shape.
Kind of like something leaving the picture plane.
Let’s play with this a little bit.
This space between here.
What happens if we overlap it?
It might look kind of busy, but let’s do it so we know.
Let’s bring that up a little higher.
I don’t know if I like that stopping shy.
Let’s go ahead and what if we make it really long?
We should probably make this one really long too.
Okay, we’ve got that in.
Let’s see, missing some dark, opportunity to kind of connect things together here.
Let’s make this, yeah, and we can kind of show that.
Ooh, but I’ve got to be careful.
You see I’m starting to get into details.
This isn’t about details.
Okay, what have we not tried?
What if we make—let’s just make this shadow.
It might be cool to see.
I don’t know, I feel like there are two business ends of the hammer now that I think
about it, this sharp, knifey part pop out.
Let’s break that up.
That’s kind of cool, kind of more emphasis there.
What would happen if we made this mid-tone?
I kind of like it.
Maybe it helps our eye find that shape.
You guys still there?
We like that knifey edge of the hammer.
What if we just zoom on it?
What would that look like?
Maybe we don’t want it leaving right at the corner.
What if it comes kind of like that?
It’s going to be somewhere in here.
It’s going to have that.
It’s going to have a strong angle.
I’m getting a little more.
I don’t want to get too caught up.
Stick mostly with the shape or silhouette here to be thumbnailing.
Now we’re going to have that same decision to make.
Do we want it to overlap?
Do we want it to be apart?
Maybe we can make it overlap but a greater distance from here.
What if we want that line coming in and then leaving like that?
Something like that.
That paint tube, I did like it overlapping a little more.
That gives us an opportunity for a light against a dark and that tangent.
If we put that line straight here—we’ll do one like that in a minute.
I’ll show you the difference.
Let’s do one where I move it over first.
Let’s cover this whole thing in mid-value here.
Let’s cover this whole thing in mid-value here.
Maybe just a little bit, something on that.
Maybe we have a little going off the page.
What if we just kind of emphasize that there?
In this case, this is our star.
These guys are supporting cast.
We’ve got a little bit of a dark coming off here.
If I want to bring attention back to this, I kind of want to lose some of that.
What if we do this this time?
Alright, before I get too carried away rendering, we’ve got that.
If we want this light against dark, what if we actually make this like a band or something
here just to get it to pop a little more.
Play with it.
That’s the only way to know.
Let’s do one where we end up with the tangency just to see how that changes things.
With this guy, maybe we’ll put it up next door.
With this guy we kind of wanted that overlap to happen.
I’m just going to bring a little more attention to it so that this comes in front of that.
In the reference, though, do you guys see how that almost lines up.
It’s almost more like this.
I’m going to knock stuff down.
So here, if this comes right in line, just notice the difference.
Overlap versus like lining up.
This is kind of weird.
I feel like it changes the feelings of things.
Tangents are one of those things to keep an eye out for.
There may be instances where you do it on purpose, but a lot of times, you’ll be relocating
whole trees and buildings just to avoid them.
We’ll go ahead, just to show how this kind of looks weird.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Just be aware and make a decision.
But, yeah, this almost feels like an accident.
Okay, so let’s do one that we didn’t do on purpose to look like an accident.
Alright, so we’ve tried—let’s see, this guy is kind of pushed up.
This guy is kind of pushed over.
What else can we do?
We zoomed in a little on the hammer.
What if we invert—all of these seem to have a dark background.
That’s true to the reference.
We should probably flip it just to see what happens.
Let’s try one of those.
Let’s do this guy coming down.
We’ll go ahead and put the plane there.
We’ve moved this to overlap.
What if we move it the other direction so that it doesn’t overlap so that our hammer
blade part just misses it.
Okay, something like that instead.
Alright, so now we want to see what’ll happen if we have a light background.
We could connect it with the shadow, but we kind of see what it’ll happen if there is
space, so let’s not.
Let’s purposely leave a little bit of space here.
Okay, so that’s going to be dark.
This is going to be light.
Let’s make this foreground our mid-value.
Trying to go quick using that side of the marker.
These markers are cool.
They’ve got a bunch of different ways you can use them.
Leave that light.
So now we have this light.
Maybe we want this dark.
We could even do a dark and a mid.
I should have let that go off.
Let’s do it like it kind of comes down here.
Let that go off like that.
Maybe just a touch of dark.
We’ve got light here.
Let’s do a mid against that, coming off of this.
This light, you know, light on light.
That’s not as impressive as a little light against dark or light against dark, but we’ll
leave it like that just to have a different option.
What is push this and then maybe like another, maybe we can include a little showing that
So just drawing a little indication to show volume here kind of wrapping through that
Alright, just take a quick look at it.
Maybe we want to lose that light there.
Yeah, so this is a different, maybe it’s kind of a higher key.
But it’s a lighter, there is more light than dark on this one.
It has a totally different look.
Yeah, it’s kind of more chill sitting on your counter during the day.
Some of these are more dramatic if you look where we’ve used more dark.
So, a lot of different ways you could do it.
We’re moving up in the world to something a little more complex.
It’s going to be just as important or even more important to think simply.
For that reason, let’s stick to doing thumbnails with these markers that are going to rule
out a lot of spectrum of value for us and limit us to the same two values
plus the light of the paper.
We’ll have three value thumb nails.
Now we’re looking at a still life that’s got several different elements.
We’ve got a skull.
We’ve got a vase, a book, some fruit, you know, pretty much
everything you need for a picnic.
So, I think I like the idea of starting and being kind of literal and branching
out from there just to get going.
Let’s think about this.
I’m just going to note maybe the flow of this thing is kind of like this.
Let’s make the highest point here so it doesn’t get too close.
Alright, something like that.
Be simple about it.
I’m going to use this mid-value to kind of note where some things might be.
Maybe we want that lower, maybe more like that.
That’s going to compress everything a lot, huh?
Let’s do one and see what happens.
Alright, so just to make a simple shape, something kind of flower organic-y.
Got some overlap to note.
I kind of like that little tiny light reflecting on the end because it sort of keeps that from
just sliding off the page.
We’ll just kind of note that there might be something white we can throw in there.
Then we’ve also got that drapery.
Just keep it simple, thinking straights or curves.
Try not to make any shape that’s more complicated than a straight or a curve.
Alright, we’ve got some kind of snacks.
I always like snacks with my skulls.
Alright, so I’m like that.
The maxilla situation.
I’m squinting for a second because this thing is complicated.
Let’s knock some big things out right away just to kind of keep from losing ourselves in this.
It’s kind of that literal first attempt, and we may leave a little of that going back out.
Let’s just make this dark here.
What’s going on behind that vase?
You can almost call that like a gradient,
like that strong shape here.
You guys, this is complicated.
This is a lot of choices to make.
I’m so glad we warmed up with hammers and—what did we just draw—a simple still life.
Alright, so squinting down, I’m going to see this as just a middle value right now.
I see that skull as pretty light and dark.
Maybe it’s resting on a mid-value there.
Maybe this book is the other mid-value.
I kind of like maybe that foreground to be the mid-value.
Again, using the side of this, the fat side of the pen just to try to
make fewer, more simple choices.
Not the time to render a skull.
This is good discipline practice here.
That apple we’ve got kind of that dark shape here.
There is sort of just this sliver.
We’ve got this.
Some kind of fancy shot glass this guy has got.
Okay, I’m just seeing simply.
Alright, starting to get kind of that light and dark.
I think we said we’re just going to squint and see that blue and white powder.
It’s sort of a middle value.
I kind of want to see this book just as a middle.
Maybe this little light reflected there is middle.
Let’s darken that up.
And I’m kind of running out of room off the bottom here.
Let’s go ahead and leave a little of this light.
It got a little carried away with that dark.
Probably we’ll leave a little more light than it actually did.
Most of this is going to be sort of a mid-value.
Let’s carry out this shadow here.
Kind of just like that.
So, obviously, this is a lot of elements.
Maybe we want to pick a statement.
Look at it for a second.
See what strikes you.
It’s hard not to go right for the skull.
Anything that looks humanoid usually gets our attention.
What happens if we try one where we zoom in on the skull.
I might try this.
For now, I’m going to even go more simple and just see the skull as kind of like a sphere,
sort of an oblong sphere.
Let me try one with that going off the top.
Okay, let’s try like this.
No, let’s leave it in there.
Vase, skull, apple.
The book we’ll slide off the side.
We’ll have to check that out.
Just kind of that simple shape.
Let’s just group that all into dark for now.
Overlapping the vase with the cool kind of organic leaf shape,
and then maybe this guy kind of goes off the page. Let’s find out.
Okay, and the book is going to take her eye off.
We’ve got to make sure we bring it back in somehow.
You know what’s kind of cool is this cup, kind of fancy shot glass kind of thing.
Maybe this can be like a vertical that stops us from sliding right off the side.
It’s also on that right ground.
Let’s see if we want to keep that in.
We can leave this apple wedge, and it’s overlapping another apple,
which is overlapping our skull.
I do like the dramatic dark here.
I love how we kind of lose this and then kind of find it again where the light hits the inside.
I’m going to start filling that in just to get some kind of read,
kind of so I can see what’s happening.
Maybe we could do this down into that.
Then it could save us, kind of stop us.
Bring us back in. Let's try it.
Alright, so now we’re starting to hit the back plane of that skull
down that temporal area.
See, I’m already starting to see too much.
Squinting, let’s just make the sunglasses, we’ll just group that together for now.
Let’s take that all the way to the edge of the apple.
Apple coming around.
We’ve got that little bit top plane of the book it’s resting on, and that actually
is going to go into this thing, which I moved to try to stop our eye.
Now it’s higher, but I want this to come below it.
I think it’s going to get longer.
Okay, let’s try it.
I don’t really like that that’s coming into that.
Let’s just take it off.
Okay, so I’m playing with how to re-design this.
I didn’t really like how this dark shape that was the background hitting the top of
the book was kind of coming into a V here.
I’m going to try and push it down a little bit into that champagne flute, and maybe we
can even have a little light kind of breaking that up.
And then maybe just a little bit, a little further down, a little lower.
Pushing more overlap.
I’m hoping that this flute overlapping this book shape is going to stop our eye from sliding
off the page.
I’m looking to make that food a little more prominent,
a little bigger vertical element, allegedly.
Let’s pick the dark shape back up around the side of that muzzle.
Let’s carry that to the flute.
Let’s carry that shadow from the end of the book to the flute, and we do want some
light element coming back in here.
This is where our drapery might save us, taking out that corner.
And we’ll take the shape up here where the drapery kind of enters the scene.
Maybe we can kill this with the book here, with the mid-value.
Then the light of the drapery might bring us back.
The champagne flute looks pretty dark to me.
Let’s at least block it mid for now.
Then we’ve got the mid of the champagne flute over the light of the drapery.
Let’s go back to the apple here.
If I squint that’s pretty dark.
I want to finish the dark pattern which is the shadow of the vase
overlapped by the apple shape.
See what happens when we fill that in with dark.
Going to continue filling in this plane with dark,
that is the side of the skull up to this apple.
Okay, looking just for light and dark pattern, if I’m into the skull, I think I want to
take the mid-value to the vase again.
Push it back.
That’s cool or it kind of pops again, an opportunity to push a light against a dark.
Okay, so let’s look at the foreground.
We’ve got a white drapery thing coming in.
We’re going to have lights from these apples.
Let’s make this mid-value.
The foreground here with the mid-value treatment and then stop and look.
This line here is distracting.
I’m going to take it out.
That’s the top plane of the book, and I didn’t finish describing the side of the muzzle.
So there is one option.
I like that this is strong.
I like that it seems to keep our eye in here.
We want to watch that we don’t have just a bunch of cookies floating on a page.
We might want to consider linking those a little better.
If we did another vertical maybe we can play with the design of the light and dark.
What’s another option for how to represent light and dark?
First let’s get these shapes in here, and then let’s play with that pattern,
the light/dark pattern.
I’m just going to do a quick, a similar one.
What other opportunities are there?
I don't know; what if we tipped the book the other way?
We’ve got the flute.
I still like these organic shapes.
I’ve got that leaf going up.
Let’s leave the leaf going off.
So, what if we, let’s try another one.
We’ll find we like this better once we play with something like the contrast right now
is really high here, you know, 10 to 1 if we’re looking at a full-value spectrum.
What if we try to group all of this together kind of more in one family?
Alright, let’s bring this shadow shape up against that.
And this time I’m going to use a mid-value just to see how this will change things.
And I think instead of having the apples light and dark, what if we do mid and dark on the
apple shapes so that the lightest they are is just mid-value.
This is a real test for me to keep it simple.
I’ve got to tell you, I’m still studying how to see the big picture, I think for the
rest of my life.
It doesn’t come naturally to me.
I always want to paint the fleas before the dog.
That’s not how it works.
Let’s drop in a mid-value just to get something going.
I’m going to take that all the way in against this.
We might separate that from the background later, but for now, yeah, we’ll probably
have to or we’ll lose the apple.
Let’s define that a little better.
I’ll leave the background, the mid-value.
I’m going to take this dark over the shadow shape of the vase.
Describe the apple a little bit more.
Sometimes you may want to do that and group it all together.
I’m just worried it was getting a little too ambiguous for this.
Okay, so there is that.
Maybe we can let the improvised book shape stay light then.
And give it a little bit of a light and then a mid-value.
Where do we want—let’s put this guy, this guy, you may be wondering who this guy is.
Flute shape here, that’s what I mean.
This flute shape.
Okay, and then let’s find a way to connect this shadow shape and this flute and this—I
think taking that book across is kind of cool.
Let’s try the middle value on the top of that.
Alright, we’ve got the champagne flute keeping us here, but it’s really close to the edge,
Let’s kind of kill that shape here with the middle value and see if that’s going
to be alright.
I think you know what’ll help is if we take this negative shape that’s middle value
and, well, let’s try a mid-value on the flute here.
There is some reflected light.
I don’t know if I want to see, well, yeah, I kind of like that.
Let’s see if we leave this light here, if we can get away with using the mid-value and
the negative shape and the shadow side of the flute.
Why didn’t I carry this to the edge?
Do we want to?
Is that too stripey?
Carrying this dark shape to the flute here.
Again, just trying to see really simple, and it’s taking everything I’ve got.
I’m going to describe the edge of the drape, but I’m going to think about this.
Do we want to describe the edge of the drape?
What if we just left that all light and pretended like this work never happened?
Maybe we do.
Maybe we just want to do that.
If it was casting a shadow, the light is coming from this way,
we could just almost do something like that.
Okay, so if we look at this for a second, this is more dramatic.
This feels a little busy to me.
Maybe we can do a mid-tone gradient.
This is the furthest from the light source so as we get to the light.
Maybe it could be something like that.
Okay, let’s try another one with a different shaped design.
We were sort of playing more with the value there.
Looking at it again, what if we run the vase off the top and go for a horizontal format?
Alright, so skull, where do we want to put the skull?
The vase is going off the top, maybe let’s have the skull, let’s just put in some—I’m
trying to see in my mind’s eye.
My mind’s eye finds it’s very helpful if I use my tools and plot a couple little
lines just to see.
So, if this is the top of the skull, maybe the vase, maybe we want to push it more this way.
Let’s push it over.
Okay, I’m just going to draw in a rough shape really quick.
A little more off-center.
Drop a muzzle shape off of that.
This is sort of three-quarter, so it’s going to, okay, alright.
And then let’s run this vertical off the top.
See you later flowers.
Okay, this is going to all be dark so maybe I won’t even worry about drawing that.
That is going to give us a lot off to the right side of the skull here.
We’ve got a book, and we’ve got a little bit of a light from that drapery.
I do like this shape this book is making, where we can see the bottom, those cool hardback
ones where the corner sticks off the, okay.
You can see the cover sticking off the pages.
That’s a cool shape.
Although, I shouldn’t be seeing it yet.
Not in this thumbnail stage.
Those drapes overlap it.
Maybe we’ll let it come all the way down off the page and then cut back up.
If we could have it cut up and point towards the skull, that could be useful.
Maybe we want the drapery to come off and enter back on in a way that brings us back
We know we’re going to have this dark because I said it earlier.
And apple situation.
Let’s go ahead and let the apples be a bigger deal on this one.
We sort of subordinated them the last thumbnail.
This thumbnail, maybe we’ll let them stay in.
So, leaving a little space to keep the apples in the image, drapery here, shadow cutting
back into the drapery.
Actually, that might be the shadow of the book that the skull is resting on.
I’m going to go ahead and just get a dark out for a moment and try to find that corner.
Okay, as we come back across here, I’ve left something unresolved.
I’ve got a lot going on here that’s going to get messy really quick.
I do think we want to put that champagne flute back in here.
You might find that’s not going to work with, that’s a lot of area to have, and
it’s potentially sort of a weak composition.
We’re going to finish the thumbnail and find out.
Champagne flute, little decorative.
I’m going to take the dark and knock out the background, and let’s see what happens.
Because what is this?
We’re just in the lab running experiments.
Alright, filling this in.
Shadow of the vase down into the back of the skull above the apple.
We’re not even going to see where it leaves the picture plane.
Again, this could be a terrible idea.
Let’s find out.
I’m going to start to fill it in.
I’m going to find, I’m going to pick back up and find the top of this apple.
We’re going to bring that dark back up and around the peel.
A little thickness for that, and then it’s overlapped by its slice.
A little dark shadow below, which brings us back up into this straight.
We’ve got the curve to a straight, which is nice.
We’re going to indicate a drapery situation just like quickly, and I’m going to step
this up to meet the champagne flute so that we have described that side plane that’s
in shadow of that book.
I’m going to pick back up the bottom limit of that dark shape at this apple where that
shadow runs off to the left edge of the page, and I’m going to go ahead and just color it in.
What do you think about the skull?
I still kind of want to play with the high contrast on the skull.
I’m going to keep my dark marker out.
Let’s see what happens.
Try not to get caught up in its awesome skull shapes.
Take that shadow plane down the side of it and sort of squint real quick and just see
an arch across.
Muzzle and connect that dark here.
This is the edge of the book.
Maybe if we leave a little bit of that, it’ll help describe the top plane right here.
I probably should have left more, but for now we get the idea, I think.
This book, I like that there might be a little light hitting the top.
The binding I’m going to go ahead and make medium and then find that a cheekbone and
complete that shape.
Okay, I am seeing too much vase, I think.
What happens if we use the mid-tone on the vase?
Maybe mid-tone on, I made a bigger deal of this than it really is.
I just wanted some shape to keep us from sliding off the corner.
This isn’t exactly there like that, but we’re going to have that be a middle value.
I’m going to find another dark on the other side of this champagne flute, we’re calling
it at this point.
We like how that dark dips down and it’s overlapped by a light drape.
Okay, what happens if we fill that in with dark—we might need more a dark to describe
the book, but it’s kind of nice when it’s all grouped together.
What happens if we just use the middle value?
That might be okay.
Maybe this is an opportunity for a gradient.
So, we’ve got light against dark.
Okay, let’s try one where we run the apples off the left.
I want the skull to sit higher, maybe even as high as this.
Okay, let’s try this.
And we’ve got apples running off.
So, find the maxilla.
This guy, this apple here.
It’ll pop off the page and find its slice this way.
I’m going to do a little bit of a vertical where we see the vase leave, and I’m going
to just put it in the middle right off the bat, bring it down around the back of the skull.
Leave a little for the apple somewhere in there.
Let’s go ahead and put the shadow shape in.
Trying to be simple and decisive and not putter around too much with the skull right now.
Okay, that’s kind of looking cool.
We want to ground the skull.
It’s resting on the book.
The book is going to come back into perspective a little bit, I think.
It might be a horizontal, but I’m just going to push it a little.
The shadow of the apple up into that side plane plus the cast shadow is all this dark shape.
Let’s put this dark background in again.
I really just love the drama of that.
We won’t be able to carry it all the way down until we make some choices on this right
side of the page here.
So, as this is coming down, starting to try to visualize how to resolve this.
Let’s put the book in.
It might be okay that it’s high enough that I’m not as worried about that strong diagonal
leaving the right side.
Let’s put the flute in.
Give it a little bit of a shadow.
Let’s knock the book back a little bit.
Maybe we find a little of the inside.
The flute, little dark.
Okay, let’s use that drapery to bring us back this way real quick.
I’m going to complete the—if this dark is under this apple, I like that they’re
a little more consistent.
I’m going to use that same value.
It’s probably not necessary, but I kind of like it for right now.
Okay, that has potential.
The flute here, maybe a gradient might be nice as well to distinguish this light from
this whole surface area.
If you look at the reference, even though the color of that tabletop is maple, whatever
the wood is; look at the right side of it and compare that to the left side.
It’s not the same.
We want to keep it in the same value family probably.
There is a decent change over the surface from right to left.
Since I kind of want to set it off from the tablecloth, I might try to just use a gradient there.
Because the light is hitting here, it probably makes more sense to let it be lighter on this
side, although sometimes I think you can do what you want from just a design point.
Maybe we have some kind of gradient just do distinguish that drapery.
It’s kind of cool.
Let’s see if we can do one more.
I’m pretty hooked on vertical.
Alright, let’s try one more with the skull prominent like this, but maybe try it down
a little lower.
I’m going to start by, again, just getting that big shape in.
It’d be interesting to see what happens with these apples in the corner.
You know, let’s push it over to the right.
That might help.
Instead of running the apples off the left, we could just have a little less to deal with
on the right side.
I’m not really sure.
Let’s see what happens.
Watch what happens.
Maybe we get a little bit of flowers in this situation.
At least a little more of this space.
Maybe we should.
Let’s try it.
We’ll cut it back a little more.
And then the leaf can go off the top.
Trying to be as simple with the shadow design.
Edge of the maxilla.
Figure that out a little more clearly later just to get that big shape in.
Alright, apples are still running off the page.
Alright, so where we placed the skull, we’re still going to actually find the apples running off.
Let’s find out how this goes.
I’ve got to be careful in the corner.
I’m going to put it in, and then we’ll see if we need to take it down a notch.
I am going to find this dark.
I’m curious how this will look.
Top of the book, grounding the skull.
Shadow running off the page, describing the side and bottom of the apple.
I’m going to use this mid-value again, describing the lighter part of the vase.
I’m going to bring it all the way down to the apple and just see how we like that mid-value.
Then bring the dark back in.
I’m going to find this strong diagonal that’s the book.
I’m going to see what happens here when I introduce the dark to some of the stuff
in the background again.
A little more of that dark where the shadow is.
Use that to describe the form a little more on the vase, sort of a curve on a curve.
Cut up a little under that lip.
Knock down a little with medium.
Come in and find the side of the book binding, and I’m going to play with the shapes for
a moment here, just putting a dark in.
I’m going to find the inside of that champagne flute, run it off the right, and hope this
isn’t too distracting.
I’m going to put it in and see what we think.
Actually, let’s drop that lower so it looks intentionally off the page.
Some of them I like more than others.
In the end, I’m going to go with this thumbnail here.
I’m going to start by indicating picture plane
so we have some idea of the space we’re going to put it in.
Got a little Conté here.
So, with the drawing we want to sort of plot a couple points so we can orient things and
get that matrix accurately placed.
If we look at our thumbnail we kind of find a midpoint.
Let’s just draw right on it.
See the midpoint is somewhere here on this axis, and on the vertical, you know, about there.
So we know the top of the skull is going to be a little past halfway.
I like how Chris does this kind of a crosshairs thing.
We like the top of the skull a little above halfway.
I’m going to try to go light.
This thing is hard to erase back out.
We’ve got that organic leaf shape coming across the midline indicated approximately there.
I’m short of ghosting things in where I can sneak up on this.
We’re trying to get the big picture.
That’s the most important thing.
It’s the first, largest relationship before we get into the fleas.
We want to get the dog before the fleas.
Alright, so this is coming in here somewhere.
We go back to our thumbnail.
Step a little to the side we see, as the skull tapers down, rising from that the vase, the
forward limit right in here, you know, about a third of the way in.
Somewhere in there.
We’ll just kind of indicate that lightly, lightly, lightly.
Alright, we’ve got the light shape of the drapery.
I’ve got it coming up a little sharper than it does in the reference.
Let’s just put it in about there for now.
We’ve got this coming around somewhere in there.
We’ve got this coming down.
And then this shadow—so now you guys can see where we’re at.
Oh yeah, that’s nicer. That’s smart.
Okay, so we’ve got a little distance.
Maybe lip somewhere in here.
We want the lip in the from the edge. That's important.
Don’t want to run into that edge.
Lips are going to be in there somewhere.
It’s going to have some kind of organic.
These shapes are somewhere in there, and I’m just going to kind of lightly put in a shape
to save that space.
We know this one is running off the page around the midline.
I’m going to bring it back a little just to stay off that 50% mark.
So, it’s somewhere in there.
Again, I’m just sort of ghosting in, kind of coming in from the shoulder, trying to
use a light touch because there isn’t an undo button.
I mean there is the eraser, but it’s not quite the same.
I’d rather go slowly and then once things are arranged with a confident, darker path.
For now, we’re still ghosting in where this is all going to go.
Alright, we’ve got the book leaving.
This is kind of, you know, it’s kind of all fading in the background, but I still
want to know where it’s going to go.
Let’s just indicate it. Somewhere in here.
Champagne flute. We want that up from the bottom.
I’ve got it kind of equal to these apples. I might actually change that.
It’s probably better to push maybe the apples up, maybe the champagne down a little bit.
This is a little symmetrical.
We can make that change now, though. That's pretty easy. I'm going to pull it down a little bit.
Let’s try that.
What if I pull it in this neighborhood, and then I can push maybe the apples up?
Question mark? I think so. I think we can handle it.
Okay, cool. So, we've got that.
We decided we might want to have this drape kind of, you know, actually maybe it’ll
tuck in and come across.
I kind of like that in the—now that we’re getting a little further point in detail,
I’m seeing it in reality kind of bend back under here.
I actually, I might change that to look more like the reference you see than this thumbnail.
This is a little simplified version.
As we go, it’s nice to have that matrix in mind.
I’m still making choices.
You know, if I can make it better or attempt to make it better, I’m going to at any point at all.
Alright, let’s pick up—how wide is that skull?
It’s overlapping. We want it to at least cut over here a little bit.
We’ve got it on the thumbnail about there
That is something we’re going to need to have accurate.
You can manipulate vases.
Human skulls you want to be pretty true to the structure.
You can get away with more trees and bushes than you can in faces.
Okay, this bottom plane of the apple, so let’s compare where we want this muzzle to actually
end up and where we want, and again, I might push this overlap.
Like right now, that’s where the muzzle ends.
This is where the apple ends.
Maybe we’ll push the apple up a little higher.
So, bottom of this apple, but if this other one is somewhere in there kind of lightly
put it in in case we need to move it a bit.
Trying to stick to either curves or straights when we first lay things in.
Keeping it simple, keeping our marks simple.
Okay, coming up around, we want to just bring.
A lot of these shapes right now are sort of placeholders.
Okay, let’s just…
okay, approximate placement here.
Not going dark yet. Still need to get everything in there.
Get our matrix mapped out.
Okay, skull is going to curve.
There is sort of a nice rhythm where we see this come down, overlapped by the apple, and
then we want to find that lower limit. This is a little tricky to see.
Maybe it’s not important because it’s all going to be in the same value.
If I have a hard time sort of seeing where one thing stops and one thing starts, you
know, maybe I just want to be observant and be true to that.
Maybe it’s not important to pull information out of a shadow,
especially if that’s not the point of our drawing.
What I really like about this is that skull, that light against the dark.
I’m not going to get too carried away.
I’m catching myself looking for more information here.
Maybe it’s more important to see less.
Okay, I want to find this limit here where we’re going to ground the bottom of the maxilla.
Let’s look at our thumbnail.
Alright, so it’s actually pretty low.
If that’s halfway, it’s below the quarter mark, so maybe somewhere in there.
I might need to make some adjustments.
Let’s go ahead and just ghost it in, using my shoulder to keep it real light.
That might work.
I’ve been seduced by the reference and the way this drape tucks under it.
I might not do it like this.
This might actually be okay.
Now we have some thickness here of the side plane of the book.
It’s probably not enough, though.
I think I pushed the apple too high.
Not a terrible idea, but it doesn’t quite work.
I’m going to just drop it a little lower, be a little more true to the reality.
I’m missing a shadow shape. Let's put that in.
If this is the lower limit of this apple wedge, of the cast shadow I should say, then this
shape—do we want to run that off the picture plane?
Yeah, we probably do.
I’m going to push this a little further.
I kept it really short here, but in reality I think I’m going to run it off.
Everything is in reality.
In this phase, I’ve decided to run it off the page.
We’ll make this a little longer to be consistent.
Okay, cast shadow can come a little lower now.
Now we have a little more convincing height.
I'm going to bring this up.
This line is the limit of the top of the book that it’s grounded on.
I might find that again. We might go with that.
We’ll start to see, too, when I come down here if have this working out.
It might be that I can actually push it up a little higher.
Let’s put a placeholder for the champagne flute so I don’t forget.
That little guy.
I’ve got it a little above the quarter mark.
Let’s just kind of eyeball something in here.
I don’t really want it overlapping if I’m staying true to this.
I’m going to need to keep it maybe there. Let's put it in.
Let's actually bring this down.
I'm going to push some more straights in there.
Let's get this detail in.
A little wider oval for the opening.
We can actually see a little more of the top than I had originally.
Okay, so the most important thing is getting this skull right.
Now that we kind of have things in there, I’m going to go back and try to get this
skull just how I want it.
Then we can sort of move things around and adjust if we need to in order to get this
skull to read right.
I think I’ll put maybe just this form shadow here from the vase just so I kind of know.
It’s sort of a straight then a change in plane.
Okay, something around there.
Okay, so the skully, the high point on the skull is kind of like that plane.
It kind of comes down this way.
While you can, push straights while you’re organizing to help sort of see and commit
to a clearer form.
This is going to come across and start to slope down.
Now let’s see if we want to make it wider.
I have a feeling it feels too tall. Let me just move it back.
It's probably sloping too quick there.
Okay, let’s find a landmark on the skull. Let's find that brow ridge.
If the form shadow is coming in here, it looks like the brow may be somewhere in there.
That glabella shape is going to dip below, so that limit, that upper limit of the orbit
maybe is somewhere in here.
Just going in pretty light for now.
And the width here where that temporal edge is,
I’m going to choke up for a second on my pencil here.
This is dangerous because this can get dark pretty quick.
Just try to indicate that.
This is an important piece because that shape is probably going to be one of sort of focuses,
near the focal point.
Okay, this center line, we probably already should have had that in.
If we measure from the edge, how far does it come in?
Somewhere in here.
I want to be really light because it’s going to be hard to get back out of this paper.
Okay, I want to find from the center to the edge of the maxilla.
That’s sort of kind of coming down the middle of the eye.
This is the eye shape.
Let that ghost in.
We’ve got to double check that when we have something to measure against.
Still looking to have a lighter treatment.
Making sure I am checking plumb lines, pulling up vertical and seeing where things line up,
or horizontal and seeing where things line up is a good way to lay things in.
I’m trying to get those big shapes before I start getting into too much detail.
Light is landing on the bottom of this orbit.
That’s another important thing we really want to have.
I might look and say if the top of the nose is here, and look horizontally to gauge how
far down that light is catching on the bottom of the orbit.
Just keep finding ways to double-check yourself.
This starts to merge, this is in shadow.
So we see that nose fall off like this, but then it starts to connect up
where the shadow is, somewhere about there.
The bottom of the nose comes around and up.
It’s really a nasal cavity.
The nose is conspicuously absent from a skull, of course.
I’m going to indicate where I think that maxilla is,
and then we have teeth coming off of that.
We start to lose things in shadow, somewhere in that neighborhood.
Now, from right to left we start to see that nasal cavity turn up before we hit another
form shadow, which seems to kind of, on this plane somewhere.
This might need to be a little further back.
This, if we compare to this, maxilla is pushed off the face a little more.
Let’s see if we can adjust that.
I kind of lay in a rhythm here.
Alright, so we have some idea of where things are going.
I just want to be very clear before we start laying in value that the
matrix or the drawing is pretty accurate.
Let’s spend a second and kind of clean it up.
This is an important corner showing that top line of the book.
We want to run it into the flute.
Okay, then I’ve pushed that all back a little bit.
I think I’m going to take a pass now at finding where these shadow tones are going
to be and trying to lay them in sort of lightly at first and uniformly.
Let’s get a little more clearer first in some of these shapes.
I’m starting to get them a little more characteristic.
Let’s see if we can get that to lay down.
Okay, so this apple, let’s have it cut in here.
If this edge is a little sharper, let’s make this one a little flatter for variety.
Kind of take out that approximation that was a little off,
just indicate where seeds might be hiding.
Then we’re going to run into the slice here.
This is a flatter plane. Let's cut that off. Then pick off the curve.
Find that top limit.
It kind of comes down from where that slice was cut towards the core and then kind of
curves back up and around this way so we can take that off.
Alright, that looks a little more accurate.
It might have a little seed indication somewhere in there.
I did alter the shadow, but I want to clean it up.
Again, let’s kind of ghost it in.
Let's get it clearer. Let's commit.
Okay, something like this, maybe.
And I like to find a little edge in there.
It’s a little less general, maybe a little more specific.
A little sharper toward the fruit and a little softer as it moves away from the light.
Okay, so we’ve got that. We did want to put this in clearly.
Let’s look at this drapery more carefully.
Look at the folds.
Here is the cast shadow, and it is overlapped by another shape, which we start to lose there.
Okay, I want to find these planes, sort of anatomy of everything.
Drapery warrants its own study.
For now let’s keep it pretty simple.
We’ll have this plane.
We’ll kind of climb up before it starts to fold back in.
We’ll use a little softer line.
This starts to curve a little bit as it falls into shadow.
We pick it back up.
Let’s make sure that’s clearer.
If you end up with more than one line, just erase the ones that you don’t want.
Do it before you forget, though, or you start to wonder what you meant to say.
Okay, so we might have a dip down and then come back up.
Okay, somewhere in there.
Then we have a shadow.
Then that runs into this, this whole dark area is a little bit of the local color and
a little bit of the cast shadow.
All we need to know at this point is that it’s dark.
Maybe there is a little variation here where the fold is.
Let’s just simplify it and then pick it back up in this.
Here we’re finding the lower limit of the fabric, which we’ve changed.
I’m going to drag you down with me. It’s a “we.”
I’m going to find the shadow cast here a little bit and just pull variety in that edge,
somewhere in there.
Champagne flute has some cool reflected lights and other things going on in it, but we don’t
want to get too caught up in looking too closely at this point.
We want to group simply so at this point it’s all a mid-value.
We can come in later and just erase a little reflected light in there.
The important thing is having the drawing, I think,
correct and then sticking to those value families.
Simple to complex. Start with simple.
Give it a little bit of an opening as we’re looking down into it.
It’s our perspective. Our point of view is higher.
In this book we’ve got in dark, so we might find we sort of lose this all in the shape.
Okay, do we have enough yet to think about tone?
Let’s clean up some of these edges before we get the side of our pencil out.
This is too thick. I don't like that. We actually can't even see the stem.
You can see it, but not well.
Maybe we don’t even need it at this point.
We’ve got straights against curves.
This is a little more of a curve and a little more of a curve.
It’s good to look for those varieties.
When you’re working at home and you want to make your things more interesting, no matter
what subject you’re working on, if you find you’ve made too many curves in a row, look
for straight or vice versa.
I straighten that out.
So, straight, straight, straight, and maybe a curve up.
With organizing all these things, just keep checking for opportunities.
If we indicate a little light in there,
I might just come back and pull it out with an eraser.
I’m not going to draw a big, thick stem right now.
This line could be cuter.
Let’s do a better job designing this space.
The lip comes around here, gets more narrow, and then maybe it angles out like this a little better.
Just to kind of clean it up.
Okay, so looking here, okay, let’s start by organizing this.
Let’s put in just the darks here.
I’m going to take the side of my pencil and just real carefully start to put this in.
I’m going to find one more limit here just a little lower.
Kind of turn the pencil a little bit so you keep that taper nice.
Or if you stay on one side too long, you’ll flatten it out.
Okay, so that’s mid-value.
Before I get too carried away, let’s…
Having this outline around the cuplet is a little bit of a gimmicky way to handle it,
but I kind of wanted to make it clear.
We decided this is—okay, let’s go back and take a look at the shadow shape.
Okay, this is where we didn’t finish.
Missing the cast shadow as it comes over the top of the fold and wrapping back in.
I’m starting to see where we need to go.
Let's put the mediums in, and then we'll come back over and push the darks.
Mid-value, mid-value here.
We might pull a little highlight out on that later, but let’s just get a mid-value.
We’ll knock that back.
Our foreground, a lot of mid-value here.
Okay, I’m going to start to darken this dark here.
I might leave a little spot for this, but generally, you know, you can always go back
with your eraser and pull things out if you don’t get too carried away.
Sometimes, outlining things like this can haunt you,
but it’s probably more clear for this demonstration.
You might find more clever ways of leaving light negative spaces like that, or just going
back in with your eraser is a really good option too.
Okay, so around this edge of the apple is a pretty sharp turn, pretty sharp angle that it's cut.
That line might be pretty sharp, the line that indicates where it turns and the shadow starts.
A little softer in here.
Okay, and then back to where we’ve taken a cast shadow, and we’re going to soften
the edge as we go away from the light or away from the object that’s casting it.
Okay, let’s get a little darker in here.
See if we can get kind of a three-value read.
Alright, so we’re going to keep an eye on the skull form, make some little adjustments,
and start laying in the darker values.
This feels like it might be a little too low.
This sort of disappears quick, too, off the side.
Then we start to lose it into shadow.
Alright, so let’s come back again. Let’s keep laying this in.
I want to make sure there is Conté all over this side of my hand.
For now, we’re working with limited values.
A light, a medium, and a dark.
I’m going to try to lay them in uniformly, build up slowly.
Rotating the pencil to keep this nice edge.
Hopefully, you’re starting to see the idea here.
Put a little more lean into it.
We’ll clean up some of this with the eraser at the end.
A little softer edge here drops into that glabella area, and then soft on top, sharper underneath.
It’s a little soft here, and then we find it’s sharper at the bottom of this orbit,
a little softer at the bottom of that zygomatic process that turns into that cheekbone, sort
of the orbit to the cheekbone.
There is this little highlight.
Let’s see if we can find it.
Let’s start at the top here.
Coming around from the back plane.
We’ve got that nice, gradual soft edge here.
And then look at the change as you bring it to a harder edge into that temporal area.
And then this actually dives down and into the shadow.
We almost see it again.
And then this shape is a little harder on the top here.
Then you see how this softens when we’re gradually, so play with the tip.
Play with the side.
See what the different marks are when you use sort of two tools in one pencil.
We’ve got that tip and then that softer edge.
Pay attention. See if you can find the character in those edges..
Really gets important to make a form turn.
Edges are kind of a big deal guys.
For now, let’s just try to get them pretty close to accurate.
Kind of softens a little in there.
Smudge it up a little.
Soften it there.
Fairly firm here.
Little softer going back up into the side of the orbit.
I kind of want to keep this middle and this darker.
I’m sort of changing that as I go a little bit.
Okay, teeth. Teeth are so fun. I'm not going to get too carried away. I’ll indicate them.
I know this is small.
Just kind of get some shadow shapes in there.
You see where that protrudes?
That’s where I like it.
Maybe a canine is sitting underneath the bone, and you see it convex, around
kind of curve up where a tooth would fit.
Maybe we’ll just kind of hint at it like that.
A canine protuberance.
Alright, this guy.
Lost a little of my tip there
This kind of curves under.
Okay, so we kind of got that.
Let’s bring dark. This is all in shadow
We don’t want to see too much.
If it’s in shadow, we’re keeping our families together.
We’re keeping organized
That’s going to be a stronger read. If we can stay organized.
I’m just going to smear that up a little here on purpose because it’s kind of a soft turn.
Then let’s just push it. Lean on the gas a little bit.
See if we can wrap this up to at least get those three values to show you guys.
You can break an eraser and look for a clean spot, try to pull some things back out.
It’ll be subtle, but you can do a lot with that too.
Alright, this we lose in shadow.
Let’s get that a little darker.
How are you guys doing? Are you drawing already?
I’ll just kind of define this a little bit.
We want this to be a little more mid-value.
We want to pick up that curve.
That might dive a little harshly.
Let’s pick up some dark here.
You kind of start to see, you start to have a pay-off for all your thumbnails, all your experiments.
You finally get in there and start kind of seeing what you can make.
I’m going to do a little more finishing here.
Let’s get that dark of the side of the book.
You might find you want to stop and tune your pencil, too.
If you start to lose the edge of your pencil.
Take a time out.
Go to the trash can and get it back because you will start finding you don’t have the
tools to say what you want to say.
It's no shortcut.
Just call a time out. Go fix it. Don't be lazy.
I'm going to call a time out and fix mine.
Alright, I did a little bit of tuning.
Starting to lose my edge, so we got that a little back.
Let's see. Okay. We've got some darks in here.
Maybe we’ll find part of that back lip.
Not getting too carried away.
Just pick out a little of that flute.
Maybe we’ll soften that edge a little bit since it’s a little bit farther away from us.
Get some dark in there.
This is supposed to be medium.
It’s a little too close to light. Let's push it.
Maybe pull some of that smeared dirt back out.
Get that overlap.
It’s getting a little messy so just pick out some things.
I’m not going to get too carried away with variation in the light.
We just want that light, medium, dark read for now.
It got a little darker in here.
Maybe it’s nice to pull out a little bit of light, have a little gradient.
Get that dark a little darker.
A little softer edge there. And pull out a little light.
I kind of want to keep an eye—you might your find drags through your drawing a little bit.
You might want to just go back in and pull out a little highlight maybe on the back of
that flute or a mid-tone, just something to get that to read.
Let’s just punch a little more dark before we call it a demo.
You guys, are you starting to see the value of this? Raise your hand.
Okay, I can't call on you.
But, I want you to think of a few reasons this could be valuable.
This is something where we’ve been able to, in cheap Post-It notes,
organize a bunch of potential options.
This could have been for animation.
This could be for concepting.
This could be for a final oil piece.
This is something that’s literally gone back hundreds of years,
and the applications are pretty much endless.
This is something that you’re going to need to do for everything.
There is really no limit in how far reaching the application of this is.
You can take this into oil.
You can further develop it.
You can take and build on the image that you’ve spent all the time creating.
This is an ongoing process.
It keeps paying off and paying off and paying off.
You’ll find that you might wake up in the middle of the night when you think you’re done.
You think you’ve got all the permutations worked out, you might want to just keep some
Post-Its by your bed just in case.
You might find that this is a catalyzing and triggering stream of ideas that continues
even after you have put them away for the day.
Okay, so coming into the home stretch here, you may want to make a couple marks,
step back and check.
You know, you’re done when you’ve said what you want to say.
No more, no less.
Once you’ve gotten your message across, that’s when you get to
stop and high five somebody.
I don’t like this tangent here.
Maybe I’ll, it might be tricky to take that out. Let's see.
You’re kind of looking for that happy medium where you’ve said what you’ve wanted to
say, but you’re not leaving anything incorrect.
You don’t want to overdo it, but if you see something wrong,
you probably do want to fix it.
This is probably a little too dark.
If this is the shadow of a light, I’m going to take this back a notch.
Leaning it on in the last couple minutes.
Starting to get a little messy here with this charcoal, so it’s going to get
harder to pull it out, but I just really wanted to try to push that light against that dark.
I might even take this one down a little bit as it’s headed out of the top
Kind of a little softer.
A little smeary. Let's take a little out of that.
It’s getting so smeary. I'm having a hard time pulling it back out.
Probably got this darker than I would have liked, to get to read as a lighter light.
But, for the most part