- Lesson Details
In this lesson, you will learn how to set up a still life with master designer Bill Perkins; he will teach you how lighting and local value play a significant role in your still life. Then, instructor Heather Lenefsky will demonstrate how to develop thumbnails of different compositions for your still life drawings.
This lesson belongs to the course Beginner’s Guide to Drawing. It is a 12-week course designed to empower new students with a structured approach for learning how to draw. Join instructors Steve Huston, Chris Legaspi, Heather Lenefsky, Bill Perkins, and Mark Westermoe as you learn the fundamentals of perspective, rendering, and composition. After completing this course, you will develop a solid foundation in drawing.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
select your items for a still life.
Now 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.
So I want to walk you through a few different things that you might consider
when you're selecting items to draw.
Because your drawing begins not when you pick up the pencil, it begins
with your choices, the choices of the items you put together.
So I'm going to start with some simple forms.
We'll look at the values and the way the values work together.
And then we'll go and look at materials and more complex shapes.
So as you can see, I've grabbed three different items.
I've got a cone, a cube and a sphere and they're all the same value.
I put them - they're white, they're over a gray overall gray background.
So these are the simplest things that I would put together
just these simple forms.
And as you can see, the, the, the surface, the values of these surfaces are going to
change depending on where I placed them and where they're getting caught in light.
So there's a few things that 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 have a variety of shapes tall, small,
wide, but three different shapes.
And that's why I use these simple forms first, just to identify, we
have a cone, which is simple shape a cube which is a simple shape
and a sphere as a simple shape.
They're all very, very different.
Okay, so shape is one of your issues that you want to make sure that
your objects have different shape.
The next thing is size.
You want to make sure that something large, medium, and small.
With these three objects, what I'm looking at, they're all kind of cubes.
They're all, all kind of rectangular or, or have a cube type shape.
But what I've established here is size.
Size being small, medium, and large.
The next thing I want to think about or 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's kind of a fuzzy and matte
it absorbs the light, something that's semi reflective and then something
that absorbs some of the light as well has some reflective edges that
you might see some highlights on.
Cause there's a little metal trim on there.
So there's a little variety on this object.
And again these being three different values though they're similar in
shape, there are three different values and three different textures.
Those are the other elements that I want you to consider is your
your textures and your value.
This is a case where the background is light.
The ground plane is light and the objects are light, all the same value.
And you can see that when everything is all, all the same local value, you really,
really rely on the light and the effect of light to determine the shapes up here.
So you can determine form.
So when, 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.
So that's why I'm suggesting, 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.
So 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 is the three objects.
Something medium, which has the background and something dark, which
is the, is the, 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 the way the light falls across them.
So if one is really shadowing over another one like the, the I
guess I'm making the shadow here.
You see the shadow on the triangle right here or the, the cone, the
shadow on the cone is going, 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 bit of a little darker in value in this lighting condition.
And then you're going to see a little gradation in here, but mostly when you
squint at this there's 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 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.
So 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 you're
painting or drawing environment is going to represent something light, medium,
and dark, and your your objects are going to be varying in shape and texture.
As you start getting farther and farther into handling your, your
surfaces and and rendering different surfaces and reflections and so on,
you know, a little bit farther down the road, you're going to want to
be 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, when you're when you're building up your skills an your
observation skills, besides your drawing disciplines, you're going to end up
being able to just move right into capturing these different textures.
You 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 because most of your drawing and painting is really
about your observation skills.
There's 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.
Now I'm going to start setting up a couple of things with
a variety of values, shapes,
With just a simple shop light if you, if you have a little cone light like
this available, or if it's just a shop light you want to make sure you aren't
using just a regular light bulb, because it will glare in your eyes as well.
But having something like this will keep the light out of your eyes as
you're illuminating something else.
But if you just get a, a shop light or a little spotlight something that 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.
So you're seeing a light side and a shadow side of each object.
So let's see what that looks like when we dim the house lights and we
just reinforce our form with our, our our little additive light over here.
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 the cone in shadow is a little bit lighter
than the cube in shadow.
That's basically basically because of the direction, distance and angle
of any ambient filling into this.
And you can see that this dark is occluding any light that might be in here.
So the sphere, we see the volume of this sphere with this strong, directional
light, much more clarity than we do with an ambient fully lit room.
So this would be a case where this lighting set up, 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's characteristics, characteristics to the properties of
light and shadow, which we'll get into.
But 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 more
chiaroscuro dominant and you would use this strong, directional light to group
some of your shadow shapes together.
So let's look at some objects that have 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's overall light.
Now this has a light, but it's overall dark here.
And something of a mid value.
And you see the mid value here kind of blends into the background a little
bit and I'll change up the background, but I want you to notice that.
These are three very different textures and different values, and it becomes
important because now you can start looking at the arrangement of your,
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, really more dominant.
And that's what we call notan dominant.
Notan is the, is the effect of light versus dark.
That'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 put a dim in the house and put our directional light on, you're going to see
us, 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's going to become your design element.
And you're going to want to look at bracketing your values in
that way, when you get there.
Now I have the same setup or the same items 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 that the medium dark background and down on the ground.
So all of the items will silhouette against each other and, and read
clearly in this type of lighting.
So again, you really want to make sure that you're grabbing some elements
or, or a still life components that are light, medium, and dark.
Now with the house lights down, we can see that I rearranged the items,
but they're the same items and you can see the shadows are connecting
some of these shapes together.
Now, for instance, the shadow from this light flower, the shadow
on the, on the table is getting as dark as the dark bottle.
So it starts to emerge and creates a kind of a grouping of values in there.
You can see the shadow on the background back here.
Is accentuating the lightness of the, of the flower here.
It also, it gets close to the value of the, the frame itself back here.
So we want you, I want you to look at the at, at the distinction
between these value groups.
What I also did too see, I could turn the, turn this bottle over here and we're going
to see the bottle is mostly just dark, except for the highlights as 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, very close in value to this.
Now 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 this.
The edge of the label in, and now all of a sudden I have a 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, and 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 than.
So this is how we're going to be thinking in terms of setting
up the arrangements like this.
Now I selected three objects.
They're different size, different shape, but they're close in value.
There's 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 higher major key.
That means there's a, and it's a low contrast situation.
It's not as extremely contrasty in this situation.
If I included something that's 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 scene, you can see, it does
give you a broad range of values.
But if I take this out, here's a better example of these values being closer.
As, as, as the, the 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.
And this is what I want you to really think about is when you assemble things,
if you don't have much contrast of value or shape, you're going to have the 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 vague.
Just because the values are so close, one thing runs into the other and
until you really, really controlling your values really discreetly, I would
kind of avoid things being so similar.
You really want to push a little bit more contrast.
Here it would be adding some contrast to the situation.
I could take this out and we just add this in there.
And you can see I've got a light and a stronger dark in this situation.
So let's take a look at this situation under our direct light.
Now with our strong directional light, you're going to see that the shadows
here all kind of locked together from the area of the shadow of the
the, 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 the background drop of the frame.
But 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 this stronger light source values that are similar.
We'll actually you'll, you'll gain some distinction, take a look at the, 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,
and see it in, in more dimensionally and a lot of people view this as being
much more dramatic in its lighting.
And the dramatic, the drama of, of the still life you're setting up you know,
you should determine that I had at time, but what kind of level of drama, or
what do you want to say in your image that's going to help you pick things.
If it's just getting images that you like and exploring different light
conditions, that's really the best thing for our, our experiments right
now is, is 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.
So those are the, the types of things you should look for
in setting up your still life.
In this set up 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.
And 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.
So look for these interactions when you arrange your, 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 like this, if we get a little medium
over here and light in the light.
Now with something like this as well, some of this will merge with that and
those passages that you're going to create when they're the same value elements
or values moving into the, from one object to the next, at the same
value, that's going to create passages and it's gonna allow your eyes to
move in and through these shapes, something else to consider when you,
when you put a still life together.
So I know this is a lot of information about, you know, the textures and how
things start to work, but just try to just stay focused, keep real simple items.
And again, look for things that are different size, different value,
your backdrop and arrangement there that has an has to play into it too.
So consider that and look for the shapes and textures, the textures
here 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, but our local values and stuff in this ambient light situation
are are a good example of variation.
Let's take a look at it now under our strong directional light.
Here, we've got a situation with this the strong, directional light,
and you're going to see the shadows on the, on the hat over here.
It's going to create shapes over there.
So, this strong again, the strong directional light is going to
give a little bit of variation.
It's going to break up.
The the objects, into these, various groups, you can see a shadow down here
from the flowers, there's an overlap.
And you can see it clearly now that, that when you have these light
flowers in light, they're going to be a little bit lighter than the hat.
And 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 will rearrange
the design of these shapes.
And that'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'm bringing up a little bit higher here.
If I do that, then we've created a different kind of a lighting scheme.
I can, let me see if I can move that.
There we go.
I'll move it over here.
And I actually take the shadow of the top part of the hat
and put it behind the flowers.
You see how the flower stand out again now.
So I can move that around the back of the hat gets a real hot highlight.
I'll move it around to the other side now.
And this way we can take the top of the boot and make the top of
the boot the shadow from the top of that boot blend right in, or create,
break into the shape of the hat.
If we want to keep that brim of the hat, I'm going to move this light
over here and we can keep that shape.
So there's 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.
So 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.
Transcription not available.
So we're going to get into the fun experiment of thumbnails and
probably one of the most fun ways to do this is on post-it notes.
They're all ready to go.
And to start, 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.
And when we look at the still life reference, you're going to see the longer
you look, the more information you start to see, start to see different lights
and darks on the whole value scale.
But 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 and that's, that's up to you.
we, we don't want to overthink it.
We want to keep it simple, but we want to explore, this is, this is experiment.
This is the lab.
This is the med science.
This is where we're going to see how many different ideas we can come up with.
And then we'll decide what we like the best.
Let's get - go ahead and take a post-it slap it down there.
And let's just say, we look at this still life and we want, we want
the mug to be the major object.
So maybe we're going to make one where we've got like 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 we 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.
So something like that.
Hammer's off the edge.
Let's just see what we think.
We got one.
I don't know if it's about the mug though.
There's still too many distracting things going on there.
Maybe if we really wanted about the mug, we're going to flip it and
make, make this really big here.
And 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 happened 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 that to the table,
excuse me, an edge to the ground.
So we make it a little smaller.
We got this hammer come in as a strong diagonal.
This little guy
Little shadow off of that, little shadow off of that.
And then we have a little overlap here.
So then my more accurately represent the whole thing.
So this, this shows a complete picture.
Although, you know, we might find, as we keep going, this
might not be the most exciting.
You'll realize the most important thing is to know what you want to
say before you start anything, right.
It's really going to dictate all your choices.
So being really, 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 relax.
It's kind of nice, you know, maybe we do want to something like this,
but if we want to, you know, make it a little more interesting, we might
choose to crop down and show less.
We might shift, we might shift the point of view, like if this is, you
know, sort of in the middle, and this is sort of higher in the page, there's
all these things you can play with.
But th 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 and 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's just a little bit of this.
And, you know, we could even leave it like that, but if we're gonna show
you, let's just see what happens.
And 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 mechanical pencil.
Use a baseball bat, something with a dull edge.
So we got one that's kind of zoomed in on the hammer.
Let's see, what else could we do?
Well, let's try what happens if we leave a lot of space at the top.
So let's look at putting the whole thing.
Let's just see how it looks.
We put the whole thing we just move it towards the bottom.
So we're doing experiments.
This is supposed to be fun.
And we get this little cat shadow going back and this kind of
overlaps off, something like that.
So this has a different look, even though the objects are actually
the same, all included here.
This is a totally different look than this guy.
What else have we not tried yet?
We could also try same thing, but this for a second, we do something
like this, move it to the top.
We better do it.
We got to see what's going to happen.
So say we want a lot of tablecloth.
What's that gonna do to us?
How's that going to make us feel?
And hammer's just going to come across
and it's going to come a little lower here.
Let's do that.
Kind of made that too big.
So the scale's a little shut.
And then we got this little guy.
And 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.
So we might have to say, okay, maybe the corner of the tables here.
And then maybe we decided this is like folds in the fabric.
Something like that.
So one example of some just quick thumbnails, let's switch the reference.
So looking at a second reference, same three objects, and just
again, to get an idea of all the different ways you can push it.
So we'll try one where it's pretty standard.
There's a, maybe the back of that table is about the lower third
and try not to overthink it.
We just want to see again how this is how this is going to end up,
kind of comes out a little bit, something like that.
Maybe - we're seeing just light and dark right now.
So that shadow, you might say, well, that's kind of gray.
I'm just going to make a dark.
You can try it.
And you should.
Do some where you think, you know, I'm going to try somewhere, push the
shadows in the light and somewhere, push the shadows in the dark or
or the grays, it doesn't even, we're not even talking about shadow.
It could be a dark handle, maybe the handles 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.
And I got this so close to the edge.
Let's see how that makes us feel here.
So, this is interesting to note
where I stopped at just to the edge versus running something off.
This kind of stuff can add tension and you may, or you may not want that,
but it's important to observe how it makes you feel when you play with it.
All right, let's do one.
Let's move it all the way over so this - let's just see what happens
if we kind of like get that paint tube
in there, stretch shadow, we're going to call that dark for now.
And one thing we can play with is that background is, is actually also dark.
So if we put this little mug in there, say we'll just make this overlap a
little bit, take some liberties and then
see what will happen here can like lose that handle.
We could almost pick it back up if there was a little bit of light on there.
And we could pick up a little bit of light inside the - here we go, and maybe
we're just going to push this into the dark to see what's going to happen.
And you really don't know until you just do it.
You just do it and see what you think.
Finish that off.
And let's bring that down.
Let's just bring this down a little lower cause I got
that - I don't want that tangent.
I want there to be a little bit a spot where it juts down below that line.
So maybe that's one maybe interesting to see what happens if we put the, the hammer
in it, but I kinda like it like that.
Just leave it.
All right next.
Let's try one where the hammer is off the lower plane here.
So it's off the picture plane.
So if it's at an angle, let me just start it.
It's going off, off the page here, out of the view.
And just a little shape like that.
And then we get this guy and last time we tried it, where I chose to put that
gray area on the mug into the shadow or into the dark, into the dark.
That's a distinction we 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 we'll see what happens
and the back plane of that almost tangent.
Let's bring this guy across here and say, we want to see what
happens if that's all in dark mind.
We'll go ahead and let that light show through and we'll
let that show through in light.
And let's see it.
Let's go ahead and put that in.
So this little guy, all right.
And if we're going to let that be all light, let's try it.
Let's just leave the sh let's just see what we think.
So we step back for a second.
This is kind of interesting.
This has a much cooler graphic feel to me though, 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, and these thumbnails, when you, when you're dividing a picture
into light and dark, you, 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.
And the answer to the question is always, you know, what do you want to say?
How does that help or hinder your statement?
There's infinite, infinite statements to make.
What is your statement?
What is your experiment?
This is one experiment.
Something you might want to take note of is, is it mostly in light?
Is it mostly dark?
And let's do, let's do another one here.
Let's have the paint tube off the page.
Let's see what happens.
So we'll just bring this down.
And I'm going to go ahead and put that gray shape in with
the dark family this time.
Yeah, what happens if we lighten that handle?
And we're going real quick.
We're not going to be too fussy with the drawing here.
We just, we want to see the relationships, the bigger, the bigger
picture, put a hammer going this way.
And maybe this part of the hammer this time, I'll let all that be light,
little bit of light showing there.
And we'll let that dark shape just run off the page.
And now let's go ahead and fill this in.
And this is interesting because.
Without planning it, this is ending up kind of cutting across at that 50% line.
The back of the table is sort of cutting the picture plane in half.
Let's see how we like it.
And 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.
All right so let's say we want it to be, let's do the same thing, but
we'll just move it up like that.
So let's keep our objects the same for a second.
We're going to leave this the same.
I think it might be in trouble.
I filled that negative shape and, but it didn't account for the
fact that we're moving something.
And let's just take a quick hammer across the thing, run that off.
But we wanted to see what happened if we move this up.
So I blew it.
This should be light right here.
So this will bleed into dark.
So that's interesting.
So that changes things.
I'm curious what's going to happen if I add this, this shadow to the dark family.
I like that better.
Starting to look kind of cooler and again, just depends.
Totally up to you.
I think the most important thing is to do a bunch of experiments and get really
excited about, about what you want to do.
Let's do one more.
You know, we haven't done any vertical.
I'm going to flip a little post-it.
So this is probably either going to be really small if we fit this
whole thing into a vertical format.
Or we're going to lose something off the edge.
So what should we lose?
Let's say if we get the paint tube in here, we're going
to lose part of the hammer.
Well, let's just try it in vertical.
Get this guy going around.
And let's see, where do we want - maybe we'll move.
Let's see, let's see how funny this looks if we move it up there.
We'll leave a little shape for light right there to hit the handle.
And you may notice in the reference image, these two objects aren't touching.
Let's see how that feels.
And we know we're going to lose a hammer here.
It's going to just be this vertical or, sorry, not really vertical, but
angled element going off the page.
And 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 make changes.
That's what's so great about art, there's there's what's going on
and then it's how it inspires you.
And there's all the space where we get to make those choices, that filter
where it comes through your that's kind of where the magic happens.
So now we've got a lot of empty space down here.
This 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 tension, you know, you may
want to actually try somewhere, you slide this into an overlap situation
where if we did like another.
Just to show you not to do a whole nother thing.
You know, if these two things are so close to touching, you might say, well,
paint tubes my, my story, I want to tell this is about this tube of paint.
And I want to make that more dominant than that mug.
Then one way of doing that is to slide it over.
It might not even really be there.
But no one is going to say, where's your reverence?
In the end, they're going to look at the image you created and the story it tells,
and this is going to exist independently of whatever was happening in life.
So if this isn't quite the relationship you want, scoot it over.
going to get some more out.
And this isn't, this isn't just hazing.
This isn't just, you know, we're not messing with you.
This is a thing.
This is, this is the start of invention.
This is a start of thinking pictorially, the creative process.
And as you move on and start getting into other areas of
art, you'll find yourself here.
So remember, this is fun.
This is experiment.
This is adventure.
This is invention.
We'll we'll, we'll figure it out, you know, at the end, what, what our favorite
design is, but for now, see if you can push yourself and stretch yourself
and, 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
We're moving now from two values to three.
So the light of the post-it is going to be our lightest value.
And then I've got a medium and I've got a dark, and this is to keep things
simple so that I can't get carried away so that I can start doodling or
rendering that I, that I look simply.
So when we look at the reference, we have decisions to make again, in terms
of, you know, 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.
So I'm going to start, let's start one that looks fairly similar,
fairly true to the reference.
So again that paint tube is looking pretty light and let's see the back of the table.
It looks like it's hitting about 50%.
Maybe I'll just move it slightly higher just to see, we will
put it somewhere in here.
And again, we're going to just start and see what we think.
As you're doing this at home, if you can start with a really
specific idea, that's, that's great.
And, and kind of do things to support that, but for now, like even
just kind of playing with that's going to be going to be great here.
So I'm going to say, I'm going to put this into the middle value.
It's a little bit of a middle value here and for just kind of
being pretty true, pretty literal.
Maybe I'll keep this dark for now.
And yeah, I'm getting to noodle.
I'm getting to list.
Let's keep it simple, keeping it simple.
And this is going to connect up here and we see more of the
opening, a little bit of handle.
And something like that.
And if this is a situation gosh, it's so close to the edge to see how we like it.
Let's do I want to just push this all into dark value range
and this guy.
If I squint, you know what, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna make that dark too.
And try not to get too caught up.
It can, it can get so tempting, so tempting to start getting particular.
And this isn't the time to get particular, so try to use the fat
edge of your implement if you can, let's push that into the mid and
then we'll let that be a highlight.
And it felt like it, the, the tabletop.
You know what?
That could be light, but I'm looking at this and I'm kinda, Hmm.
Kind of bored.
I could either push this middle or it can, you know, let's
just put this dark in the back.
Let's see what we think.
So again, trying to go fairly quickly, quickly, not getting too precious here.
Not the time for rendering, the time for playing with relationships.
That's kinda cool.
Let's, let's stop there with that guy.
So that's sort of got everything in there kind of fit on the page.
We got some things getting close to the edge.
Maybe we can try one where we let those things run off the sides.
So let's, let's zoom in on something here.
I kind of like the head of that hammer.
If we make it about the head of the hammer and we wanna see, we can
make it bigger and run off and then have some stuff, let's just try it.
It's like snacks, you got a taste.
You just just got to taste it.
You can drink wine.
It's kind of like that.
All right, so this is going to run off.
I want to make a decision about the head here.
gonna make that all dark.
And then this part,
let's see what we want to make that a little bit of shadow under there.
So it goes something like that.
You know what?
Looks pretty dark.
Let's just go ahead.
Another thing I've I've heard before is if you don't want to see it, don't light it.
So something to keep in mind too.
If we decide we want to show off this, we might want to save our,
our light for just that little area.
And let's see, we get the mug.
Where would the mug go?
Technically, the mug would go here.
Yeah, let's go ahead.
Let's just drop it.
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.
This is going to be, it's going to be a lot of dark, but it might be cool.
What if we put all this into dark
and what if we take our middle.
Now we want to be careful if we leave that light in the mug I wonder
if it's gonna fight for attention.
We want it to be about this.
You know, 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, but that's something
you kind of want to be thinking about.
And maybe this corner is too distracting.
What if we make that middle?
So it kind of blends.
I kind of like that better.
You know, maybe we do the same thing right there.
And it's interesting just to watch what happens to your eye, watch how it
changes as you make those decisions.
Before we get too carried away, next post it, should we try vertical?
So if we want to show off the paint tube, Maybe we could try one where
we get 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 brings, bring us back in.
So if I make the paint to here, you know, something we could 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.
This guy, and we really want this to come over the top.
So it's overlapping if it's our - and you know, this is sort of, kind of a tangent.
Now, 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.
Mabe we bring this down and have that, so it kind of links up.
I know it doesn't actually, but just let's just see what happens.
Let's get our mid value.
Now we're dangerous.
We want this to be about the paint let's let's get rid of some of
that, keep it about the paint.
What happens if we make all this middle?
That all in shadow.
See what happens.
Might have been good to leave a little bit of that, that wasn't too distracting.
All right, so that's one way to do it.
Let's try leaving a big space on one side.
So let's just take these shapes.
Let's run the paint off the top, just to make this real simple.
And this guy just make him stick out a little past that just to see.
And maybe it's better if it overlaps a little bit that come across.
And just to give it a little - okay.
All right, we got that.
Let's make that under there.
We'll just kind of fill that in.
We got a little opening here and 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.
You know what I'm going to use the dark here.
Get a little more complex in the cup and hammer.
See ya later.
So that's interesting.
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 will
like what you like about something and what you want to emphasize.
It's, it's not bad to do a million of these, but it is nice sometimes to have
an intention and you start with planning, 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, what you want to say, I feel like that is really important.
So for now, again, we're experimenting, but just keep that in your back pocket.
Cause later you, you know, you're going to want to be doing this
probably to some specific end.
And that's important to sit down and think about before you even start.
And I think Bill's, Bill's going to get more into that as well.
All right, let's do another one.
So we've got something going off the bottom and get something going up.
So let's what if we scoot everything up to the top?
Maybe that's a good way to look at it.
What if, I don't know if you guys, I remember the first day of school,
but 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 what
if, you know, it goes on and on, and maybe this is the place for that.
So maybe there's 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.
so we'll make this get dark again.
So we've got, let's try.
What if we lose that all in the darkness, what would happen?
What would happen?
So if we wanted to try that, 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 it will look like.
What if it's just gone?
Could it be really strong with just some highlights.
All of that would be gone.
All of this, boom, gone.
It might've been better to have some similar directional strokes.
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 get emphasized that part sticking out right there.
That could be kind of cool.
Let's just try a little mid value.
Kind of interesting.
What if we close all this out, see what happens to our emphasis.
So we kind of lose this cool thing and kind of come back,
come back to the hammer there.
Let's do one more.
What if we only see this part of the cap?
And it's resting on something and look what could gets to be
in the middle all of a sudden.
So this is a pretty clear example of dominance versus subordinates.
Just crop the whole thing out.
Although, if you change the light and dark pattern, you can, you can
probably still play with it, but let's see what happens if we just kinda
let the mugs sit in the middle hair.
So I'm just gonna 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 there.
And I kinda like maybe a dark.
So it would be cool if this is going to be dark on dark.
Maybe we want to just leave like a little spot for a highlight on there.
Kinda let that come in from the side.
It might be cool to work with some gradients too.
I'm just, I'm trying to keep it a little bit more simple for now,
but you can do anything you want.
So we got that cup.
What do you guys think?
Let's just close that off.
I don't want that to fight for attention.
So what's interesting is there's a shadow, so there's a dark shape here that's being
cast from where this touches the ground, but we can't, it's kinda off camera.
This is a cool thing to remember though.
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 put it gray, let's make it gray.
Now this is really light.
What can we do let 's - should we make it lighter?
And that's a lot of dark, but let's do it.
Kind of like the let's go home.
Let's just do a little.
Something like that.
So that's kind of fun.
Let's do another round with another reference.
So this one, we're just going to check out the reference for a second.
Now this one, we have some opportunities to play.
We've got a lot of light hits that hammer.
So if you squint and you see it.
It kinda, it kinda changes it a little more from the last
one's got a lot of reflective properties, so it looks super light.
And again, you can take it or leave it.
Cause 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, to start.
Something to get you started.
So let's get started.
Let's stay loose.
Let's try to not get seduced by all those awesome little shapes.
Because we're looking for the big picture here.
Sorry about the sound effect.
So in reality, this - there's a space here.
There's space between these two guys.
Okay, so this looks pretty dark
So we got overlap here.
I got a little sloppy with where the back of that table plane is.
Pushed it to the right.
It looks like.
So 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.
So observing that this dark goes behind there.
That's kind of nice how they're all connected together and you
can re create those if you want to connect them in another way.
So just kind of, as you do these, you may be, you know, starting off
really literally before you start to
change it up, which is what I did.
I'm starting to kind of literal just to get, get going, but as I'm doing it,
I'm going, Oh, well, that's how this is, but that could be an opportunity, you
know, maybe I want to change something later and connect them a different way.
So just kind of taking notes as you get going too
Two can be super helpful for later.
Even if you sort of start off a little more literal.
All right now 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, could get a little more mid value here all right.
So maybe that's our first one and let's see what we think.
Oh, no, it's all right.
It's not too exciting.
I think we can, we can play with that and see if we can make it more interesting.
You know, what's, what's funny is having this full hammer handle fit on the
plane may actually make it seem shorter, so let's stick it off and see if that
changes our impression of things at all.
If you got something like a tall, vertical, and you want
to emphasize it, pushing it off
the picture will probably affect how we view it.
Now this one has a little space between, we'll keep that for now
and this overlaps the corner.
Just being quick.
Try not to get too caught up.
This is almost like tangent to that line.
I think I'm going to bring this over just a little bit.
Maybe do we want the paint to go off the edge too?
Well, we kinda, yeah, we kind of have to.
So won't probably read as well.
I started that hammer so high if I crop it off.
So let's just leave it like that for now.
I'm trying to use that broad side again, so I don't get too careful.
Don't want to be too noodley.
Little bit of light there.
so this is going to give you guys some ideas.
Hopefully I do a bunch of them and you think of even better
ones while you're sitting there.
A little bit of dark, maybe in there.
I like that connection there.
So I'm a little bored.
That's going off the edge.
Maybe I'll do that.
And then what if, what if we just do this whole thing in mid value?
So it looks like right now, this gets a lot of attention.
That's kind of cool.
Kind of all shoved at the top.
I feel like it's setting the stage for like a mouse to run past us.
Let's do one.
Let's push everything over this way.
Just do a simple shape.
I kind of like something leaving the picture plane.
This we can - let's play with this a little bit.
So this space between here.
What happens if we overlap it?
I bet it might look kind of busy, but let's, let's do it so we know.
Yeah, 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?
Let's should probably make this one really long too.
Okay we got that in.
Some dark, opportunity to kind of connect things together here.
Let's make this.
And we can kinda show that.
Ooh, but I gotta be careful.
You see it's starting to get into details.
This isn't about details.
What have we not tried?
So let's see.
What if we may make, yeah,
Just make this shadow.
Because it might be cool to see - I don't know.
I feel like there's 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?
Yeah, kinda like, it maybe helps our eye find that shape
Next post it?
You guys still there.
We liked that knifey edge of the hammer.
What did we just like zoom on it?
What would that look like?
We don't want it leaving right at the corner.
What if it comes kind of like that?
So it's going to be somewhere in here.
It's going to have that.
It's going to have strong angle.
And so 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, but okay.
Now we're gonna have that same decision to make, do we want it to overlap?
Do we want it to be a part?
Maybe we can make it overlap, but a greater distance from here.
So what if we want that line coming in and then leaving like that,
something like that and that paint tube I did like it overlapping a
little more because that gives us an opportunity for a light against a dark.
And that tangent, if we put that line straight here, we'll do it - 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.
And let's cover this whole thing in mid value here.
Maybe just a little bit something on that guy.
Maybe we have only a little going off the page.
What if we just kind of emphasize that there.
So in this case, this is our star.
These guys are supporting cast.
See, we got a little bit of a dark coming off here.
I want to bring attention back to this.
Kind of want to lose some of that.
What if we do this this time?
All right before we get too carried away rendering, we got that.
And if we want this light against dark, what if we, what if we actually make
this like a band or something here?
Just to get it to pop a little more?
So 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.
So with this guy, or maybe we'll put it up next door, but this guy we can try to.
I 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 lands up?
It's almost more like this.
I'm going to knock stuff down.
So here, if this comes right in line,
just notice just 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 still keep an eye out for there.
There may be instances where you, 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 and just, just to show this kind of looks weird.
So just be aware and make a decision.
But yeah, this, this almost feels like an accident.
So let's do one that we didn't do on purpose look like an accident.
So we've tried, let's see this guy's kind of pushed up, this
guy's kind of pushed over.
What else can we do?
We zoomed, we zoomed in a little on the hammer.
What if we invert all of these seem to have a dark background and that's
true to the - true to the reference.
We should probably flip it just to see what happens.
Let's try one of them.
Well, let's do
this guy coming down.
Go ahead and put the plane there.
Let's see, we've moved this to overlap.
What if we move it the other direction?
So it doesn't overlap so that our hammer blade part
just misses it.
Something like that instead.
So now we want to see what will happen if we have a light background.
I guess we could connect it with the shadow, but we kind of want to see
what'll happen if there's space, right?
So let's not, let's purposely leave a little bit of space here.
So that's going to be dark.
Or this is going to be light.
Let's make this foreground our mid value.
Quick using that side of the marker.
These markers are cool.
They've got kind of a bunch of different ways you can use them.
I guess we're gonna leave that light.
So now we have this light maybe we want this dark.
We could even do a dark and a mid.
Let's see, should I let that go off?
So let's do it, like
- kind of comes down here and
let that go off like that.
Maybe just a touch of dark.
And so we've got light here, so let's do a mid against that, coming off of this.
So this light, you know, I don't like, 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.
And what if we, what if we push this
and then maybe like another.
Maybe we can include a little show in that contour and a show.
So just drawing a little indication to show volume here, kind of
wrapping through that form.
Just take a quick look at it.
Maybe we want to lose that light there.
So this is a different, maybe it's a kind of higher key.
We'll talk more about that later, but it's a lighter, there's more
light than dark on this one and it has a totally different look.
Yeah, it's kind of more chill sitting on your counter during the day.
Some of these were more dramatic
if you look where we've used more dark.
So a lot of different ways you could do it.
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Reference Images (14)
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1. Setting Up Your Still Life22m 35sNow playing...
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2. Learning Recommendation24s
3. Creating 2-Value Still Life Thumbnails21m 38s
4. Creating 3-Value Still Life Thumbnails I24m 39s
5. Creating 3-Value Still Life Thumbnails II17m 39s