Sunday, 29 September 2013

Keys to Drawing – Chapter 4

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4E
60 Minutes
19 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
33cm x 20.5cm (13" x 9")

Chapter 4 of Keys to Drawing is called “The Illusion of Light”. It is primarily about using light and shadow to model an object.

The goal is to draw an object that appears 3-dimensional and solid. This is the same as the objective for modelled drawings in The Natural Way to Draw (see The Last Post for an example). The intention is the same, but there is a major difference between the approaches:

  • In Keys to Drawing, Bert Dodson emphasises the accurate observation of light and shadow
  • In the Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicolaides uses an imagined physical contact with the subject as the basis for modelling (see Modelled Drawing)

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4A
15 Minutes
2 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
29cm x 38cm (11.5" x 15")

In Chapter 4, Bert Dodson explains the basic logic of light and shadow:
When light shines on an object, it creates a light side, a shadow side and a cast shadow. Often there is a lighter area on the shadow side caused by reflected light.
He also introduces the strategy of Mapping:
Draw the areas of light and shadow on the subject as though they are territories on a map
Dodson suggests initially drawing the shapes with clearly defined edges and then to soften the boundaries with less distinct edges as you refine the drawing.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4B
60 Minutes
4 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
39cm x 29cm (15.5" x 11.5")

The chapter is the usual well-balanced mix of text and exercises. As well as explaining the basic drawing techniques, it also includes advice about using light and shadow to create mood and interest in a picture.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4C
60 Minutes
9 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
29cm x 38cm (11.5" x 15")

There are 6 exercises:

  • 4A - mapping drawings
  • 4B - light and form
  • 4C - head in strong lighting
  • 4D - light and mood
  • 4E - cast shadow
  • 4F - merging shadows

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4F
60 Minutes
26 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
27cm x 37cm (10.5" x 14.5")

I struggled with the exercises when I first tried them in 2009, but this time they were much more enjoyable. In exercises 4C and 4F I deliberately sacrificed accurate proportions and drawing a likeness to give myself more time to focus on the modelling.

Keys to Drawing - Exercise 4B 2009
28 October 2009
Graphite Pencil on Paper
17cm x 18cm (7.5" x 7")

There is no picture for exercise 4D. Dodson suggests this is more of a long-term project. It involves drawing (or painting) the same landscape in three distinctly different lighting conditions. I am planning to have a go at this in the next few weeks.

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