Sessions #5 – shades of a shadow

This was a study in values, ranging across six different shades of light and dark:

  • highlight – the brightest part of the drawing
  • midtones – the range of tones still in the light area but darker than the highlight
  • shadow edge – separates the portion that is directly in light (the highlight and midtones) from the portion that is cast in shadow; it is almost like a dividing line
  • cast shadow – the shape of the area defined by the object’s shadow; darkest portion is immediately next to the object that is casting the shadow
  • core shadow – where the cast shadow and midtones meet and touch; it is the darkest part of a shadow on an object but it is never completely black
  • reflected light – darker than the midtones while being the lightest areas of the cast shadow

I’ve done this exercise before with styrofoam balls, but this was my first time using an egg. There was something intriguing about using the egg – it had beads of perspiration on its shell by the time I finished the drawings, and it had a tendency to roll towards me, as my desk is in room with an ever-so-slightly slanted floor.

In all the drawings I did as part of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, there was always a ground placed on the page prior to drawing. This made it much easier for me to create a range of shades. However, the purpose of this exercise was to build up the value and the form using hatching and cross-hatching as well as planning around the highlights.”

actual egg 1

drawn egg 1

actual egg 2

drawn egg 2


4 thoughts on “Sessions #5 – shades of a shadow

  1. synapsesensations Post author

    Hi Ken,

    I have had a curious response to taking this online Sessions class. Curious in that I was so governed by the fact that the assignments were graded, I seem to have forgone the relaxation of drawing. You are quite accurate with your comments about the egg, though the online teacher graded me 100% because I met whatever his criteria were for the drawing. However, while participating in the online class got me sketching, it was not a joyful experience – it felt more like the pressure of school!

    The benefit that did come from the taking the class is that I (re)learned how to look at objects and light sources, the latter which I will try to incorporate in my future sketches.


  2. Ken Allan

    Kia ora e Laurie!

    I see lines of your thought in the eggs that you draw. These lines came from your brain, not your eyes.

    By using linearity to define an edge between what your brain tells you is egg and what is not egg, you cheat your eye.

    When your brain tells you there must be a boundary there so draw it, let your eyes tell you differently.

    Forget the line of the boundary and shade/cross-hatch towards it – without drawing any boundary. Where the shading/cross-hatching stops will be your boundary between egg and no egg.


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