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Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I

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lovingthedark
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Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Oct. 16th, 2012 @ 06:28 PM Reply

I want to help all the beginning artists that come here looking for help improving, but as I don't often find the time to give them the kind of help they need I'm putting some basic lessons here for everyone to get.

I'm starting you all on basic exercises so they will seem boring, but their simplicity will serve you best in the long run as the form the foundation for later skills.

Contrast is what makes images pop, and while there a bunch of different kinds of contrast, the contrast of value (dark against light) is possibly the most important. So today let's focus on value and shading. For more general tips, look here.

I work mostly in traditional media myself so that's how these are written up. If you prefer to do these exercises digitally that's fine, but I want you to stick to greyscale. Color and saturation distract the mind from value, which is what you're trying to master here. Also, use only the brush tool- no burning, dodging, or blurring, as a dependence on these will only handicap you later. Get in the habit of working at 300 dpi, which is what you need if you ever want to print your work. Don't save as a jpeg except when getting ready to put it online, as jpegs are extremely lossy and the image will degrade.

Exercise 1- Value scales
You'll need
-a ruler
-drawing materials- Charcoal or pencil, drawing paper, and an eraser (white plastic or kneading). If charcoal, use vine or willow (not white or compressed).

Using a ruler, mark off ten one inch squares adjacent to each other.
Your goal here is to make an even scale from dark to light.
Shade the first square as dark as you can get it. Leave the last square blank.

This is a good example of what I want, except that the artist here has a bit too big a jump between the first and second shades and the midtones are all too close. I think you can do better. Make the values as evenly spaced as possible.

Exercise 2- Drawing a Sphere.
You'll need
-a sphere of some sort- I want you to look at a real object for this rather than just copying from one of these drawings, since part of what I want you to learn from this exercise is how to draw from observation.
A golf ball would probably best since it has so little surface texture to distract you, but I guess any sphere will do.
-drawing materials- Charcoal or pencil, drawing paper, and an eraser (white plastic or kneading). If charcoal, use vine or willow (not white or compressed).

You'll be focusing on lighting for this, so put the ball somewhere with a stable light source where you can see it easily and it won't be jostled.

Next, draw the sphere
I want you to draw the sphere and make careful note of all the lighting. Include the shadows cast by the spheres.

Check out the diagrams here and here

Look at the sphere and find out where the very darkest point is and where the very lightest point is, and make them your darkest darks (completely filled in pencil) and your lightest lights or highlights (the white of the page).

Reflected light from around the room will make some of the shadows lighter than you'd expect, mainly around the edges.
The cast shadow will be deeper the closer it is to the base of the object, but depending on the light source that may not be very noticable.

If you need more help figuring out how to do this there are some overly complicated instructions here, but I think you should be able to manage with just what i've given you and by looking at the sphere and the shadows and back at your paper.

These skills can then be applied very simply to more complex objects.

Good luck and happy arting! Feel free to post work in the thread here for feedback.


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Oct. 16th, 2012 @ 06:55 PM Reply

Ooh, rightious... I'll be working on this later :3


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 6th, 2012 @ 08:47 PM Reply

Well, maybe I could bump this for some other people to see the good stuff here.

Had to fuck around with the levels in photoshop

Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I

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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 01:20 PM Reply

Something to consider:
Where is your darkest dark? Where is your lightest light? Generally you want your darkest dark to be as dark as your materials will allow and the light to be the lightest- usually the white of the paper- for maximum contrast.

Jonny, you've done a decent job with your transitions, but your drawing is pretty flat value-range-wise and I think you could stand to deepen the shadows beneath the sphere, so that they're darkest next to the sphere and get softer as they get farther away.

Sorry it took me a few days to get you feedback.


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 03:33 PM Reply

Here's mine. I think everyone has seen this already, but whatever.

Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 04:05 PM Reply

At 11/10/12 03:33 PM, HiryuGouki wrote: Here's mine. I think everyone has seen this already, but whatever.

needs more highlight on the light area.. whats the irregular white line in the dark area all about? makes the sphere look less spherey


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 07:21 PM Reply

At 11/10/12 04:05 PM, Tomsan wrote:
At 11/10/12 03:33 PM, HiryuGouki wrote: Here's mine. I think everyone has seen this already, but whatever.
needs more highlight on the light area.. whats the irregular white line in the dark area all about? makes the sphere look less spherey

It's supposed to be reflected light from the surface the sphere is sitting on. Since there is no ground plane and no cast shadow, the purpose is sort of defeated. It's also a little too bright. It jumps immediately from core shadow, which is too dark in the first place, to reflected light without any gradation in between. That's probably what's taking away from the form. I would recommend using a dark gray instead of black as the core shadow, gradation between the values, and a cast shadow to imply a surface.

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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 10:19 PM Reply

Here ya go...I corrected some errors and added a little pizzazz to it.

Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 10:35 PM Reply

At 11/10/12 10:19 PM, HiryuGouki wrote: Here ya go...I corrected some errors and added a little pizzazz to it.

What's with the dark ring around it? And the shadow doesn't seem to start at the bottom of the sphere as it ought.


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 10th, 2012 @ 10:47 PM Reply

At 11/10/12 10:35 PM, lovingthedark wrote:
At 11/10/12 10:19 PM, HiryuGouki wrote: Here ya go...I corrected some errors and added a little pizzazz to it.
What's with the dark ring around it? And the shadow doesn't seem to start at the bottom of the sphere as it ought.

Just thought it would be nice to add. I did start at the bottom, though. But, Due to the fact that it's a white floor, I slightly erased some of the shadow on the bottom to make the light of the floor reflect onto the sphere. Also, the dark band around it gives it a more metallic feel in my opinion. I guess you could imagine it as a steel ball or something.


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Response to Jessie Teaches Art- Lesson I Nov. 11th, 2012 @ 01:51 AM Reply

At 11/10/12 10:47 PM, HiryuGouki wrote:
At 11/10/12 10:35 PM, lovingthedark wrote: What's with the dark ring around it? And the shadow doesn't seem to start at the bottom of the sphere as it ought.
Just thought it would be nice to add. I did start at the bottom, though. But, Due to the fact that it's a white floor, I slightly erased some of the shadow on the bottom to make the light of the floor reflect onto the sphere. Also, the dark band around it gives it a more metallic feel in my opinion. I guess you could imagine it as a steel ball or something.

Metal balls reflect the room they're in- unless there's some kind diagonal horizon in there, it doesn't make sense.
Also the shadow of the sphere will still need to be darkest at the base of the sphere where the sphere is closest to the ground, where the least light is hitting.


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