Circle to ball, shape to form

For this exercise we had to draw three identical circles and shade each one with the light coming from a different angle transforming the flat circle into a ball with a cast shadow.

I tried a few different techniques here, all using graphite pencils.


I found it quite difficult to make the reflected light look natural, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m concentrating on that area too much.  I like the technique in the top middle circle as I tried to use little horizontal strokes to see if it would make a difference to the curve of the ball.

Having done a faint ‘scribbly’ effect in one of the Georges Seurat drawings (Tone and Georges Seurat) I wondered how that would translate to a ball drawing. I decided to draw in biro as I have a tendency to erase pencil if it’s not quite perfect and I didn’t want that option with a scribbly piece, I wanted it to look organic.


I like the movement of the pen marks, it looks structured but chaotic.  This would be a good technique for getting across emotion or anger.  I’d like to have a go at doing portraits in this style to see what kind of atmosphere it creates.

Observing light and shadow (5th April 2018)

This exercise is all about observing the main areas of light and dark on two simple objects lit from one side.  Firstly, we had to make some sketches looking at gradation of light and and concentrating on shadows over the whole surface of the objects, including reflected light.


On the final piece I put down a mid-tone over both objects, then drew in faint shapes of shadows and reflections, concentrating on where two or more shadows overlap and where a reflection of light breaks up a shadow.  I don’t think I have ever observed two items as closely as I did with this.  The reflection of light in the shadow of the handle is not something I would previously have noticed, but it adds another depth to the drawing.

I also looked at the reflection between the two objects – the apple reflecting on the cup was interesting as it made one of the darker sides of the mug appear to have less depth as the reflection of the apple was darker and therefore draws the eye in to that area.


Although this image was mainly lit from quite low on the right hand side, due to skylights and a wall of windows there were a few light sources, but not as strong as the one from the right.  This created various paler shadows and added of a variety of tone and due to this my favourite section is the shadow of the apple coming towards us, having a flash of light at the base of the apple and then the darkest point of the picture to the bottom left of the apple.  The reflection of the handle looks a little awkward, but I was determined to draw what I could see, rather than what would be pleasing to the eye.

When I first started with the sketches of my chosen objects I was unsure about choosing the apple as I thought the texture and markings might detract from the tone, and although it did take a while to try and get it to a point that I was okay with, looking at the completed drawing now, I think it adds interest more than a second smooth surfaced object would have done.  I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot from this exercise, especially in my observational skills, but also in the way of working from a mid-tone and darkening areas or lifting off to create lighter areas.  I used kitchen paper and a tortillon to try and merge some of the areas of tone for a smoother, more natural look, and I think the unblended areas really stand out as a result of that eg the dark shadow on the left of the apple.

Working in reverse (16th & 18th April 2018)

For the final piece we have to cover an A3 piece of paper in charcoal or graphite and work in reverse to produce an image by erasing some of the tone and adding it in where needed.

Firstly, I did some experimental pieces using charcoal.  I shaded a few squared areas in different dark tones to see which would be the easiest to work with, but soon found that the palest one of the three I’d drawn out was in fact dark enough and possibly even too dark.  I then attempted a further two, much paler ones.  I used different erasers to see which had the better effect, and for me it was a more maleable putty eraser from Hobbycraft, although a Koh-i-nor one was good at creating sharp lines, rather than lifting of a shaded area.


I then thought that graphite might be easier to work with as I’ve found it easier to ‘lift off’ in previous projects.  I went for a 5B pencil to create the mid-tone background and then began experimenting with different erasers again.  This time I found that the eraser lifted off too much of the background colour and I ended up re-working the areas to put some darker tones back in.  Charcoal seems to lift off in layers, so it’s easier to create various ranges of tone from lifting off rather than adding back in.