Thursday, June 13, 2013

Drawing People Summer Art Class - Day 4

Day 4 - Light and Shadow

We've learned several ways already to improve our drawings of people. And today we are taking our drawings one step further by creating DEPTH with light and shadow.

Notice how each skill builds on to what we've already learned. First we learned where things go, then we learned what to put in those spaces where things go, now we'll learn how to create the lights and shadows on the features that go in the spaces. (I seriously love this process!!)

Our warm up exercise today was to begin a "Value" page in our sketchbooks. I had the kids each do their own value scale. I know there are tons out there that you can print, but I find that having them make their own really reinforces the concept and helps each artist to get a feel for the way they want to express dark and light values in their drawings.

I have them draw a long narrow rectangle on their page and divide it into 5 sections and label them 1-5. Section #1 is the highlight so we leave it blank and let the white of our paper be the highlight. Section #5 is our darkest value. Once you've filled in #5, fill in section #3 with a value right between #1 and #5. Then fill in #2 with a nice light value that's exactly between your #1 and #3. Then section #4 with a medium dark value that's right between your #3 and #5. I find that going in this order 1,5,3,2,4 is much more effective than going straight 1through 5.

Here's a sample of one of the students value scale:
We also talked a little about hatching and stippling. Notice her comment about stippling ("for crazy people")--yeah, I kind of agree. I just don't have the patience for that. :)

I then asked them to draw some circles on the page. Some as lightly as they could and some quite dark--trying for about a #5 on the value scale. I did this because I have some students that draw very lightly and need to be pushed to go darker and I have some that draw very darkly (dark? 'darkly' sounds weird) all the time and need to practice a lighter touch.

We looked closely at our trusty picture of Nicole Kidman and identified all the specific value areas.

And now onto the Head Template page to get some hands on practice:
On one of the faces we divided it up by value. We did this by using symbols for each value and this page can be used as a reference for future drawings. We talked about light source and we concentrated on three values--dark (a #5 on our value scale), medium ( a #3) and highlight (#1). And of course there's millions of values in between, but I find that breaking a drawing down into those 3 values at first is a great way to simplify and begin. Then you can go back in and add all the subtle in-betweens. (The middle part where you get to add in all the subtle value differences is my favorite part of a drawing!)

Recognizing values and value subtleties takes practice. That's why we approached this concept in a couple different ways.

Then on the other face on our template page we did what I call the Eraser Method. Here are the steps in photographs:

I love this method and use it on most of my pencil drawings of the face. It's a great way to get your light/medium value down quickly, efficiently, and evenly. Then it's just a matter of "drawing" the highlights with your eraser and then adding in your deep values and details.

I think the students were surprised at how great their faces looked! I like to take their drawings and hold them up a few feet away from the kids so they can see it from a bit of a distance and see just how much depth and realism they are creating.

Sometimes when you're so focused on your drawing, you forget to step back and appreciate it and look at it from a far. I also always encourage the kids to look around at everyone else's drawings too. I love to see them learn from each other!

No specific assignment for tonight. Just the usual...practice, practice, practice.

Tomorrow, our last day of class, we put everything together and do a final drawing and then compare that to our drawings from Day1. This is always very fun and rewarding! It's amazing to see how much they improve with just a week of instruction and some basic skills!!

Then if we have time, we'll do some funky faces and break all these rules we just learned. :)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for sharing your awesome ideas!I wrote about how we used your resources in my junior high art room on my blog.


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