The "How to Draw" Series, Part Ten: Finding the Darkest Darks and the Lightest Lights

A few of you have asked me how I begin shading my drawings after doing a contour drawing (an outline-only drawing, which I describe in this post), so I thought I would talk about how I approach shading in this lesson.

Basically, I begin by finding the darkest darks.  I look at my object or photo that I am drawing, and I determine where the darkest shadows are.  Then I draw those in first.  As you can see below, the darkest spots of the drawing are the areas around the eyes, the pupils, the bottom of the nose, the upper lip, and the sides of the face where the hair and face meet:

Those dark areas are the ones I drew first. Next, I laid in the middle values - the rest of the hair, and the shading around the eyes  Finally, I added some light shadows on each side of the forehead and on the left of the face (the subject's right side).  The rest of the face - most of the forehead and the right side of the face - is left white, since it is the lightest light of the drawing.

Here is a little exercise you can do to do the whole thing in reverse: grab a toned sheet of paper (black, tan, or brown kraft paper) and a white colored pencil.  Now start drawing with the lightest lights first!  It will be challenging since it is not the normal way of doing things, but it will provide a great learning experience.

I hope you had fun with today's lesson!

This post is part of the “How to Draw” Series, a free E-Course I offer on my blog with new lessons every Friday.  I create these totally free of charge in order to help get people making art and enjoying their creativity.  If you like these lessons, please leave a comment below or help me grow my audience by clicking the orange Stumble Upon icon below.   

Thanks so much for joining me!


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