A Drawing A Day 0839

The following is a black chalk drawing on toned Fabriano Accademia paper,
50 x 70cm

Progress Shot 10

Ok, so, slight changes in working out the light on the trunk of the leftmost figure. Especially pushing the darks and lights. It is important to establish what will be the darkest dark and the lightest light in the drawing, because in order to present a logical harmony all the values in the drawing will fall somewhere between those two extremes. Even if the lightest light is one single dot of a highlight and the darkest dark just one dot in a skin fold, somehow we perceive it and our brain creates a scale of values. For the drawing magic to work, it has to have an acceptable logic, such as, similar places in similar conditions must have similar values. The very simplified explanation would be: What is turned away from light is darker (let’s omit reflected light for the moment) and what faces light is lighter. If all the shapes in the drawing follow this rule, then our brain can work out the source of light and the magic happens. If there’s no consistency, the drawing becomes messy and looses believability. This is quite a problem when one is trying to draw the figure in an environment where there are 2, 3, 4, 5, or more sources of light. Next time you do life drawing, look around how many lights are in the room. Is there also daylight coming in? How many cast shadows does a single arm have?

But back to the image below. So, while leaving alone the middle and the rightmost figure, I experiment with the extremes. The darkest dark, such as the skin fold on the lower abdomen and the lightest light, such as the highlights on the knee and lower leg – both of the highlights were created only by erasing the water colour tone, thus exposing slightly the white paper underneath. I try to visualise what it would be like if I follow the same set of values across all three figures. What will it do to the background? Will I keep the depth roughly the same? The knee and the lower leg are closer to the observer than the shoulders and face. According to the aerial perspective the contrast of the extremes should be more pronounced in the front than in the back. Should I try to create a sense of space that way? Hmmm…quite a few decisions to make.

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