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Introduction to Drawing - Value

Shading with Graphite Pencil

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tonal drawing

A tonal drawing of a pair of old boots.

If you have worked through the first two parts of the Beginner's drawing course, you should be getting pretty confident with drawing three-dimensional objects. Now we are going to look at values -light and shade, highlight and shadow, and mark-making. You've already had a bit of a look at mark-making in part one, but now we want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your pencil.

Materials - What do you need?
For this section of the course, you can get by with regular sketch paper, though as you progress you may want to try some better quality drawing paper or Bristol board. You will also need a bigger range of drawing pencils. You will need several grades, and should have at least a B, 2B and 4B. For finer work an H for subtle tones, and consider adding a 2H and 6B if you can. Whenever I specify a grade of pencil in a lesson, use the closest one you have, as the value range of each pencil overlaps. Results will also depend on your own handling of the pencil, whether you have a light or heavy touch.

Value Drawing - Seeing Light and Shade
Lifelike drawing means more than adding shading to a line sketch. Find out more about the difference between line drawing and tonal value drawing.

Shading Exercise - Matching Newsprint Values
Great to do at home or in the classroom, this drawing activity gives practice in matching tonal values, using a newspaper photo as a guide.

Value Drawing Exercise
Focus on using value instead of line, and build an atmospheric drawing using values beginning with a base of mid-value shading, erasing lights and adding darks.

Improve Your Range of Tone
Practice exploiting a full range of tonal values with this simple exercise.

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