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Drawing Exercise - Newspaper Shading
A fun tonal drawing exercise for adults and kids

When I was looking for kid-friendly drawing exercises, a schoolteacher relative of mine suggested this tonal drawing exercise that was a great hit with her class. The only difficulty is finding black-and-white images - they use so much color these days! (I've used an old photograph to show you what the exercise looks like in progress, as copyright prohibits me publishing a newspaper photograph)

drawing exercise - tonal shading

Objective: To practice shading by matching tones to those on the newspaper image, avoiding linear drawing and concentrating on tone.

What You Need:

  • An A4 Sheet of sketching paper
  • A newspaper black-and-white picture, approx A4 or smaller (not too small)
  • 2H, HB, B, 2B and 4B pencils
  • Eraser
  • tortillon for blending
  • a gluestick

Time Taken: About 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the image

What You Do: First, tear (or cut) a large section off the image. This may be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, irregular, even a strip through the middle, depending on what part of the image you want to have to draw. Glue the part you aren't drawing to your paper, leaving enough space for the removed section to be drawn. Using the torn-off piece as a reference, complete the picture by using shading to continue the tones from the existing edge of the picture.

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