Creating shadows using lines and marks

Creating shadows using lines and marks

Robert Kaupelis writes, ‘there is no doubt that line is the basic element in the majority of drawings. After line, the most important drawing element is light and dark.’



In this exercise I chose a basic cereal bowl to copy in four different mediums: 5B pencil, Indian Ink & dip pen, Biro pen and ink pen. The bowl I chose was a very dark grey so in order for me to really distinguish the darkest parts I squinted my eyes and chose to just do the darkest areas using techniques such as cross-hatching, lines and the occasional scribble to give the depth and definition to the bowl. I enjoyed using these different materials, however looking back on each sketch I can see that all the lines and marks used to create the shadows were all too similar. I felt I needed to extend out of my comfort zone and try different mark techniques.


As a result I used a biro pen and experimented a little more with mark making before I moved on to the second half of this exercise. I enjoyed letting loose a little on this page and intend to extend my shading techniques that beyond lines and blending.


Upon further study of Kaupelis’ book ‘Experimental Drawing‘ he talks about negative space and how artists see the background and the subject matter as one continuous entity. I tried to add this into my drawing of three eggs. Instead of drawing the basic lines on the eggs I lightly shaded the area around the eggs.


I then restrained using basic lines to begin with and started by using marks to enhance the darkest parts of the eggs in the hopes to give them a more 3 dimensional shape. I found this exercise a little more difficult as I had no foundation line to work from, as a result I feel that I have over worked my cross-hatching and the eggs no longer look so uniform but have taken on an abstract form to represent what I had seen. I worked quickly and feel I could have slowed down my technique and thought a little more of where I was going to place my lines. Overall I enjoyed this exercise as it encouraged me to think and act outside of my comfort zone. I will continue to push myself and explore new techniques throughout future projects.


As Robert Kaupelis says at the beginning of this post finding the light and dark – the shading as it will is a fundamental part of drawing. Looking back on the last two exercises, I have come to learn the difference between mid tones and the low tones. I have spent more time looking at the shading as its own individual drawing that eventually helps make up the bigger picture. I feel that this has enhanced my drawing technique for the better so far and hope to continue to work of this and develop it more so that I am able to give a better, more realistic representation of what I am drawing.