Observing shadow using blocks of tone

Observing shadow using blocks of tone


The two items I chose again were from the kitchen, they were a biscuit tin and a tapas bowl. I chose these two items as they were both spherical in shape, however their materials, sizes and colours differ greatly and I wanted to try and experiment to see if I could convey this with just charcoal whilst drawing the eye to the shadows and light that give them their depth.


White A2 drawing paper, materials used: Pencil, willow charcoal stick

I first started with a quick sketch of the items and the using my charcoal I blocked in the darkest shadows with their rough position and shape. As you can see my subject matter was taking a break from their position (as I kept knocking the table they were on). I was quite nervous to block in the darkest sections first as I am always wanting to start light and work in darker, however once I’d blocked in the shapes I found it a good starting point to start adding in my mid tones, with the intention of leaving the highlights the colour of the paper.


As you can see in the picture above I started to add the mid tones. I noticed that as I observed the biscuit tin the low tones of it were quite curved in nature whereas the mid tones seemed more opposite and were much more vertical, so I found it quite testing to shade and smooth them together to create a continuous blending of the shape whilst maintaining the integrity of what each tone was showing me.


Final Piece – Material: willow charcoal stick

Looking at the final project I am pleased with the outcome. I feel I was able to maintain each tones integrity whilst still adding the depth to the shape of the biscuit tin. I found the lip in the tapas bowl somewhat difficult to keep changing the tones of shading on a narrow surface whilst still getting a continual curve in two directions.

The double shading created by the tapas bowl onto the biscuit tin was quite satisfying to complete as it’s such a contrast to the light colour shown by the lamp’s reflection, it didn’t start to look like a completed drawing until this was added. You can see on the lid of the tin there is a slight reflection of the lamp that I struggled to include and as a result didn’t spend too much time on it as I was worried I would spoil the picture.

I added slight marking to show my objects were stood on a pint table however I wanted the main focus to be the objects themselves so my adding of the table was light and quickly done. This was the first picture I enjoyed drawing in willow charcoal stick. Normally I have avoided this medium as I have struggled to show real control. I know I have much more work to do in order to mater drawing in charcoal but I am pleased that this exercises has given me such a confidence boost that I will hopefully continue to use charcoal for my other work as well as spend more time on perfecting the reflection of shapes that bounce off my subject matter.