Shading the pear

I had two gos because it was difficult to see the edge of the shadow. the pears was dappled with brown, too, which complicated matters.

A pear
Another pear

So these drawings look okay from a distance (sse the small version below), despite their simplicity. Really important to get the basic tonal areas right.

A pear

Drawing of a pear

A good approach here in this irregular ovoid was to pretend the outline was a series of straight lines. That really helped.

A pear

I’ll do the shading tomorrow.

Modify the bowl and new swatches

I rubbed out the HB shading on the bowl so it is just 6B, 4B and white:

A bowl

This works okay. I’ve also added more swatches to my earlier swatches:

So I could try 6B, 3B, B and white if I wanted three tones plus white. I’ll carry on for now with just 6B and 2B.

Shading a bowl (three tones plus white)


A few points here:

  • When I first started I measured the height wrong, so the bowl is the wrong shape. It’s so important to do the first measurements accurately.
  • I took a few specular hightlights to be white, and set the tones on the basis of this. This was a mistake. You need to ignore the small areas and set the tone for the larger areas.
  • The lighter areas are HB but you can’t see that at all in the scan, so perhaps I should stop using HB. Perhaps I’ll use white, 2B and 6B. But I don’t think this will be enough to make the object real. The above drawing looks like it is three tones (beacuse you can’t see the difference between HB and white), and it looks flat. Three tones don’t allow scope for detail. The trouble with the above was that the background was black, so I couldn’t use 6B on the bowl, just the background. You need to factor in the tone value of the background when planning the drawing. In this situation perhaps I could have used 6B on the bowl, even though there is nowhere on the bowl as dark as the background. Aonther option is to use 2B, 4B and 6B and white. I’ll try that.
Here is a slightly simplified version, with subtle highlights removed. It works better. Really need to simplify tonal areas.

Adding a third tone

Shaded squares

So 6B, 2B and HB seem to have the best separation. Unfortunately HB doesn’t show up very well in scans. Adding this third tone to the pear:

Shaded pear

I guessed the tones because the pear was not in front of me, which of course is bad. Apart from that, there are a few issues:

  • Even three tones look clumsy and need soft edges.
  • It’s hard to tell where the mid-tone begins and ends. The other two are simpler.
  • It’s easy to skew the tonal scale. If you press to hard on the mid-tone them the dark doesn’t look so dark any more, and the picture starts to look flat. And what if you can’t make the dark darker? Also, the light tone can take up too much of the white area, which can make you creep the mid-tone into the light area, then the dark into the mid-tone area, and the whole drawing looks to dark and flat.

So you need to be very clear on the three values, and start with them evn if you will add more, which you will need to to make the drawing more realistic. So the next step is to practice with just these three tones plus white, then add a couple other tones, so we have three mid-tones.

More simple shading

Tried to make lined shading go with the contours at first, but it didn’t work on this object. Generally a little tricky to do as each line must gradually change contour.

Vase with contours

Then a drawing of a pear:

A pear

An attempt to shade it using only black and mid-grey:

A shaded pear

This wasn’t a success because it’s difficult to give a sense of form with only two shades. Probably works okay with angular forms, but not so much organic forms. Need to introduce an extra shade.

First object with shading

A small wooden vase-shaped object. The shading did not scan well. Perhaps I need to move the shading a key or two darker. I only wanted to use three tones: dark, mid-tone and white.

Drawing of a vase
The basic drawing, which I copied for parctising
Shaded vase
With continuous tone shading
With lines drawn by different pencils: HB for the light lines, 2B for the darker ones. I’ll try using 2B for the lighter ones next time.
Darker vase
Went over the previous drawing with 2B and 6B penciles. Stronger now.