Understanding Shadows: A Drawing Tutorial
We can dissect shadows and discover by doing so how each part of any shadow contributes to the interpretation we give to our drawings and paintings.
Using a white cow as her reference image, Dianne guides us through an exercise where she begins by locating all shadow areas via the terminator. Using that area of division, she creates a solid “wash” over all shadow areas. Then she locates and defines deep, moderate, shallow and core shadows and distinguishes form shadows from cast shadows. Finally, she lifts out reflected light.
Doing this drawing exercise, one can gain an understanding of how shadows behave and how we can render them with ease.
Typically, we have two misconceptions about drawing. First, it is wrongly thought that drawing is done to be only to be shown whereas one of the most important uses of drawing is to work out ideas. Second, it is wrongly thought that drawing should be precise whereas when searching out ideas, what becomes important is what the artist discovers rather than the drawing itself.
Drawing is indeed a powerful and delightful mode of expression and creativity. Some of the most moving art works in existence and now being created are drawings. But to limit drawing, or even painting, to production only is to limit potential for discovery. After all, it is through discovery where new ideas are born.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the most beloved artists of all ages used drawing to discover and plan all of his works. Studies for the Last Judgement in the Sistene Chapel in Rome are found HERE, and for the Medici Chapel in Florence, HERE.