Task 5: Shiny Materials

OBJECTIVE: Understanding other material textures and applying tone.

TASK: Make a drawing of a knife, fork and spoon, using either charcoal or pencil.


You will find my earlier demonstrations of this task in our earlier blogs.

Here is the resource link: Cutlery

And also the demonstration:  https://youtu.be/zug8Z879R84


But this time I will do a different variation to expand on the idea of observational drawing of shiny objects, like cutlery. To do this, I will demonstrate black paper and a method called highlight drawing.

For this, I will be using chalks, but coloured pencils and crayons could also be used. This will help you to see tone in the reverse and use your observation skills to pick out the main areas of tone.



Before I started on the drawing for this tutorial, the first thing I did was set up a composition just a few feet away: observing from real life is essential. If using a lamp for your lighting, I would turn off all the other lights in the room to increase contrast and clarify each shadow. It’s extremely important to make good lighting for yourself when you’re drawing indoors. If you don’t have that strong directional light, you won’t be able to see the shadows and highlights and your drawing will most likely turn out grey and visually flat.

Something you might like to try when observing the initial contours of your set- up is to squint with one eye when you draw! This helps because it eliminates depth perception and makes the subject you’re drawing appear flat. Be consistent in which eye you use, though; if you switch eyes you’ll see the objects move slightly, which can mess you up.

Spending too much time looking at your paper—instead of your subject—won’t work, and it’s easy to understand why. If your eyes are always on your paper, you won’t ever be seeing what you’re supposed to be drawing. So when you draw or paint, flick your eyes back and forth and never let them rest for too long in one place. With practice, your eyes will do this naturally, but it’s important if you’re just starting out to do it purposefully at first, to build up the habit.

Erase when you see something wrong! Don’t just leave your mistakes there—fix them! If you can see a problem early on, your finished drawing will have it too. By then you won’t want to go all the way back and change everything, so get it right before you’re too far in. What a lot of people don’t understand is that the most important part of any drawing is the initial line drawing. So always erase if you need to, because once you’ve got a good line drawing, you’re home free.

When the drawing is almost finished, I usually take a breather, walk around, and then come back to finish it.  After being away for a while, you’ll be able see if there are mistakes or places that should be completed but somehow got overlooked. Fix those, and at the same time use your eraser to pick out the brightest highlights in your drawing.


I will demonstrate in our next Facebook Live lesson so I hope to see you there and finish our task on still life observational drawing.


Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART


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