OCAD Studio: Urban Sketching – Tonal Drawing

Tonal drawings of urban landscapes make a bold statement and are a great way to capture the mood of a place. They are especially good for night scenes and foggy or rainy days as details tend to be obscured.

Materials

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil (HB, B or 2B)

Steps

  1. First, find a subject to work from: You can either head out into a town or city and work from life or you can collect photo references from the internet – ideally pick scenes that you find interesting. Scenes with lots of large shapes of tone, evident contrast or lots of gradations work well for tonal studies.
  2. Start by lightly sketching in the basic shapes of the buildings, trees and sky/clouds.
  3. Once the shapes a roughly sketched in, find the shadow shapes. Thes might be parts of the buildings or they may be cast by the buildings onto their surrounds.
  4. Shade the shadows in with an even tone.
  5. Then start finding variety within the shadows and lights. Some parts of the shadows will be darker than other and the same goes for the light shapes. The about the form of the buildings and scenery as well as how they relate to the light source (either the sun or streetlights/ lights from buildings).
  6. When you reach the foreground, spend more time refining details and emphasising the contrast, as this will make this section of the drawing the focal point.
  7. When you’re happy with the overall effect, you’re finished!

 

Try out more scenes and see how different subjects work as a tonal drawing.

Task 2: Tonal Scale and Universal Forms

The aim is to add a tonal scale to Universal Forms.

Each of your Graphite Pencils will give you different variations of tone.

Use each of the pencils in turn to get used to how the tonal scale is created using them. The wider range of soft to hard pencils you have, the better this will be when creating your drawings.

 

Here is an exercise to try:

Task 2 Exercise

 

Universal forms are: Cube, Cylinder, Cone and Sphere. Once you can apply tone to all of these forms, you can observe and add tone to any object!

There are also many ways to add the tonal scale. Smooth and realistic is something you can build up to and develop this level of control. In between, there are other exercises that will help you to visualise tone and actually develop sketching techniques.

 

By the end of your practice, you want to be able to use graphite pencils with skill and control to create realistic forms.

 

You can then apply Task 1 and Task 2 together to observe any object in the future to produce your own still life drawings.

I will be demonstrating how to create 3D graphite pencil forms and still life work in upcoming tutorials on our Facebook Page.

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community where you will find a demonstration of this task- 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

OCAD Studio: Urban Sketching – Line Drawing

Line drawings are a great way to quickly evoke an urban scene. Cities are typically made up of lots of complex geometric shapes and details so lend themselves to being expressed by line.

Materials

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil (HB, B or 2B)

Steps

  1. First, find a subject to work from: You can either head out into a town or city and work from life or you can collect photo references from the internet – ideally pick scenes that you find interesting. Scenes with lots of complex details and clear perspective work well in a line drawing.
  2. Start by lightly sketching in the simple rectangles of the building in perspective. You can use a vanishing point or just work intuitively, whatever you prefer.
  3. Once the skeletons of the building are in place you can add the specific details of the buildings over them.
  4. Start with the buildings in the background and work on them very loosely.
  5. Then start working on section closer to the foreground.  I recommend concentrating your detail in the foreground while leaving everything else progressively more loose as it moves further back in space. This will save you time, add dynamism and guide the viewer’s eyes effectively. As you get closer to the front of the image, add progressively more detail and use heavier lines, this will give a sense of the things in the background being further away.
  6. If you vary your line weight (make some lines heavier than others) it can suggest the direction of light. For instance, if you make the underside of a window ledge a heavier line than the top, it will feel lie the window ledge is casting a shadow below it and the light is coming from above.
  7. When you reach the foreground, spend more time refining details and adding a variety of line weights, this will make this section of the drawing the focal point.
  8. When you’re happy with the overall effect, you’re finished!

 

Try out more scenes and see how different subjects work as a line drawing.

OCAD Studio: Urban Sketching – Thumbnails

Thumbnails are a great way to test out compositions. You can see how the major statement of shapes and values works in any particular scene without being able to add too much detail, which saves time. If you keep your thumbnails tiny, you can try out lots of variations in a short period of time. Then just pick your favorite scenes to work up into larger, more finished sketches and drawings.

Materials

  • Sketchbook
  • Pencil (HB, B or 2B)

Steps

  1. First, find a subject to work from: You can either head out into a town or city and work from life or you can collect photo references from the internet – ideally pick scenes that you find interesting.
  2. Sketch a tiny rectangle in any format (wide, tall or square). No bigger than two inches on the longest edge.
  3. Lightly block in lines for dark shapes/shadows. Identifying these major shapes is the most important step as they will determine the overall impression of the composition.
  4. Once these shapes are loosely sketched in, shade them in with tone.
  5. From there you can darken the tones and add more shapes of different values if necessary. Look for gradients – gradual shifts in tone across shapes from dark to light. Gradients are more pronounced at night and in more atmospheric scenes.
  6. Once the major shapes are blocked in at the right value, you can add some prominent details and soften the transitions where necessary.
  7. When image has all the important elements blocked in and the relationship between values matches the subject, you can stop.
  8. Now pick another scene and repeat. Try not to spend longer than 5-10 mins on any particular scene and refrain from using an eraser as this will allow you to fuss over the drawing too much!

OCAD Studio: Painting in Progress – Still Life

Things to Remember after Watching the Video:

 

  • Avoid Smearing Your Work

 

    • When working in oils the paint will stay wet for at least a day, so you need to be careful not to smear the wet surface with you hand while working. This is not a big problem in the early stages of a painting as you will use bigger brushes and your hand will be back from the canvas. However, when adding detail, you will be using smaller brushes and likely want to rest you hand on the canvas to steady it while you work.
    • There are two ways avoid smearing the wet paint:
      • Use a mahl stick – a long stick that you can rest your painting hand against while working.
      • Or, work from the top down and from left to right (or right to left if you’re left-handed). This way your hand will always be resting on the dry part of the canvas.

 

  • Working the Bedbug Line

 

    • Focus on the transition from light to dark as this is where the texture is most pronounced. The light is raking the surface at this point so the texture is more extreme. Also, if you can get the form to turn from the bedbug line effectively, you won’t need to add to much detail or shading to the lighter parts of the object.

 

  • Make Your Underpainting Accurate

 

    • You will find that the more accurate your underpainting is, the easier adding detail will be. The underpainting doesn’t have to have lots of detail, it just needs to be the right shape and value, then adding detail will only require minor shifts in hue, value and chroma.

 

  • Add Subtlety

 

    • One way to make your image more subtle is to add slight broken colour along with the detail. When working on the egg I mixed some colours slightly more yellow and some more grey blue, which made the surface more interesting and life-like.

OCAD Studio: Charcoal Still Life Part 4

In this lesson we will be adding final details to the focal point of the drawing and make the transition between the detailed and textured areas more gradual.

Materials

  • 1 sheet of strong drawing paper (I recommend Fabriano Ingres or something similar)
  • A couple of similarly sized sheets of cartridge paper
  • A few different types of charcoal (I recommend Nitram Charcoal in B and HB)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Hard white eraser (the normal type of eraser)
  • Sponge
  • Kitchen roll
  • Sanding Block
  • Drawing Board
  • Masking Tape

Process

Finishishing Touches

  1. Sharpen your charcoal for this stage as you will be adding the final details and making the transitions more subtle.
  2. Look for small details like scratches and patterns. Draw these in lightly but accurately, if you make them too dark they will stand out too much from the general form.
  3. Texture will tend to be more pronounced in the lights nearer the shadow as the light rakes the form more at that point.
  4. Keeps refining the transitions and details until you’re happy with the overall effect.

Transition from Detailed to Textured

  1. Once the main subject is complete you will need to make the transition from the detailed parts to the rougher/ textured areas more gradual. This isn’t too hard but will make a big difference to how finished the drawing will look.
  2. Just add and remove tone in gradually less even way as you move further away from the point of focus. You can add or remove tone with your charcoal and eraser.
  3. Once the transition feels natural, you’re done!

 

Remember to keep your charcoal sharp!