Task 5: Knife, Fork and Spoon using Graphite or Charcoal

Let’s finish off still life with a tricky one! Metallic objects with shine can really test your observation and use of tone…so a great one to bring together what we have done until now.

High contrast is the key to drawing bright reflective surfaces. So, for this task we need to know about tonal range but also; composition techniques, charcoal techniques, graphite techniques, observation techniques and a generous helping of creativity! Experiment with a style you have developed and enjoy to make this task your own 🙂


Graphite or charcoal can be used for this task-I will demonstrate by using both! The graphite is good for the reflections and midtones, whilst charcoal will give great cast shadows and give that real dark contrast we are aiming for.

If you are using white paper, that is your lightest value so save that for the extreme highlights you observe on your objects.

The environment or setting in which you draw your subject always affects the subject itself. The effect can be dramatic with reflective objects so you need to consider that when setting up your still life for this task.
Working from photographs is great as you can rotate them! Great for practicing. As we have already seen from task 1 you can ‘see’ and interpret the shapes better if you turn the photograph sideways or upside down. Plus the photograph is 2 dimensional and you are translating this to another 2 dimensional surface, your drawing. Nothing beats the real thing though, so keep those real objects in their composition right in front of you.

Accuracy of the shapes of the reflections is important when drawing metal objects but with cutlery it keeps this simple as you can set up so no actual objects are reflected!  Although the contrast of the reflections is crucial for a realistic drawing: from bright white highlights to black (or nearly black). Also, have a good look at those objects you set up, can you see the sharp clean edges of the reflections? You have to be bold with this drawing and make those sharp edges apparent with less blending. Reflections are what make your surface look metallic- you can make anything look shiny with bright highlights but metallic is different. Smooth gradual changes in value will still appear within a shape, but this will not affect its clean, sharp edges. So keep those pencils sharp! You can’t make crisp edges and outlines if your pencils are dull.

Go for it 🙂


Check out this resource of mine which talks through the process to help you with this task:

Drawing Cutlery


Also my FB Iive video can talk through some of the hints and tips from the resource to show you how you could approach this task 🙂


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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