Observing shadow using blocks of tone(Exercise)

In this exercise, I am going to practice tone to give the impression of  perspective, 3 dimensions and shadow. Then this task is to observe light and dark and to depict it on paper.

To start this exercise, I have chosen 2 chinaware objects, lamp, torch and pure white fabric to practice this still life. For observing the main areas of light and dark. First I used the natural light source which gave a cold feeling.

Natural light


Natural light + lamp


Compare last two photos, the natural light shows the highlights and the texture better. After I  add the lamp/illumination the still life is showing the colours looking warmer and clear shadows.

I don’t want to wait until night to take any photos. So I moved all the objects into my down stairs toilet which hasn’t any windows or external light source.



At last I got another idea, I turned on a torch and turn off the other lights.


So these 4 pictures are helping me to obverse this still life’s shapes, light and dark, highlights and shadows.

Stage 1. To draw the objects’ shapes accurately  I used my A4 sketch book to separate these 2 objects first, then interlock them together.


In this attempt I wouldn’t mind any problems coming out at this stage as this is my first rough sketch. Like the mouth of the tea pot in wrong pose and wrong size.

Stage 2. To quickly observe the objects’ relation, perspective, light and dark and shadow etc.

I used different colours to compare their blocks in different light and dark shades.


Stage 3. Enlarge the objects onto a A2 newspaper and drawing by charcoal. I used rough blocks to experiment with their light and dark areas.


Stage 4. I have drawn the objects on a A2 newspaper with oil pastels but with red, blue and black 3 colours


For the last test  I used the pencil (6B), charcoal, oil pastel and conte stick to practice their tones.  Then rubbing by fingers and eraser on the pictures and comparing the results.


Now I am going to attempt my final image with a paper this is 65 cm*58 cm which is bigger than A2 and nearly a square.

With the conte stick I quickly and roughly covered the blocks of tone.


In the middle of the process  I paused and took a long view, this image is in three dimensions but the shape is not really accurate especially the tea pot’s spout is too long.

At the moment I think the main problem is I over draw the tones as it is too dark. I probably chasing the touch’s light and not the mutual one.

For these objects’ colours and tones I was thinking that I need more attempts.

Then I tried to use rubbing and eraser to improve it.


The main problem is when I drew the teapot it should have been circular but it seems I have flattened it out in to more of an oval.

This is my first time drawing with conte stick but I din’t really control and understand its characters. I think I made a reasonable attempt at the picture but I feel I need more practice at drawing with this medium.

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