Shadows and reflected light(Exercise)

In this composition, I am going to choose two objects with different surfaces, one is stainless steel and the other is ceramic. For this exercise I am going to observe the different reflections on the surfaces which provide an interesting interplay of light and shadow. Then practice drawing them by charcoal and putty eraser.

Looking around my house, I have found an ice cream scoop and a black mug which have high reflective surfaces.

Stage 1. Take some photos and observe the objects in the lights and shows their shadows.

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Look at the pictures, they do have reflective surfaces and they provide an very interesting interplay of light and shadow.

Stage 2. I am going to observe the shapes, reflections and shadows then practice on my sketchbook.

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Under the natural light:

  1. Found out the light direction
  2. Found out the brightest point where is the light casts on it.
  3. Found out the darkest area where is in poor light/darkness
  4. Make sure the shadows’s area
  5. Make sure the lighter halftone and darker halftone
  6. Analysis the reflection’s shape. There is a reflection point where I captured it as below, is it the mug being reflected onto the scoop or is the light coming straight or on the other way?


Then I am moving on to sketch the natural light and the lamp light. Compare these two lights I think the lamp light is at 90 degrees to the natural light. The shadows are more clear. The highlights are less bright, maybe I should change this lamp to a spot light. Also some reflection changed a little bit like the reflection on the scoop which is not as clear as it was before with one light source.



After I am moving on only using only the lamp light in a dark room with closed doors and curtains. The head/ball of the scoop is in a highlight area. The highlight area and the reflection area on the mug are the same brightness I think. How can I build this drawing letting  the objects shown all the different factors It is a challenge.


Finally I am looking at the torch lit one. I realize I shone the torch light on the centre of (in the front of) the mug which meant the left side of mug has a strong and clearly defined light (see the highlight area where I wanted to draw the defined/darker halftone). It has also happened on the right side of the mug just not as strong as on the other side?  I think it is difficult for me to draw as regular objects.

These lights hit on these two objects, different lights and on  different area,  the reflections are so much different. As I am the one in charge I have to gather up all these different elements and bring them together in one picture.

Stage 2. I am moving on a A2 newspaper just to enlarge the size and practice the objects’ proportion. I will make the mistakes on the daft and then fix them on my final picture.


Stage 3. I am going to the final piece on a A1 white paper.


I admit it is close to my deadline so I am having to rush this a little and certain things could be better (But it maybe worse for the mug):

  • First main problem is composition of a picture, they are too far to the left side.
  • The ice cream scoops’s reflection is not quite right on the mug.
  • The shape of the mug’s bottom is wider than the top.
  • The handle of the mug, the lines are standing out.
  • The mouth of mug, the border is not correct.
  • The head of the scoop is a bit turning right.


I have shaded the shadow of the scoop on the front of the mug. With the position of it I can’t seem to get the shape as I would like. It is too bent in my opinion. I was trying to draw the line of the shadow down the side of the mug it looks OK but I am not happy with the final position.

Next time I will make sure I have spare erasers as this is the state of mine after this drawing.




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