Exploring ways of adding shadow | 29 December 2021

Link to today’s video on YouTube.

I needed to add shadows to the drawing completed and given a colour wash yesterday. As I so often regret my choices of how I do this, I decided to make a test page of various methods for my sketchbook.

They all have their own charm and feel. However, putting them side by side so I can compare and contrast gave me a better idea of what I really like.

To add shadow/highlight to a drawing, I really like the hatching/contour lines created by a micron pen or a biro. The biro I particularly like as it is much softer and I’m able to get a tone variation with the lines.

I also worked out that for using gradations of colour, they just feel a bit … plain. So, like in the drawing of medieval flowers and leaves, the combination of lines and colour works for me.

I found when I was adding shadow below the drawings that using Distress Inks like watercolours just wasn’t going to work. The use of water results in weird boundary lines that I’m not fond of. Of course, if I’d not coloured the background in Distress Ink, a gradated wash of colour may have created a lovely shadow.

So, I think I’d prefer to use chalk pastels for adding shadow. The ability to blend them out gradually, with no harsh line, is a great advantage. It’s also easy to add more of the pastel if a darker colour is needed.

So, that’s what I chose to do. Not just with the drop shadows, but with darker areas on the leaves etc. I even found that the pastel can tint the gold I’d added in places, which is a really interesting twist.

Bit by bit, I’m working out colour, shadow, highlight and what works for me.

It’s also no bad thing to spend time trying out techniques with various media. Mixing and matching. Making a reference page for my sketchbook / zibaldone has proven to be a very valuable exercise.

When I’m quite happy with the drawing. I will do my best to take a good photograph of it. It’s worked out much better than I thought it could.

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