Contrast Lesson

One of my greatest weaknesses in drawing is contrast. I don’t have enough of it in my drawings and for some reason I never quite understood how to improve. But yesterday I found a little exercise that I can grasp. I found it through wikihow, of all websites.

It asks to make a “Tonal Scale” with a 2B pencil starting out light until it’s as dark as it will go. Mine turned out like this:

I had ten boxes, but it seemed I could go one more darker so my Tonal Scale goes to 11.

The article simply said that every drawing should have the number one box, which is white and the last one, then the mid tones basically takes care of themselves. It’s so simple, but this was something I had never thought about.

I decided to fix a drawing with this information and chose the Emily Blunt drawing I did a couple weeks ago. So here’s the before and after:

It pops a little more and I’m excited about this. Lesson learned!

Keep drawing!

2 thoughts on “Contrast Lesson”

  1. Yes, that was the one rather wrong thing I noticed about all of your pictures is the lack of contrast. I would greatly suggest to get some 6B-8B or darker (if you can find them) pencils. I love those the most! They really give the subjects the realistic depth. For example all throughout Emily’s hair and in her eyes you could use some more pure black tones in there. I always tell myself to go darker than I think I should go. Wherever you see dark tones in a photo, try to get that same value. Also if you really smooth out all of your pencil strokes down to where you can’t see them, it would make the entire picture seem more real instead of a sketch. Unless you want to give it a sketchy look. Then it’s very neat and artistic in that sense.
    You are certainly very talented and have great potential. I would really like to encourage you in your work.

  2. I found that creating your box #1 white and box #10 black and middle box = mid tone, first helps to give you a more balanced form of a grid for developing the tones. Start from the outside working towards the middle and you will get a more balanced darks and lights. We did this in college art using paints. Your art is excellent. As an artist myself who loves to sketch faces your work is a joy to view.

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