Shadow Shapes

Eight or nine Fisher Price people reside in my house even though my kids have long since flown the coop. Odd objects like these are fun to set up into vignettes, and with the addition of strong lighting, provide splendid opportunities to create  sketches.
Fisher Price People - drawing by Patricia Bentham

Squint and attempt to only see simple shapes of darks and lights, rather than thinking about the subject you are drawing, then attempt to recreate what you see on your paper with quick and fun sketches. Approaching your drawing in this way will help you see like an artist and help you move away from the, “I can’t draw a ….” thinking.

After I played around with sketching the toys and blocks in black and white and grays, I tossed a pile of them on the desk, drew them again, this time observing lines, shadows and shapes, then finished by adding a bit of color.
Drawing by Patricia Bentham

Seeing value patterns

Value Sketch by PatriciaBentham
In the image on the right, you can see how the strong lighting on these old toys emphasizes the differences in darks and lights (or values). Again, I focused mainly on observing the darks and lights, not on a perfect drawing.

Keep it simple and by squinting again, try to see the subject just as a few values that make shapes. I used four different pencil crayons, shown partially in the picture, to create the sketch,  black and three different grays.The paper created the lightest value of white.

It is helpful to create value sketches like these, especially before trying to paint a subject, as you begin to see the different values as patterns of darks and lights that will be the foundation of your picture. Focus on creating a whole picture rather than copying details.

The thing to remember is that you are not drawing a doll, a dog and a pinwheel, only lines, shapes and patterns of darks and lights.

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Patricia Bentham
Phone: 250.474.7162
Email: info@patriciabentham.com

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