Studio Mysteries

September 11, 2009

Big-ass Drawing, Progress Report

Filed under: Drawing, Values — Tags: , , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 6:40 am



Working like a fiend on my death-by-drawing drawing. Spot the differences: top image is from my previous update, second image is from this afternoon. I feel like I’ve made miles and miles of progress, but on comparison, if anything, the second image seems more busy and scattered than the first. Which would be the opposite of my objective.

Now, where’d I put that drink?

August 19, 2009

Tonal Drawing With Rick Morris, 2 Week-Pose, Week 2

Filed under: Drawing, Rick Morris, Values — Tags: , , , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 6:53 pm


Not finished, but this is probably the furthest I have gotten in a class assignment. In the unlikely event I have free time, I would like to finish it – right now the value range in the body is much lighter than the head. Her head dwells in darkness! (Oooh.)

August 16, 2009

Drawing Stages: Now Slightly Further

Filed under: Drawing, Values — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 8:19 pm

In my last Head Drawing post, I talked about the stages of doing a drawing from start to full finish, and how there are generally three. I haven’t learned how to get a drawing All The Way There yet, because in my classes thus far, I run out of time by Stage 2 or so. The last post, however, actually shows a drawing that is some way into Stage 3. So here is my revised list of drawing order:

Stage 1: The Blueprint. A linear drawing sticking down all the elements of the composition. Sometimes it’s called the block-in if only straight lines are used to describe the form, or a lay-in if it’s using curved lines.

Stage 2: The Cow Pattern. Defining light and shadow as 2D shapes.

Stage 3: (Haven’t named it yet, but that’s where the full value range and final finish happen.)

  1. Laying in a mid-range flat tone for the shadow shapes.
  2. Defining the dark value range by doing the darkest areas – those will have most of the dark range except for the very darkest tones.
  3. Defining the darkest value. It’s basically the opposite of the highlight – rather than a whole area, it’s a shadow anti-highlight. Usually, but necessarily it’s in the area of greatest drama. Usually, but not necessarily it’s in the area that receives the most light as well.
    (The area of greatest drama may not have the darkest dark, but it should have the most contrast.) <– that right there is one of THE keys to an eloquent painting or drawing.
  4. Defining the lightest value. Should be in the area of greatest interest.
  5. To be determined! (Very determined).

Tonal Drawing with Rick Morris – 2-week pose

Filed under: Drawing, Rick Morris, Values — Tags: , , , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 7:57 pm

It is said that she who knows what she is doing with values can make a successful painting, even if she is a total mess at handling colour.

With this in mind, I am studying with a teacher who really understands values and focus as a storytelling tool. This class is already helping me a lot with my actual art-project-type drawings (still at it! pictures coming soon!), and I hope the skills I am learning will also bridge me back into my painting projects with less frustration therein.


In this exercise, we toned the paper with charcoal powder first, to a middle-dark tone. Then we did a block-in with charcoal pencil, erasing the lines carefully and re-blending the powder with a bristle brush.

The actual work with values started with defining light and shadow by squinting and looking at them as 2D shapes – what I call doing the cow-pattern. (You know? Those black and white blotch cows?)

Then we started building up darker shadows with vine charcoal, blending it in some more with the brush, so it’s really worked into the paper surface, and to get rid of streaking. Texture in shadow distracts from texture in light.

At this point, Rick surprised me by coming over and sticking a big ole highlight on the lady’s forehead. I am still used to keeping the highlights for the end, reserving them as a sort of magical sword that will make the whole thing work somehow. But no, Rick sez if you are setting up the dark value range by building in the darkest areas, you should also introduce the brightest points in the composition at the same time. Then you’ll know how light or dark everything in between the extreme points of the value range should be.

We picked the forehead because I wanted the model’s face to draw the most attention.

Guess what all the male students picked as their point of dramatic interest? No, guess.

Oh, alright. It was the boobs.

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