Pushing into the Shadow

UPDATE: Sept 5, 2009

Diane: Using the 2H to burnish the dark areas, creates a nice rich and solid dark. What a great finish!!

Rick: I've enclosed the latest touch up effort using a 2H pencil and dropping the water into the wheel. Although I can still see area's that require additional touch-up I realize the for now the time has come for me to leave well enough alone and apply everything that I've learned from this drawing to my next effort.

Once again, thanks to you this drawing has been pure pleasure for me and I look forward to starting my next one.

Rick: I finally found the nerve to pick up the 4B pencil and give your "push the blacks" a go and I will be danged! "Henrietta began emerging right off the paper." Thank you much young lady! I may be an old dog but I see that even I can learn new tricks by paying attention. I still have a log way to go (I'm shooting for the moon) but as Neil Armstrong might say "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Rick"

Diane: Wow....look at the difference!

Rick, a dear artist friend of mine, graciously shares his love of drawing landscapes with me. He sent me a drawing of his most recent accomplishment and asked me to critique it.

When asked if I could share this, Rick said “Posting the drawing along with your comments/improvements on your blog and on the DLL site would be terrific for me and certainly helpful for others. I am pleased that you asked.” I’d like to thank Rick for his generosity as this is an excellent instructional sample that others can benefit from.

Rick: “The below description of Mike and his instructions to you on drawing the hen really struck home when I remembered your critique of my water wheel drawing "Just keep pushing those darks. You will find a wider range of values to work with and objects will emerge with even more dimension."

"Every time he would walk by, he'd be gently coaching me to "go darker". This didn't really sink in until I started working on this final exercise. Henrietta is emerging out of a dark area and most of her body is in the shadows. As I started drawing the hen, I couldn't get this figured out. Mike stood behind me and kept saying "push the back of her body into the shadows". Through a leap of faith, I shaded the body into the shadows and like magic, Henrietta began emerging right off the paper." That was a terrific way to describe your success. I would love to look at my drawings and be able to see the same thing occurring.

Will you take another look at the water wheel drawing and apply your comment "Henrietta began emerging right off the paper." to my drawing?”

Diane: I love it! I can see that you are really enjoying drawing. This drawing has a beautiful feeling to it. The trees are so soft and atmospheric. I can see you are delving into the depths of shadows! Just keep pushing those darks. You will find a wider range of values to work with and objects will emerge with even more dimension.

Before I start, remember that I think your drawing is beautiful as is. Here are a few comments that I hope will apply the comment "Henrietta began emerging right off the paper." to your drawing:

This bottom area would also benefit from pushing into the shadows. There should not be delineation between the wheel and the shadows here.

Really work on building up the darks here. Use a 4B 2 mm clutch pencil and layer and layer. Use a clutch pencil with the sharpest tip you can make (something else I learned from the workshop! I bought a staedtler pencil sharpener on my way home!)

Be careful of obtrusive dark pencil strokes – instead “feel” your way into the darkest darks with circular or irregular small movements of your pencil.

Look at my exercise from Mike’s workshop…under the cart, the weeds behind the wheel. I kept pushing the weeds into the shadows.

Rick: I really appreciate you taking the time to look over the drawing and adding your comments. Now that you have brought certain things to my attention, I can readily see how these changes would add to the drawing, and I appreciate the fact that they will surely help me improve. That is exactly what I was looking for. I usually find that I am reluctant to go over a drawing once I complete it for fear of messing it up. This might be my one exception; however I will think about it a bit more before proceeding.

Diane: Don’t hesitate to practice on another piece of paper before making changes to the original drawing! You always want to draw with confidence as your hesitancy will be reflected in your rendition.