Monday, 29 April 2013

Learn to draw using volume

Mimic reality with volume

Volume and value go hand in hand together.  Value is used in different tones to create volume in and artwork.

The most troublesome thing for most beginners is where the cast shadow goes when a light is show on an object.  If it is used correctly it can be an indication of distance from another form.  A cast shadow can be an indication of where the light source is coming from and can help with compositional and expressive functions in the artwork. 

Volume is the space or environment of a form or object in a drawing.  It involves to creating the illusion of a 3D object on a 2D surface.  To draw realistically, you need to incorporate tonal values in your drawing.  You can transform the shapes in your drawing to 3D using shading and contrast.  For example a circle can be transformed into a sphere.

There are three ways in which you can add volume to your drawing:

1.  Tonal value and shading

Charcoal sketch of milo boxTonal value or shading can be used in a drawing to mimic realism.  It is important to use light and dark tones when you are shading and to use some contrast.  I have said this in other parts of my blog, but it is important to ensure that you have a sufficient light source.  Without good light, you won't be able to see all the detail that you need to and might struggle getting your shading to look good.  You will be able to see all the lines you need to and also you will be able to pin point the light and dark tones for your drawing.

2.  Use of directional lines when shading

A directional line is the direction in which the object's natural curves go.  When shading, it is essential to follow these natural lines of the object.  If the object is round, your directional line is round.  If the object is square with flat sides, the directional lines will be straight.  The reasons for shading along with these natural lines are because they help the eye to make sense of the objects in your drawing.  When a circle is shaded with curving lines, it is automatically recognized by the human eye as a drawing of a sphere or a ball.

3.  Pay attention to the cast shadow of the object

The cast shadow is created when something solid like an object is placed between a light source and a surface.  The closer the object to the surface, the more defined and the darker the cast shadow.  As the object moves further away from the surface, the shadow becomes blurry and slightly lighter in tone.

Volume is very important in a drawing and it should always get some extra attention from you.  It can mean the difference between an OK drawing and an amazing drawing. 

If you would like to learn more about volume in a drawing and how composition can also imply volume, read more about it here.
If you would like to learn more about how to draw with tonal value and shading and using it to imply volume, you can read it here.

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