Saturday, 31 January 2015

Day 3 - How to see

We have all started moving baby steps forward. I did not think it fair if I did not do the exercise along with you guys, so I went out and got myself a pretty looking dried leaf to sketch.

I am hoping you still have your leaf with you else you can always pick up a new leaf. Keep it at a distance on the table and just see it. Outline the contour with your eyes. Trace every ups and downs, notice how the leaf undulates, just observe. Due to lack of water, the leaf shrivels up and has a tendency to curve towards the central vein of the leaf. Notice how the colour changes depending on how much light it catches. The only reason you are able to see the leaf is because of the light reflected off the surface of the leaf. The darker areas are less clear due to the absence of light.

Since the leaf is amorphous in shape, you do not have flat areas of light and dark as you would notice in a cube. It is neither purely cylindrical, spherical or conical.

In this image, you can notice that light comes from the top left hand side corner. The surfaces that it reaches are bright white (Highlight) and as the rays of  light disappear behind the object, the darkness creeps in gradually. The intensity of darkness is relative to the position on the object. 
Just observe this leaf. The light source is on the top left corner. The left top edge of the leaf is bending over towards the center causing shadow as the area below is shielded from the light. The center bottom of the leaf folds up and you can see the underside of the leaf which is lifted above the floor and is darker as light does not reach it. The right end of the leaf catches most of the light as it is facing upwards except for the slight bend of the top giving it a curve. Overall the leaf throws a shadow (cast shadow) onto the floor which varies in degrees of darkness depending on how high the leaf is off the floor. Some areas receive flat light as in the cube, some are cylindrical and some conical.

When you shade such an object or any object for that matter, imagine you are shading on the actual object! Think your pencil/pen is on the leaf. Now with the above observation, try outlining the leaf again with your eyes. Repeat another two times, go slow, don't rush. From where you are sitting, look at your leaf, lift up your pen/pencil and draw mid-air over the leaf. Go over the contour again. It is important for you not to change the position of your head as if you do, your viewing angle changes which will change the shape of the form also the shading on the object. So maintain your view point and outline mid-air again. 

Now sketch the leaf on paper, shading the darkness and leave the lit areas blank. That is your 'Highlight'. Do not forget the lessons you learnt in the past couple of days. Your hands should not feel restrained, let them move freely over the paper. There is no right or wrong. We are only seeing how much you improve every day.

Please note the detail of the shading, I am not following any particular rule of shading. I am just scribbling over areas which are darker a whole lot more than those which are lighter. It is alright if you sketch incorrectly, just go over and correct it. 

See how the amount of lines used lighten or darken an area. We will get to the various kinds of shading later. For now, scribble away.

Once done, compare the sketch you did yesterday to today's sketch. Which is better according to you?

More on next!

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