Working from an Image to completion, pt III.

Step Three: Filling in some details.

Here is the step where you fill in some rough details to get an idea of how shading will affect your final drawing’s proportions.

For this step, I used a 3B pencil. (I use a B for laying out). There is no attempt at blending here, but rather the goal of this step is to “map out” areas of shadow and highlight. I spent seven minutes on this part. DON’T WORRY IF IT TAKES YOU LONGER. I will say that I do not recommend spending over 12 minutes on this, because you start to overwork your drawing before you even really get much detail work in.

Also, don’t go straight from light to dark. I get that the sweater is black, I do. But that doesn’t mean you need to carve it into your paper. Please work on building up value. What I did for this step was placed a very light shade throughout the whole image but the face (This shade is equivalent to one step darker than the paper) I then build from there. This keeps you from ripping the paper, allows you to erase if you mess up, and makes it less likely that your shadows will turn into giant shiny reflector ponds.

As you can see, I started to straighten out my borders as well.

Things I’d say to do if you’re struggling in this area:


Value Scales. Try doing a variety, from 5 step up to 15 step scales. It will help you to see the difference between the different values, so your drawing looks a lot more dimensional. Try doing both just flat out scales, and try doing value scales within images. For practice ones, I recommend a “Paint by Numbers” sort of system that has proven helpful to some. That is, you sketch out the practice image, and identify a scale of 10-15 values, and then number the areas with what you think their value is. Take into consideration that value is heavily impacted by what is around it, just like color. For instance, a yellow might look extremely light in value next to a deep purple, but dark in value next to a pure white. Also, for portrait drawing, please consider the possibility of reflective highlights (often caused by indirect light sources or light’s reflection off of a nearby object), and the fact that there are almost NO pure white values on a balanced image of a person. You will obviously need to consider your image’s contrast levels for this one, but a pure white really isn’t natural. Places you might find them (if you do) are reflections in eyes, off of teeth, etcetera. Do not leave an eye entirely white except for the pupil.

Flip your image to grayscale. This is one of my last recommendations. I would say if you’re starting off and struggling, it might be valuable to keep trying. But if you’re in a bind and you really can’t convince your mind that that intense hue is really equivalent to some other one, revert your image to grayscale for the time being. But please take the time to note what hues/intensities are tripping you up, how, and potentially why, for the future.

Let’s just start over (Step 1)
Go back, too fast! Step 2
Yep, got it. Step 4

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2 responses to “Working from an Image to completion, pt III.

  1. you are perfectplease finish this off soon! my drawing cant wait any longer!

  2. I'll try to post the next one tomorrow. I ran out of time. I emailed you back, by the way. It only took like four days, right?Friend fail.

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