Check and log: Tone & form

How difficult did you find it to distinguish between light from the primary light source and secondary reflected light?

In general, I feel reasonably confident that I can at least recognise secondary reflected light.  However, where it took the form of a narrow sliver of light (which is not uncommon), I found it difficult to produce that cleanly, as the putty rubber seems hard to control in a narrow fashion.  I think I might try using a plastic rubber for that, one with a sharp edge, and see if it produces better results.

Other factors to take into account when trying to distinguish between the two forms of light are the nature of the surface (especially the degree of reflectiveness), and pattern, which can interrupt the eye’s passage across the surface.

How has awareness of light and shade affected your depiction of form?

The more accurately I can capture the degrees and patterns of light and shade, the more 3-dimensional my forms appear.  The main stumbling block I encountered during this stage of the course was recognising mid-tones. I really need to practise this as much as possible.  I have started paying much closer attention to mid-tones, even when I’m not drawing!  One thing I have found useful is to take a photo of whatever I’m planning to draw, and to then convert it to black & white – this makes the tonal pattern much easier to read.  It’s not a habit I would want to continue long-term, particularly – I’d far rather feel confident about recognising them by eye.  However, in this early learning stage, I think anything that helps me to see and understand tone more clearly has to be a good thing.

Another area to work on is recognising the tones in different colours.  I find it’s easy to be misled by the brightness/darkness of certain colours, when they actually look surprisingly similar once converted to black & white.

Also, in my last picture, I was focusing so intently on trying to spot the mid-tones, that I almost lost all the light tones – must watch that!

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