The Secret to Realistic Draftsmanship

Learning how to draw demands discipline, patience and a love for the process. Understanding how to re-invent what you see in a three dimensional reality onto a two dimensional surface demands a thorough understanding of your materials. As with any skill, practice is the most important factor in achieving a desired goal. Put simply, to draw well, you must stay focused!

There are many rules that apply to creating a realistic representation of form and space in a drawing.  These are techniques that were taught in art schools before the hype of  modernism, and abstract expressionism took over.  They are the techniques that apply to “academic art” and were most practiced in the late nineteenth century.

The first rule involves the use of value contrast.  Values (the range from light to dark) should be thought of as the fundamental building blocks in a representational work of art. Without a variation of light and dark, or light and shadow the illusuion of form would cease to exist. When used with purpose, value contrast can enhance not only the illusuion of form, but also the composition. Areas that have a high contrast of value in comparison to areas that have a low contrast will automatically become a point of focus or focal point.  This play of drastic light-and-dark contrast can be thought of as value emphasis.

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