Come to The Dark Side
How light, shadows, value, contrast, and edges are not only the fundamental of drawing, but also the cheesiest *yet true* metaphor for living a life of depth.
Hey GUT! Happy to see you.
First off, so wonderful to everyone’s Willam Carlos Williams-inspired One Thing a Day drawings. The art and stories got richer and more considered as the week went on, and I loved reading the encouraging notes you’re leaving for one another. From GUT member Cindy Michaud: “I realized that just by drawing the things we had chosen, we had elevated them to a level of new importance. Those staplers were to swoon over, the mugs became elegant!..” I could not agree more. If you didn’t venture into the One Thing a Day drawings, or if you did and want to keep going, it’s always there for you. And now, onwards.
Last week we slowed down and used drawing to consider small, meaningful objects we often overlook. This week, I’m going to ask that we give our attention to something a little more academic, but without which drawing would not exist: Light. And by light, I also mean dark.
Step into the Shadows.
In the DT Podcast this week, we celebrated Halloween with a fun drawing exercise called Spooky Monster Heads. It’s a fun little lesson on how shadows work. Recording that episode, plus a challenging couple weeks, has me thinking about darkness and shadows, and how without shadows everything would be flat, lifeless, and 2-dimensional. The range and contrast between light and dark gives depth and dimension to the world. And the word we use in art to describe how light or dark something is? Value.
You see the metaphor here.
Many of the most masterful drawings, paintings and photographs use the full scale of light to dark (aka value) to create the illusion of depth and dimension on a flat surface.
Now I know you’re reading this and thinking “Blah, Wendy, this is so technical. I am an artist! No rules in art!” True, true and true. But understanding how value (light and shadows) work enables us to bring to life anything through drawing, real or imagined.
So this week we’re doing a quick little tutorial on how light and shadow works. It’s geeky but it’s also super cool. Plus, it’s been a while since I brushed up on this stuff, and GUT is an excuse for me to explore things I’m interested, so you’re stuck with it - ha! And finally, in case the DrawTogether-esque metaphor hasn’t hammered your head hard enough yet, we need the contrast of dark to light to create depth in our lives. Not easy to embrace when we’re in the midst of it, but so important to remember.
How Light Works
Alright, here are the basics. Start with this.
Add a light source, and drumrollllllll……
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