Tonal values in portraiture by Caroline Marsden – 4th Sept 2019

To get a good 3D image you need to use strong shadows to bring out the features. A focal point of a drawing or painting is always where the greatest contrast in tonal values is placed, i.e. the darkest dark and the lightest light of the range you are using. You don’t need to use pure white and pure black but should limit your range to somewhere in between these extremes.

 

This lady was chosen by the group as the most interesting to do.

Caroline started with a 4B pencil to do the rough outline very lightly. She always starts by drawing the nose and then works outwards from the nose carefully noting the position  of the other features . She next drew in the lips measuring (either by eye or using a ruler if needed) the space between the nose and the lips. Next she drew in the glasses and finally onto the face shape. She noted that the space between the chin and the nose was equal to the space between the top of the glasses and the top of the forehead. The last thing she did was draw in the eyes . She used hatching to create light areas of shadow.

This first stage done she moved on to put in much deeper shadows using a 7B pencil. This pencil is very effective for defining the darker areas. The only problem is that the softer the pencil the more likely it is to go blunt quickly and it will require regular sharpening as you sketch.

By squinting at the photo she could easily see where the darker lines and shadows were and she uses a really dark background to push the face forward. The greatest contrast in tonal values is seen in the eyes