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How To Draw Still Life

How To Draw Still Life

Drawing from still life begins with an interesting arrangement. But from those inanimate objects, your drawing can be livened up with these different techniques.

Practice drawing still life with objects like a tall pot, a wide box, and a short bowl. One of the tricks of still life is to make the arrangement itself look interesting. Through a series of dots, start indicating the small marks, the top and the sides of all these objects, so it would be just like connecting the dots.

Join up the bottom of the little box here with the corner vertically, to its rounded bottom, and the side of the bowl to the side of the paper. You might see artists holding a pencil up. This is to help with verticals and horizontals and where it fits on the paper.

Start drawing at the top for two reasons. As you work your way down, you can see what's happening above your hand. While if you start further down, you'll smudge what you have already done.

Try to judge shapes without doing too much rubbing out. It also takes some practice not to have an eraser around. The most important part of that is confidence.

Look at the angle of the pot as it comes down the paper and then that's the handle. The shape inside the handle is known as a negative shape. It isn't the positive handle of the jug and if you need a bit of practice at drawing shapes, it's quite a good idea to draw this shape, this negative shape, to actually focus beyond the jug and see what's through it.

By drawing that, you end up drawing the handle. Try and get the two sides more or less the correct angle. Draw the spout.

The top of it appears and the line down the side is to an angle. Draw what you see and don't make anything up. There is an ellipse along the bottom, which is not a complete circle.

It is a curve that travels behind the jug and comes forward. An ellipse is a squashed circle but doesn't have corners on it. The back of the bowl, because it's further away, will be a bit flatter than the front so the front must curve further forward and it has a double edge to it.

It has a rim that disappears around the back. Turn your hand around to get the angle right. At the base of the jug, again, it's got an elliptical corner on it, a rounded corner that comes under the jug quite heavily and then this little dish starts.

All these corrections at this stage don't matter at all. Next is the shading. Make your shading slightly more accurate here by looking at perspectives and how this height is slightly smaller than this height because that's further in the distance and these lines which are not parallel.

Use a nice soft 4B shading pencil. Look for the darkest parts of the arrangement. Darken up the shadows and the one that stands out the most which is actually the shadow that's down the side of the spout.

Change your angles slightly. Hold the pencil very flat against the paper for a hard crisp shadow inside the spout. If you've got an angle slightly wrong, rub it out or incorporate into a shadow.

As you look at the shading, you also see reflections. Put that in lesser dark. You can vary the tone by varying the angle of the pencil.

Shading also emphasizes shape. So, press the pencil in, push it in, incorporate lines into shadows and also work with different pressure depending on the depth of darkness that you want to achieve. Here's a trick that some artists use.

With your finger, push that graphite and carbon mix of the pencil around. That softens up the shadow and that's a very careful neat way of creating the effect. If it doesn't go so well for you, you can rub it out with the smudges.

There is your smooth reflective surface but here's another little trick. If there is a little bit of shading and you want to emphasize the fact that it's a reflective material, get a clean bit of rubber and remove some of the light and that's reflecting the lights. Keep things quite simple.

Shadows always touch the object that they come from unless the object is suspended in midair. So if you're drawing somebody and you want to make it look as if they're jumping, the shadow will be on the ground and won't