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Art Lessons: Light and Dark

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now we're gonna talk about light and dark.
There are a vast array between your
darkest dark and your lightest light.
But, for all intents and purposes, all you
really need when
you're outside in the sun, all you really
need is about five tonal
intervals between your lightest light and
your darkest dark.
You could have probably a million, if you
wanted to, but you don't really need to.
So, you really need to have right around
five tonal intervals.
In other words, steps from your light to
your mid-tone to your dark.
Now let's talk about that a little and
as it relates to as it relates to light on
a sphere.
So let's say I have let's say I have a
And the sphere's on the horizon.
Now I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna do a
little makeshift
value key right here, and I'm gonna have
five tonal intervals.
So, I'm gonna have this one here, which is
my light.
This one here, which is my, what's called
my mid-tone.
And I'm doing this very roughly, so it's
not obviously
you’d want it to be very, very, very
clean, very organized.
But right now I’m kinda doing it, so I can
have a guide as I guide myself through,
through drawing this.
Because we’re also gonna talk about
a couple of things as it relates to the
sphere and light.
And actually the study of light is
actually called light logic, light logic.
So, we get into value we're really talking
about light logic.
Okay, so here's
my mid-tone, and
here's the step
in the middle, and
here is ,here is
another step.
So, each one is going to be, each one is
going to be an equal jump.
So, if you're measuring it, everything is
So those tonal intervals are gonna be
equally dispersed.
So, this is going to be as much of a jump
as from here to here,
and this is gonna be as much of a jump
from here to here, tonally speaking.
Musicians can relate to these intervals.
Now my dark, dark is I'm gonna bring in a
four B pencil,
cuz it's gonna be a lot darker and blacker
than just my normal number two SAT pencil.
I always talk about it as an SAT pencil
because, it just reminds me of school,
which is funny cuz I draw with this all
the time.
So, it's like people always think that you
like a secret magic weapon when you draw.
Like oh whatta you draw, whatta you draw
Well, well you must have, you must have
that crazy pencil.
Like it's [SOUND].
Like magic lighting up.
I just use a number 2 pencil that I used
in high
school, but I use it in a greater way now.
Did okay on my SATs, though.
Okay, so as you could see here so
these jumps might not be perfectly I'm
gonna glaze this a little bit.
So, that's kind of what we're looking for.
We're looking for our, our, our light.
And we're gonna take that, and
we're actually gonna relate that to the
sphere, as I break this down.
So, let's just start.
So, if you have light travelling this
and I'm gonna show you an ellipse on that
Like this.
So, if you have light traveling this way,
that means the light is travellng
like this, like that.
As opposed to light that's traveling this
way, which is traveling like that.
In other words if the light's coming down
like this,
then your core shadow will be going that
If the light's coming down this way,
you're going to have it more like that.
Okay, so here's going to be, and I'm just
picking a random, a random side.
And we're talking about probably sunlight.
We're not talking about diffuse light
atmospheric light.
We're talking about light side, dark side,
sunlight light light not artificial light,
So, I'm just kinda getting
some value on here really fast.
So, we're just kinda using a typical idea,
this is the kind of thing that you do when
you get into any, any drawing class.
Your teacher has probably done this.
And really you know,
one of the things about art that i've
found over years because I went the art
center college of design in Pasadena which
was a great school.
And before that, I went to the High School
of Music and Performing Arts in New York.
So, I've always kind of been in art class.
I studied at Art Students League.
But the thing is that I've always
continued to study over and
over and over again, the basics.
Because I feel like you really never get
enough basic studies.
Cuz I do so much work on my own and I have
to work so
much out of my head that I have to go back
counsel those teachers to give me
that information again to go out there and
improve myself.
So I always wanna improve myself.
I mean, Michelangelo was 81, he said: I'm
just beginning to learn how to draw.
I mean, it's a, really, it's a never
ending process.
Just when you think you've scratched the
surface, it's, like: oh,
I totally get value but now I'm into
Then I gotta deal with hue.
Then I gotta deal with saturation.
Then I'm talk about chroma.
Then I'm talking about brightness.
Then I'm talking about contrast.
Then I'm talking about texture.
Then I'm talking about surface.
Then I'm talking about light logic.
Then I'm talking about, I mean, it's
really endless, you know?
Figures, skin.
I mean, you can go on ad infinitum about
because it's, it's, it's really one of
the, you know, I feel it's the deepest,
deepest ccience, in a lot of ways is art.
You're really getting into something
that's quite spiritual and profound.
So, anyway, I'm taking right around, I'm
taking I’m gonna take my,
my mid-tone here and kinda use that as my,
as my dark side.
And as I, as I put it down, I’m kinda
painting it
in with a pencil, and painting it in,
painting it in,
and there’s creating a, an area of
So, the light is, light is traveling.
It's, it's coming this way, and I'm
creating my dark side,
which is here, and my light side.
Now, really should be one more step.
I'm gonna cheat this and just say, you
know what?
Let me get one more step in there.
Let me do six.
Even though five would work, I wanna get
because I want to show you guys something
So I'm darkening everything else.
Okay, so what six is gonna bring,
it's going to give me the light side here.
So, I'm gonna label these.
So this is going to be one, which is gonna
be my highlight.
Two is gonna be light side.
Three is gonna be dark side, I'll just say
or the local, the local color, the local
Four is gonna be little bit of a
transition between the core shadow,
which we'll get into in a minute.
So this will be my transition tone.
And then this will be a core shadow,
and this will be cast shadow.
Okay, let me just kinda get this down.
Now, as the light's coming down, it's
casting, it's casting a shadow.
It's casting a shadow onto my words, cast
So, now you're getting into a very, very,
very fascinating yet complex language.
Cuz now you're dealing you're dealing with
light side,
dealing with dark side, you're gonna deal
with core shadow, and
core shadow, you have to think about it,
like, as your darkest dark.
It's the apex.
So, if you have, here you have
a box, and this side is the light side,
this side is the dark side, your core,
your core shadow is going to be right here
on the corner.
That's gonna be your darkest dark.
And that dark is going to fade into your
dark side.
You won't even be able to kind of
see necessarily the difference on the dark
side at first glance,
but that is your apex right there,
just as it is when you have a highlight.
Your highlight
will be always on the edge closest to you,
like that.
That's your highlight.
So it's it's like a corner.
So as this, as this turns form,
you're gonna get your dark right here.
And that's gonna be.
That's gonna be your core shadow.
Now, we're gonna get some value in the
Just to show you that this is not sitting
in a white snowy kingdom.
Everything has a value.
And the only way you're gonna see those
lights is if you kinda throw in some
value here.
And when I throw it in, I like to paint it
in, like you know, just.
Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.
And you're gonna have areas where you have
Like that.
And you have areas where your gonna lose
And that's, one of the greatest things is
about, painting and
drawing is, is lost ends.
That's a whole other lecture, but we'll do
it a little bit here,
because it kinda helps, give dimensions to
Gives dimension and volume, creates space.
It's one of the great ways to create
Overlap is one way.
Edge is, is an amazing way to create
So Sargent was a master of,
of edge control.
[SOUND] It's hard to find lectures on edge
I've kinda like,
I've dugged endlessly in terms of trying
to find like edge lectures.
I've found, I've found a a edge lecture
you could check it out yourself.
Talks a little bit about edge a lecture
by Howard Pyle who's the teacher of the
Brandywine School.
And Howard Pyle was also the teacher of
Maxfield Parrish and N.C.
Wyeth the great American illustrator.
Who illustrated Treasure Island and a
million other stories.
And N.C. Wyeth of course was the father of
Andrew Wyeth who
was the father of Jamie Wyeth.
A history and a legacy of great artists.
But Howard Pyle was an amazing, amazing
painter and he actually wrote about edge.
I barely ever found edge.
Richard Schmidt, fantastic painter,
he talks, he talks about edge.
But Howard Pyle was.
Wow, just real crazy.
So, you've got your dark side.
And here your core shadow you know, you
don't have to really render them,
just kinda showing it as you've got.
You core and your core could be like a
ribbon, a ribbon of darkness like this.
So your ribbon of darkness is where the
apex is.
And then, right here as you get a cast
[NOISE] You have what's called
your occlusion shadow.
Your occlusion shadow.
And in your occlusion shad, cat shadow or
occlusion shadow it's gonna be where your
darkest dark is.
as the cast shadow radiates out, you're
starting to lose value.
Your value starts to get less and less.
And the edge starts to soften, starts to
get softer.
Softer [SOUND]
Now let me kinda just use my finger
a little bit.
Rub it just a little bit like that.
I'll lost that edge back there cuz I'm,
I'm a painter.
I don't wanna lose that edge.
And here, gotta make a little transition
of that core like that.
Now there's gonna be a highlight here.
And that's gonna, what's gonna, that's
gonna be what's going to you know,
pop this.
So here's my highlight right here cuz my
needed eraser.
[SOUND] Which I love so much.
And I can take my kneaded eraser and kinda
fold it and
play with it and make it fit to my thumb.
How about that?
Now, I'm going to copyright that.
It's proprietary BUA eraser.
See, that's my thumb print, a new
That's your highlight.
So, you've got your highlight.
That's where the light is hitting.
And depending on the surface, it's gonna
be, you know.
Could be all different brightnesses and
And here is kinda getting lost.
Let's round this out.
I, I.
sometimes I just like to dapple it, cuz.
Sometimes what, also with that edge,
like, I don't really like to draw a line
around that.
I just like to kinda create a value behind
To explain the edge.
So, here in the occlusion shadow, that's
where the ball,
that's where the ball meets the ground.
my dark.
Like that.
See that, that is my dark right here.
That's my darkest dark, the occlusion
And there's going to be a nice soft edge
And as the shadow radiates from the
You're going to crisp it.
Kay, so hold on.
Let me just, get some value down to show
you what we're working with here.
we're gonna do here is we're gonna crisp
So I'm choking up on my pencil.
It's like you're a batter and you're kinda
being loose, you're being loose,
being loose.
And then, sometimes you just gotta choke
up on it if you want real control.
You can't bunt loose like that.
You gotta choke up on it and control the
So, that's what I'm doing right now,
choking up on it, controlling it.
So this is what I call Crisping.
Cast shadow, crispy crispy, crispy crispy
cast shadow.
And as, shadow roll falls off it loses
value back in the space.
And obviously, you could exaggerate that
because you could,
you could trick things out a little bit
like this.
[SOUND] Where you show that it's a little
bit lighter there.
Or a little bit lighter there.
But you kinda wanna knock it back to,
cuz you don't want it to be as light as
your highlight.
And, say it's going all the way to there.
And pretend the gradation is not there
even though it is.
Now, the back of that is not
really thick, so.
Here also
it's important to catch an edge here or
So you wanna catch, like, catch an edge
And not here.
Just kind of lost that edge.
And maybe.
Catch an edge here, but not here.
And that's one of those things that's
kinda hard to explain.
It's like, well, why did you catch an edge
here and, and not there?
Cuz it looks right.
How about that answer.
Because I felt it.
Because your intuition is so powerful that
sometimes when you make decisions
they are more realistic than nature is
even showing you.
So sometimes you really have to tr, trust
your intuition.
You have to really trust your intuition.
Because your intuition is making some
can be making some amazing judgments.
And that's just one of those things.
Edge is a, edge is a tricky one.
So you gotta.
You gotta really go, trust yourselves on
those decisions.
Now, I trust myself to know that
I'm cutting off my sphere, and I'm not
getting my sphere right.
Let me just kind of spend a second and
not talk, and get my sphere right.
So that core, right here, usually, needs
to be darker.
Not necessarily as dark as the occlusion
shadow, but at least as dark as the.
As this part of the cast shadow right
So this should be darker here.
Cuz this is as, this is the transition
As it's rolling back into space.
Like that.
See, it's kinda rolling back.
Now, you're starting to feel that volume.
You feel it?
I feel it.
Starting to feel that volume, and then
we're gonna kind of.
You know, where gonna get that, this side
lighter by getting the background darker.
That's the kind of stuff you wanna do a, a
Not constantly darken the form up, but
maybe push the background more.
I like to always think about background
A lot of artists are what I call
foreground artists,
they just don't, they don't really care
about anything in the background.
A lot of portrait artists and stuff but
you know background is important.
It's everything.
You know it's funny in animation they used
to just tell you that
background is background, don't make it
But, for me the background is.
Just as important of a device as your
foreground, okay.
Just kind of glazing over this whole
just to get some paint on there,
even though it's graphite it's paint to
Cuz you could be doing the same thing with
As you can see here, I'm using my hand.
See that?
I'm just using my pinky.
So, I'm not getting close to it, cuz if I
get close to it I'm gonna smear my whole
drawing and it will be like [SOUND]
Not a good thing.
I've done it before.
It's just really bad.
So, you know, I, I see people do this.
that's very nice and dainty, but [SOUND]
That's so that's so much work for me.
So instead you can do all that.
You could wear gloves.
You can do whatever you want.
But the reality ism I just take my pencil,
hold it way back here.
I just think about it like I'm painting.
Now I've lost that edge here.
So that gives it a little bit of
atmosphere here.
A little bit of atmosphere.
Now I'm gonna come in with two more things
just to kinda, like, finish this up.
And as you could see, we can go on forever
with this.
I mean, we can make this, like, super
realistic if we want and
just kind of render it.
A lot of people do that.
And it looks really cool, that's what they
teach you at all the classical academies,
and I've done it before.
My lord, it will, we could do this all
day, and you kind of get into it, and
it can be really fun.
But, the, the basic principle is here, is
that, you know we have,
we have our [NOISE] We have our, our core
shadow, here.
Which is right around here.
And our, our, our dark core, which is
right around the, the value of the cast.
We have our occlusion shadow here, which
is the darkest dark.
We have our light side.
We have our dark side.
Now let's make sure that our highlight is
In fact let's just take that out.
And not only pop it, but pop it in the
direction of the form.
In the direction of the form.
Where's our blue eraser?
There we go.
So that's popping in the direction of the
form like that.
Now another thing is just lose some of
that light.
Another thing is.
Let me soften it a little.
Sometimes I like to just dab it.
Just dab it.
Mm, not feeling that, the highlight there
so, let's make a correction.
Kinda liked where it was before.
Mm okay.
I use my fingers a lot too, just to kinda
soften things and see just like that.
I feel like the highlight's gotta be a
little higher.
And once again maybe you know, it's a
feeling thing.
Now the other thing is to really get that
reflected light.
So you've got this surface here and you've
got the light coming down and
the light is coming down hitting the ball,
casting a shadow,
hitting the surface of the ground bouncing
coming back up reflecting light on the
spherical object.
Light's coming down, light side accent,
core, dark side, cast shadow, surface,
bounce, boop, back to the reflected light.
So reflected light could be, right around
and sometimes there is not reflected
but, it's one of those things to have like
You know, maybe, maybe it's just a little
off like that.
See, you, it kind of offers another
dimension to the ball.
Other dimension.
Real fast.
Just really soft.
Now the reflected light should not be as
light obviously as the highlight.
The reflected light is very subtle.
It's subtle.
So it should be, should be subtle.
[SOUND] Like that.
There we go.
That highlight is a little bit more
And, knock that reflective light back so
once again,
highlight, light side, core shadow, dark
reflected light, exclusion shadow, cast