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Drawing Lesson 36, Part 2 – How to Draw a Female

How to Draw a Female – Life Drawing in Red Pencil

Video Lesson Description

In this video lesson you will discover How to Draw a Female from life in red pencil on a toned paper.

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How to Draw a Female

When it comes to the question of “How to Draw a Female” and making a life model color pencil drawing, a fine artist should consider the skin tones to choose a color pencil. The skin mid-tones and shades look good in red pencil. The red color pencil drawing marks might look very similar to red chalk or sanguine.


How to Draw a Female
Many of the Old Masters used chalk and sanguine media for their preparatory sketches and cartoons. The word, cartoon, in fine art, means a full-size drawing made in preparation for a painting or other work of art. Cartoons were used to transfer the picture outlines onto canvas, board or other support. Such drawings, including color pencil drawings, were, in fact, so good that they became artworks in their own right. Many art lovers were collecting these types of drawings along with paintings.

Drawings, in Western European culture, and color pencil drawing in particular, have come into their own right as a kind of art. It is considered a foundation for other kinds of art like: painting, sculpture, architecture and design. Elements of color pencil drawing create an illusion of three-dimensional reality by means of lights and shades.

When considering how to draw a female, both linear constructive drawing and shaded color pencil drawing becomes easier when the fine artist can recognize basic geometrical forms in the more sophisticated object. If you know how to draw a cube, cylinder, sphere or pyramid, then you can apply this knowledge to a variety of organic forms like the human body for, example. The most complex shapes can be seen as a compilation of quite simple objects.

For example, in a color pencil drawing, the model’s arm can be virtually simplified as cylinders assembled together. Then, comprehension of light and shade on those cylinders will help to understand how shade rendering can be applied to the realistic looking arm on the picture.

Three-dimensional volumes have planes and edges, which can help in a color pencil drawing. The proficient fine artist must have the ability to imagine all objects as see-through things. When objects are totally transparent in his imagination, the fine artist can easily appreciate those objects’ forms, dimensions and volumes. This approach helps in constructive linear color pencil drawing. It makes depicted objects more realistic because they are depicted with confidence and knowledge.

The same is true for shades rendering on complex objects. Mental simplification of a multifaceted object enables the fine artist to see light and shade more unified. For a beginner, when doing a color pencil drawing, it is sometimes a challenging task to depict the vast complexity of tonal values of a model’s body. However, when the model is presented in basic geometrical objects, then it is much easier to grasp the concept of light and shade on the model’s body.

Of course, the model’s body is much more complex and that is why we can subdivide main geometrical forms into smaller objects. Those smaller objects also will be basic forms like segments of a sphere, cube, cylinder, pyramid or cone; afterwards, the subdivision can be repeated once again. So going from big simplified masses to smaller forms, we can describe the model’s shape with more precision. Every geometrical form in our color pencil drawing will have its own light and shade, which will contribute to the overall picture.

Another thing you need to consider when rendering shades on a color pencil drawing and thinking how to draw a female, is the line between light and shade. Geometrical simplification also helps with this task. When you mentally see virtual geometrical forms with their planes and edges between planes, then you can easily see the body’s contour that goes along the line dividing light and dark areas.

The geometrical objects approach is good for both drawing from life, as well as, making artwork from the imagination.

Avoiding Tone Rendering Mistakes in Color Pencil Drawing

In this “How to Draw a Female” video lesson I will describe some common mistakes in drawing for you to avoid. There are two common mistakes in tonal rendering. First, some beginners may start a color pencil drawing with the deepest tonal value their pencil can provide and run out of the pencil depth almost immediately. The second mistake is when an artist works in a very low contrast – rendering shades close to mid-tones – while leaving shadows under-rendered. This makes the color pencil drawing dull and uninteresting.

A good approach to finishing the color pencil drawing is to mark the darkest shade accent in the fullest tone the pencil is capable of. This darkest spot will be a benchmark and will show the artist the maximum tonal depth for the artwork.

Fine artists need to constantly compare tonal values of various areas of the color pencil drawing to each other. Two areas with similar looking tones might not necessarily have identical tones. Tones are being visually affected by the tonal values of nearby areas. For example, the form shadow might look lighter than it really is because of the dark accent of cast shadow located next to it.

How to Draw a Female – Tonal Value Rules

There are rules to tonal values in color pencil drawing. These rules are universal and work for life model drawings, as well as, a still-life or landscape drawings.

Here are these rules:

1. The further away an object is from the source of light, the less this object is lit by the light. Mathematically this rule follows the law, which calculates the luminosity of the object in reverse proportion to the squared distance to that object. That means the object twice further from the source of light is illuminated four times less.

2. Light areas of an object look darker the further this object is from the viewer.

3. Dark areas of an object look lighter the further this object is from the viewer.

4. The further away the object is located from the source light, the less contrast between light and shades it has.

The skilled fine artist must know these rules and use the knowledge in the color pencil drawing.

To see the rules of tonal values in practice, you can simply take a lamp and move it closer to and further away from the objects in question, for example, a model or a still-life. You will notice that the further away the source of light is, the duller the illumination of this object becomes. Cast shadows become lighter, the light spots become darker. Move the lamp too far away and cast shadows may completely disappear while the object takes an even, mid-tone all over.

Without the knowledge of these rules it is very hard to become a proficient fine artist.

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