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Shading and 3D Form Boot Camp - Graphite

April 1, 8, noon-3 p.m. Pacific

Offered via Zoom - $80


**Note, I don't seem to be able to get rid of the shipping charge, so when you register and get to the check-out screen, choose the "Store Pickup" option in shipping and that'll get rid of the shipping charge.**


Two consecutive Saturdays: April 1 and 8, noon-3 p.m. Pacific

(Any participant in any of my workshops always is welcome to attend the free open studio/drop in session every Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pacific, most weeks of the year.)


In science illustration work, there is a really important rule: form over pattern. When I was learning to be a science illustrator, this was the hardest thing for me to learn. The basic gist is that it's more important to show the shape of your subject matter than to get its exact color or its exact stripes or spots. 

So how do you show form? The challenge is rendering 3D objects on a 2D surface (paper). This workshop will provide some ideas about how to use variations in light and dark available to us in monochrome (graphite pencils). It's the difference between having objects look real vs. flat and cartoonish. 

I am a fan of working in pencil, and find graphite to be an incredibly powerful medium. Learning to create form in monochrome is an important foundational skill to develop before attempting to do so in color. (A subsequent workshop will address the same issue in color, using color theory.)

This workshop will address: 


  • The importance of proper techniques to develop form

  • The difference between good form rendering (and bad form rendering)

  • What are highlight, midtone, core shadow, reflected light and cast shadow?

  • How can you apply theoretical shading techniques to real-world objects?

  • How to use the full range of saturation to help create form


We'll work on several drawings that will allow us to get some practice in, and you'll have some homework as well.


Materials list:*

  • Pencils: If you don't already have a really good set of pencils, here's your opportunity to get a set. I love Staedtler Lumograph pencils, and a 12-pencil set would be good to have.

  • Erasers: In graphite work, erasers aren't only for erasing, they're helpful for making textures as well. These are the kinds of erasers I use regularly.

  • Paper: I like to have a sketch pad to work out ideas, but I also like to have some nice Bristol board paper for projects that are more special. Here are suggestions.

  • Pencil sharpener: lots of different ideas on what's best, but I have settled on buying less expensive ones and replacing them frequently as the blades dull quickly

  • Blending stumps and sandpaper pointer, like those in this little set

  • A clear ruler

  • A "low budget light box" (I'll send you directions showing how to build one using a sheet of foam core board)

  • A little lamp like this one or similar

  • A few small white objects (a white egg, a white mug, a ping pong ball, etc.)


*Some of the provided links go to products at Blick, but these are standard items that can be purchased at many different stores. 


Basic botanical shapes
Sand dollar
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