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Chiaroscuro. We will be learning how to ‘ shade ’ our drawings to help create the illusion of depth!. Chiaroscuro. A word borrowed from Italian which translates as, "light and shade" or “ dark. ” It refers to the modeling of volume by depicting light and shade through contrast.

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We will be learning how to ‘shade’ our drawings to help create the illusion of depth!

  • A word borrowed from Italian which translates as, "light and shade" or “dark.”
  • It refers to the modeling of volume by depicting light and shade through contrast.


by Michelle White, BFA, Painting, 1991

chiaroscuro what we call shading
Chiaroscuro (what we call ‘shading’)
  • This is one means of strengthening an illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.
  • Chiaroscuro was an important topic among artists of the Renaissance.

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, ca. 1512–15Gerard David The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.21)

here is a list of ways to create depth
Here is a list of ways to create depth!
  • Let’s try the following in our sketchbooks…. Label each of your drawings
  • Overlapping
  • Cross-contour lines
  • Foreshortening
  • Perspective
  • Chiaroscuro!
interesting fact
Interesting fact…
  • On May 28, 1998, Jody-Anne Maxwell (Jamaican, 1986-) won the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word "chiaroscurist" -- an artist who uses chiaroscuro.
  • You are on the way to becoming “chiaroscurists” yourselves! ;)
here comes the vocabulary
Here comes the VOCABULARY!!!
  • You will be introduced to quite a few terms.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed…
  • You will learn it and practice it!
  • And you will master it!!!
  • The lightness or darkness of tones or colors.
  • White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray.
value scale
Value Scale
  • An organized linear scale of color swatches ranging from the lightest of values to the darkest of values.
  • A value scale is a tool that artists use to help interpret the appropriate values.
  • A smooth transition between black and white
  • We want to make our gradations as smooth as possible.
  • If values are not blended smoothly, your drawing will have a ‘striped’ look!
  • The highlight represents where the light directly hits the object.
  • We use the white of the paper to show the highlight.
light tone
Light tone
  • The light tone is the second lightest value on an object.
  • They are shown as light gray and usually border the HIGHLIGHTED area.
half mid tone
Half (mid) tone
  • The half tone is medium gray.
  • The half tones would be next to the light tones.
  • Lets review…
    • Highlight
    • Light tone
    • Half tone
shadow edge
Shadow Edge
  • The shadow edge is dark gray.
  • The shadow edge is where the object begins to get darker due to a shadow!
  • Shadows are not solid…they have gradations too!
core shadow
Core Shadow
  • The core of the shadow is the darkest part of the shadow -- the place where the least light hits the object.
  • These dark values are what really makes your drawing come to life!!
reflected light
Reflected Light
  • Reflected light is what makes the core of the shadow appear to be away from the edge of the object. It is where light is reflected from a nearby area onto the object.
  • Careful observation of reflected light will help you make objects more convincingly round looking.
cast shadow
Cast Shadow
  • The cast shadow is the shadow the object casts onto another surface.
  • This kind of shadow usually has a hard edge, which can help you distinguish it from a modeling shadow.
  • A cast shadow will be darkest closest to the object casting it.
drawing pencils
Drawing Pencils
  • We will be using drawing pencils for our value studies.
  • Drawing pencils come in a range of values.
  • Artists use the value of the pencil to do the work…not pressure.
  • How many of you have ended up with ‘pencil-hands’ after drawing??
  • We do not want our hands to smear our hard work.
  • Use a coversheet when you draw! (a paper-towel)
  • Apply light even pressure. Use the value of the pencil…not pressure.
  • Shade evenly in ONE direction (diagonal, horizontal, or vertical) choose one and stick with it.
  • Shade in each area more that once to eliminate any shading gaps.
  • Keep your paper surface clean, use a cover sheet and NO SMUDGING WITH YOUR FINGERS!