My work fits into two very different and unrelated categories: realism and abstract. Each style allows me to challenge different parts of my personality. Drawing realistically indulges the side of me that loves detail and is a perfectionist. It challenges me technically and I am always pushing to create more accurate drawings. The abstract works reflect my interest in colour and form. I am able to work loosely and fluidly, reacting to the painting as I go. It is sometimes a relief to shift from the tight discipline of realistic drawing to this type of work, but it can be equally relieving to go from these open-ended paintings to getting lost in the details of a drawing.
A very important part of drawing realistically is shading: the variation in value from shadows to highlights that describe the shape of something. By improving your shading, you can greatly improve the quality of your drawings. Shading isn’t difficult to learn, but it does take some practice. You can learn how to make your drawings more realistic by understanding light, controlling your pencil, and blending.
To learn more about Miranda, please take a moment to visit her websites below:
Art Lessons & Tips: http://www.learntoart.com/
Portrait Work: http://www.customportraitsonline.com/
Online Gallery: http://www.mirandaaschenbrenner.com
How to Shade a Drawing Using Pointillism
For pointillism, you’re going to need some special pens. The best are fine tip pens with free-flowing ink. Ball point pens don’t work well because they need to be moving for the ink to flow. My favourites are Staedtler Pigment Liners. You’ll also want a range of sizes as well, from very fine to a wider tip. Something like a 01, a 03, and a 05 would work well.
Throughout the drawing, you’ll use each size of pen. Make sure you blend the dots together when you switch pen size. You don’t want to see the border where you switched pens. Also, don’t rush your mark-making. If you get careless, some of your points might get little tails. You want nice clean dots to create an even pattern across the whole of your drawing.
As with any drawing, you want to start out with a good line drawing. Outline the contours of your subjects, as well as the shapes of the major shadows and highlights. You want to have good guidelines for when it comes to filling in the values.
When using pointillism to shade, you need to think about values just like you do when shading with a pencil. It’s important to have a range of values to give your drawing enough contrast.
Let’s use the sphere as an example for how to shade with pointillism. Once you learn how to shade basic shapes, you can shade just about anything!
Start with your finest pen and make some dots around the highlight. Avoid putting any dots inside the highlight area, but make sure that the points gradually become more and farther apart closer to the highlight. You don’t want your marks to suddenly stop dead. As you move away from the highlight, place your dots closer together.
As the highlight fades to the mid-tones, switch to the middle-sized pen and mark your points closer together. Now you can fill in almost the entire sphere, making your points closer together as you approach the shadow.
For the shadow, use your widest pen and make your marks close together. In the darkest areas, your dots should be so close together that white shows through. You might be tempted to cheat and use the pen to color in the entire shadow.
Try to resist!
It would be faster, but it would be obvious. With pointillism, it’s important to use only dots. The marks create a pattern or a texture that is visible even in the solid black areas. If you have a really large area of black that would take you days to dot, you could try colouring it in solid, then adding a few dots on top to mimic the pattern. I don’t recommend it, but you could try.
When drawing with pointillism, make sure you don’t draw any lines. Even when you’re drawing wrinkles or eyelashes use a series of points to create the line. It will look more natural than a solid line, which would stand out amongst all those dots
When your drawing is done, let the ink dry for ten minutes or so before erasing the pencil lines. You’d hate to smudge all your hard work!
Pointillism in Colour
You can also do pointillism in paints or pastels. This technique involves layering different colored dots on top of each other. When seen from far away, it’s like an optical illusion: dots blend together and create a new color. A simple example of this would be dots of red and yellow, which would appear as orange from far away. This type of illusion was used extensively by the French painter, Seurat.
His example from Wikipedia is A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, by Seurat.