Day 4 of week 8 of The Art & Science of Drawing discusses organic form shading, while day 5, the final lesson of the course, is about dynamic shading.

Day 4: Organic Form

Organic forms:

  • fruits, vegetables, figure, etc
  • much more complexity than with man-made objects
  • however, they often have a much larger margin of error
    • viewer will accept easier changes done to the original
    • small alteration / modifications from the original are difficult to detect without seeing the original

Organic Form Subject: A Butternut Squash

Simplifying Volumes & Values: Macro & Micro Analysis

  • before shading, analyze the shadow patterns, both at macro and micro level
  • always start with the big picture (the macro level)
  • you can do a macro/micro shadow study before doing the final drawing


  • start by drawing the form and the inner segments
    • use basic forms to simplify the drawing
    • use line quality and overlapped lines
  • draw the basic lines of termination
    • do not try to capture the exact shape of the line of termination at this stage
    • draw it lightly and approximate it to capture the macro details
  • lay a light wash of value in the shadow section of the line of termination
  • draw the cast shadow and lay a darker wash than before
  • do a second pass at the line of termination adding complexity as seen on the subject
    • use line quality to capture the complexity
    • draw it darker, closer to the final value
  • start darkening the cast shadow
  • darken the core shadow
    • also correct the line of termination, if needed
    • add a new layer of complexity to the line of termination
  • start adding the mid-tones and highlights
  • continue refining and adding complexity as much as you consider it is needed

The Assignment

  • find and draw an organic form using the shading process you've seen in the demo
  • use an object more complex than an orange but less complex than an pineapple (use a subject that challenges, but doesn't overwhelms you)

Day 5: Dynamic Shading

  • the scope of the lesson is to inspire shading in dynamic, unpredicted and expressive ways
  • as you start learning to draw and shade, it is important to follow a well thought and conscious process
  • as you progress and develop your skills, you should start experimenting with dynamic and expressive mark making
  • as long as you follow the laws of perspective and general shading, you can use any kind of mark-making

Hatching & Cross-Hatching

  • hatching
    • made with parallel and equally spaced lines
    • brent recommended technique:
      • use writing/tripod grip
      • draw only on the down-stroke
      • practice exercise: draw a line over and over again, without moving your hand
      • practice exercise: extend your fingers and then draw them toward your palm
      • practice exercise: start drawing one line over the other; when you're confident, start drawing your fingers toward your palm, while still drawing parallel lines
    • the length of the lines is not import as much as the lines being parallel and equally spaced
    • at times, you might need to use your entire arm instead of drawing the fingers toward your palm (in order to cover larger areas)
    • you can increase the speed your arm changes position to make the lines more spaced, thus creating the illusion of a lighter value
  • cross-hatching
    • start by hatching
    • add a second hatch, only slightly angled from the first (try something between 20 and 40 degrees)
    • common problem: the two sets of hatching are close to being perpendicular (90 degrees)
  • you can use overhand grip for a coarser and lighter hatching or cross-hatching
  • once you master the hatching and the cross-hatching, try your own variations

Closing Thoughts

  • drawing is both an art and a science
  • you must practice until the rules becomes second nature
  • however, brent considers that a drawing isn't art until it transcends the rules
  • a drawing that just follows the rules is nothing more than a technical exercise
  • how you draw, the way you put your line marking on the paper says more about you as an artist than the subject you choose to draw

Final Course Assignment

  • find subjects that fascinate you & draw them in ways that excite you

Setup (including the light source)
Setup (including the light source)
Initial light drawing
Initial light drawing
Basic line of termination shading and ground cast shado
Basic line of termination shading and ground cast shado
Final image
Final image