Tone, Shadow & Shape

     The circle, square and triangle are the three basic shapes in nature. Everything is made up of these three shapes or their variations. We can see circles in faces, the sun and moon, balls, tires, fruit, vegetables and many more objects. The same goes for the other shapes. Buildings, appliances, computers and on and on. I'm sure that you can think of many other things. Drawing is basically just putting these objects together in a way that makes sense.


A car is made up of rectangles, triangles and squares. As you can see in the clip art of this automobile the basic shapes are easy to see.


     Go ahead and try this exercise for yourself. You will see how easy it is to use the three basic shapes as a skeleton or frame for the base of your drawing.

     This drawing doesn't have to be perfect this is just an exercise in technique. I want you to find an object that you are very comfortable with and see if you can pick out the shapes and do a shape drawing of the object. Remember the only way to hone your skill is by practice.

     At this point I would like to make a suggestion to those of you that are using these lessons for your home schooled children. Parents when you are going over the lessons with your student go ahead and do the exercises with them. It will help them to overcome any anxiety they may have in trying a lesson and it is a lot of fun to draw together. If your student draws a little freer than you do allow them to instruct you, sometimes they will learn more through teaching than through being taught. Above all let this be a time of fun and not a time of stress. I can not emphasize enough that drawing should be fun and that the only rule is there are no rules. Whatever style you end up with doesn't matter it's your style.


     In the sample above you can see the way I rendered the shapes of the fish before the final illustration. You can do it any way that you feel comfortable. These are examples only. I suggest that you find your own way of building the skeleton or frame that is comfortable for you. You may not need as many shapes as another person does or you may need more. The lines in this illustration are dark only for this lesson's sake. Normally I would render the base line drawing very lightly so it would disappear as I complete the drawing over top of it.

     Now lets go to page three to learn about tone and shadow.

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