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focus on value

grid drawing

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Demonstrate your knowledge and skills:

  • use a grid drawing method
  • build 3D forms
  • Chiaroscuro shading pattern
  • value skills and shading technique

This assignment is to copy this still-life using the Grid method.

Copy each square - one by one.

Use HB or H pencil to draw outlines with very fine lines - harder the pencil - finer the lines.. You can use sodter pencil later for shading.

Do not shade until you finished drawing the very last square.

materials needed

paid links

drawing pencils set

kneaded erasers

white erasers




step 1. drawing

square 1

Select the first square that has an image (shapes) in it.

Work with one square at a time. I started with the top row.

Visually divide the square into quarters (red lines).

Mark the points where shapes cross the grid lines. Also mark all "key" points (blue marks). Think where to position these marks. Questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is this mark close to the 1/2 of the square's width/height?
  • Or is it closer to 1/3 or 1/4 of the square's width/height?
  • etc.

It is exactly the same technique that you used in Lesson 1 drawings:

This is how I marked the key points on my grid.

Connect all key marks. Make sure the shapes match.

Copy everything you see.
Forget the big picture. Just copy all the shapes that you see (even the blurred ones).

Add outlines of all major shadows and areas of high value contrast.

Focus on one square at a time!!!

Do not shade. Use only light fine pencil lines.


To help you focus on just one square - you might want to cover surrounding squares with 4 sticky notes.

square 2

Add as many details as possible. No rush!

Once you are done with one square - move to the next one.

The steps are the same:

  • key points
  • copy shapes
  • outline areas of high value contrast
  • no shading
  • adjust previous square if necessary

Complete this square and move on to the next.

next squares

Continue drawing the rest of the shapes.

Take your time - accuracy is very important here.

It is also a great practice of not only your drawing/shading skills, but your sense pf proportion!

finalizing the drawing

If you are using a drawing paper - you need to erase all grid lines at this point.

Straighten the lines where needed for more accuracy.

You might want to "lighten" the lines before the shading step.

Use a kneaded eraser and "tap" the drawing lightly to remove extra graphite

(you can also use a piece of soft part of bread (no crust) - rub lightly over the drawing - it will remove graphite and any dirt).

step 2. shading

observe the values

Start with observing and comparing each shape's value.

Find the darkest and the lightest values. Is the darkest value BLACK? Is the lightest value WHITE?

Start with the area where you have a bigger variety of values or bigger value contrasts.

Value is always darker/lighter next to the contrasting one.

Look at the darkest side of the block - the value is darker next the top and front sides and the corner - the areas of the biggest contrast.


Do NOT outline your shapes with dark lines!

Outlining makes everything look flat and "cartoonish". Look around! There are not a single item around you that has an outline! You can see all objects against some kind of background (negative space).

Adding some shading of the negative space makes your drawing more realistic:

Look how wrong the outline looks:

If you have an object that has an outline, turn the outline into shading.

Start shading from the object and then "away" to make the outline a part of shading strokes:

start shading

Shade the darkest values first.

Then shade the lighter values - keep comparing values as you shade with the darkest value you already have.

You might need to make a few adjustments to both.

Keep comparing the values between each other to maintain the initial value contrast.

Place a piece of paper next to your lightest areas - you will see that these areas also have values - they are not white!

As you shade yo need to fix imperfections in the drawing - straighten up lines, etc...

Start incorporating the drawing lines into shading - get rid of outlines.

Important: shade some background values next to the objects -they will help you to define the objects without outlining them and allow you to apply more accurate values.

Look at the two images below - see how adding background and surroundings changed the initial values. The parts that looked dark against white paper are not as dark against grey.

Continue shading.

You might want to place a piece of paper under your hand to prevent from smearing the graphite.

Complete shading the background.

After that - review all values. Having background done - might change the way you saw the values before.

Some adjustments might need to be made.

Use eraser to lift some graphite over the lightest areas and highlights.

You are done now!