Category Archives: light on form

drawing a study of an apple

This is a time laps video of my process for drawing a study of an apple. I start with a soft pencil establishing the proportions of the big shapes. Then I switch to a harder pencil to refine the contours. After lightly erasing the initial marks made with the softer pencil, I begin to indicate the light on form with the same harder pencil. Notice I start with a mid tone applied everywhere except in the area of the high light. I continue to develop the light on form switching to softer pencils as needed to establish the darker tones.

apple-TL-photo-1This is the subject.

graphite study of a cherry


This is the contour drawing done with a #B pencil


Using the same #B, I rendered the light side in one  continuous tone being sure to save the high light a little bigger than I saw it. Then I used #2B to indicate the shadow side in one continuous tone, several steps darker than the light side.


This is the finished drawing. Notice that I did not lighten  the shadow side to indicate the reflected light, rather I only darkened the core shadow which makes the reflected light appear lighter than originally done.


This is what the camera saw.

drawing: apple study, light on form

apple drawing light on form

This is a photo of the subject for my drawing with the terms used to indicate the tonal steps (modeling factors) labeled.


To start, I do a careful contour drawing plus indicating the location of the high lights, terminator, and cast shadow.


Next, to save the high lights I make everything else several shades darker. For this light halftone I use a #H pencil.


Now I have made a darker mid tone to seperate the light side from the shadow side using a #HB pencil. Still only two values plus the white of the paper.


Finally,  I add the darker values indicating the pattern on the light side with a #H or HB, being careful to keep them no darker than the light tones of the shadow side. Then likewise I add the darker values, using a #HB and 2B pencil, indicating the pattern on the shadow side along with the core, occlusion, and cast shadow.