This is a simple way to teach basic 3D drawing and introduce light, mid and dark tone. I get the kids to work from real life objects such as wooden blocks and geometric shapes,the less colourful the better, as sometimes to start with people can find it difficult seeing the difference between mid, light and dark tone. I also tend to start with straight edged shapes rather than spheres, to get the basics. A tip and great support, is to use white objects or light objects as it's much easier to see the tonal difference, you can always expand this for upper years by setting up still life on each table in the classroom with a selection of different white objects to draw and ask the kids to do a tonal drawing of these.
1. I place the object at an angle as it's much easier to draw. Start by drawing one side of the object. What I do is show the kids how the angle of the lines on opposite sides match. ( see the V and the X in photo 1)
2. Draw one of the other sides, again matching up the angles on opposite sides. ( see the X and the N in photo 2)
3. Then draw the final side same as above. ( see the V and the N in photo 3)
Tip - a great guide and support is to use a pencil to check out if the angles of your lines are the same, I love things being super practical and find this a great support
( see photos 4 & 5 )
Bringing in the tone is easy, I would suggest to begin with keep it super simple with only mid, light and dark tone. In terms of pencil I prefer 2B as the lead is softer to work with through HB's will work too, though the variant in tone will be slightly different.
1. To start with I talk about light source, often switching off the overhead lights as these are not great for showing tone, as there is light coming form all angles. What I tend to do is make sure the blinds are open so you have a natural light source coming in from the window, if that's not happening you could always use a torch to shine on the object. You'll get quite dramatic tone with this, but as an example, the kids will be able to see it clearly. You could always bring in a discussion about different types of light.
2. I then talk about light, medium and dark tone and ask the kids where they can see it on the object, making sure to ask children at different sides of the table, as where you are standing will differ in the tone you can see.
3. We talk about how to create different types of tone, the way we can hold our pencils, do we need to press hard to get dark tone, ( p.s the answer is no), we talk about how we can build it up in layers. I let the children share here, doing demo's or show them examples
4. I then bring in talking about our body here, checking in with how we feel, is our body hard and tense when we are working or does it feel gentle. This can be used as a check -in throughout the class.
5. The kids can colour in in any direction they want, I leave it up to them, there is no right or wrong. Sometimes you get really lovely texture with this.
Tip - Every one will slightly differ in terms of how they use light, mid and dark tone, some will be darker, some will be lighter, and that's totally okay. Sometime I use the white of my paper as the lights tone and to other times I shade very light, both is fine ( see photos below).
Gyl works as an art and design teacher with primary school children. Having previously taught art and design at high school, worked at the Venice Bienalle, and as an arts lecturer at further education college. She also enjoys making her own work.