Monday, May 17, 2010

Drawing Glossary – The Drawing Board

 Petunia Graphite


2009 Copyright Valerie Jones


When I began drawing, people would use words that only the art world would recognize.  I had no clue as to what they meant.  Now that I know what they mean, I thought I’d share some terms that I frequently use when I teach.

I took these definitions from Betty Edward’s books Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and Color.  A few also came from Lee Hammond’s book How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs

Cast Shadow:  The darkest dark, as close to black as possible. This is the shadow the object creates from being away from the light source.

Composition: The arrangement of shapes, spaces, lights, darks, and colors within the format of an artwork.

Contour Line:  In drawing, a line that represents the edge of a form or a group of forms.

Crosshatching:  A method of shading by using short parallel lines, often in superimposed sets of lines crossed at various angles to darken an area.

Edge:  In drawing, the place where two things meet (for example, where the sky meets the ground); the line of separation between two shapes or a space and a shape.

Foreshortening:  A way to portray forms on a two-dimensional surface so that they appear to project from or recede behind a flat surface; a means of creating the illusion of spatial depth in figures or forms.

Full Light:  This is where the light falls directly on the object. The paper will remain white.

Grid:  Evenly spaced lines, running horizontally and vertically at right angles, that divide a drawing or painting into small squares or rectangles.  Often used to enlarge a drawing or to aid in seeing spatial relationships.

Grisaille:  A method of painting that uses shades of gray in an underpainting to establish the value structure of a composition.

Halftone:  This is medium gray, the true color of the object. It is neither light nor dark so that is why it is called halftone.

Hue:  The name of a color.

Line:  A narrow mark that defines the edges of spaces and shapes in a composition.  Line can also be used for shading, as in crosshatching.

Negative Spaces:  In art, the shapes that surround the objects; sometimes considered background shapes.

Reflected Light:   This is the edge of the object, between the cast shadow and shadow edge. Reflected light is never white. It is closer to halftone in value. The value is between white and halftone.

Shadow Edge:  This is not the edge of the object. (The edge is the reflected light.) It is where the object is receding from the light, and is on the opposite side of the light source.

Sighting:  In drawing, measuring relative sizes by means of a constant measure (the pencil held at arm’s length is the most usual measuring device); determining relative points in a drawing – the location of one part relative to some other part.

Value:  The degree of lightness or darkness of a color.  White is the lightest, or highest, value; black is the darkest, or lowest, value.


lynnbridge said...

You know, Valerie, that is a useful glossary. I hope you have some readers who are not artists, or are new to art- they would really appreciate your list.

Beautiful drawing at the top.

Discount Printing Services said...

I like the pencil sketch of the flowers :) It looks simple but I can't do something like this even if it took me all day.

Valerie Jones said...

Lynn, thank you so much.

Discount Printing Services: Oh, I know you can sketch this flower. Maybe someday I'll post a step-by-step on how to make this jewel.