Art Class: Perspective and Shading with Charcoal

This past weekend in art class, we learned the basics of shading and perspective while using charcoal. Shapes were placed one by one on a table with a light source: cone, sphere, cylinder, and cube.


In order to draw the light side of the object, we first had to lightly shade in a bit of background around the lighter areas. That way, there will be definition to it without actually drawing a line, allowing the white parts to be completely white. Next we shaded in the darkest spots and used a finger to blend it into the light side. On the sphere, you may notice that there is a reflective white spot on the far right.

The cube presented a greater challenge. We drew on the paper a horizontal line to represent our “line of sight”, then drew the cube wherever it fell below that. Next, we had to pick a point of focus. One way of finding the point of focus is to close one eye, extend the arm outwards with a ruler, and line the ruler up with the lines of the cube.  Match that up on the paper by drawing a dot on the line. Now we know the direction and angle that we need to draw. I’m not sure if I explained that very well, but if you look at what I drew maybe you can see what I mean. After drawing the dot, we connect each corner of the square to the dot, then fill in the rest. Ta da!


When facing the cube head on, only one point of focus is necessary. If we are facing a corner, like in the drawing below, we draw two points of focus.


And this is my final copy with all the shapes together. I ran out of time to finish it. It is also somewhat wrinkled because the wind blew it out of my bike basket on my way home, forcing me to chase it across a park.


I think the most useful thing I learned was how to draw objects from a corner angle. I’ve always had trouble with drawing things in perspective, so hopefully this lesson will help. In our next class, I believe we’ll be working with pastels. I’m really excited to start working with colour!

Until then,



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