Project Two – Exercise 3: Creating shadow using lines and marks

To create a three-dimensional perception of drawn objects, in this exercise I will use hatching, criss-crossing and spoting marks/lines. Compared to the previous exercise where I applied tones in various values through application of shading tools as charcoal and chalk, I will now use more lining tools: dip pen and ink, ballpen, mechanical pencil, fineliner.


I took a simple object (glue stick) to experiment in my A4 sketchbook with the tools and different line marks. In #4 sketch I applied only stipples and for the background smalk circling marks in order to develop the form out of the blank paper surface.

Stefan513593 - project2_exercise3 - shadow and lines - sketchbook

Stefan513593 – project2_exercise3 – shadow and lines – sketchbook

  • Ink pen: A bit messy, drawing – dipping -drawing … So the marks went uneven, but nice blacks. Hard to control.
  • Ballpen: More controllable, hatching in a regular manner was easier. The blacks are weaker.
  • Mechanical pencil: I believed this to be an easier tool to handle, for nice hatching. The blacks are quite weak. For the cast shadow I used a different technique. As the mechanical pencil is a bit bouncy, I could stip short lines in a forward movement, pushing the marks with the pencil onto the paper (typically you draw in a backward movement, i.e. the pencil trails behind the mark). This made the marks more expressive.
  • Fineliner: Here I tried to completely stip-mark the form. This took quite some time. Stipples close to each other create darker values. For the background I went faster with circling marks. This was quite fun.

The results as well as the process of experimentation was different, but exciting. My experiment with pushing the pencil, stipples, and small circle marks for toning was quite successful. Here I think I would like to experiment more in the future.

Group of objects

First Run

For this part of the exercise I chose A3 bristol paper (250g/m²) and the dip pen with ink. I selected the pen (round tip)/ink combo as I wanted to see how far I can go to control the process (as it didn’t go so well in my sketchbook) or to see what unexpectedly will come out. I placed the objects (1 apple, 2 mandarines, 1 book) on my plywood board, direct light from left, secondary and relfective light from right)

I did block quickly the major shapes and the shadow areas, avoiding to put outlines. There were nice shadow interferences between the fruits I wanted to capture as well. My line marks wanted to follow the contour of the objects in order to achieve a certain roundness (fruits). Also I tried to leave white spaces for the highlights and lighter marks for the areas of reflected light.

Stefan513593 - project2_exercise3 - shadow and lines - one

Stefan513593 – project2 – exercise3 – shadow and lines – one

As dip pen and ink went messy again, I spoiled the drawing towards the end with big ink spots. So what should I do now? I thought to take this as it is, took a paper tissues and tried to absorb the ink without success. So I used the tissue as my new drawing tool to apply a kind of wash at the shadow areas of the fuits. Afterwards I put some interesting marks in the background, that I could not achieve with any ‘standard’ drawing tool.  It became fun again and the final results looks quite different what I expected at the beginning. First I thought it is all too black. Now I can see a more dramatic expression coming through. Eventually I liked the drawing much more than just before the messy part started.

Stefan51393 - my little helper

Stefan51393 – my little helper

Second run

After the experience with the first run, too dark areas and what happened with the spoiling spots, I wanted to repeat this exercise. I exchanged the round tip nib with a standard drawing nib with fine tip. I kept the same composition of the objects to better compare afterwards. I was a bit more careful with the ink and the dipping, as well as not making the shadow areas not too dark. I stepped back several times to better see the overall composition and to ensure that the main areas of light and shadow are captured correctly. With the finer nib, the lines marks went thinner making the overall drawing less dark, as I intended. I used line marks to follow the contour of the objects, and stipples to imitate the rough surface of the mandarines. At the end I captured the wooden structure of the plywood board with fine line marks.

Stefan513593 - project2 - exercise3 - shadow and lines - two

Stefan513593 – project2 – exercise3 – shadow and lines – two


I can modulate the lines consciously to achieve perceptions of three dimensional objects as well as to express moods, object sensations. With straight or bended lines, thîck and thin, circled, stippling lines, I can follow the form of the object are just make them appear lightly. I can influence further with the way I handle my tools: pulling or pushing or stippling. By mistake I learned a new tools that can create new expressive marks: a paper tissue.

Overall I enjoyed the experimental process. Although the drawing of the grouped objects was challenging as I had to ‘fight’ with the ink and pen. At the end I am satisfied with both results, as – unexepectately – they give a different expressions.

More to experiment, more to learn to master my tools.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: