Hand Drawing Tutorial #11 Part 2: How to Draw Shininess

April 6th, 2011

Hand Pose #11 with Shiny Tube

If you haven’t already gone through Part 1 of this tutorial, please do that now.  It introduces the subject of how to draw a shiny object.  And its video shows this hand drawing in its initial outline-sketch phase.

The video below, at the end of this post, follows the drawing through creating the shiny look of the lipstick tube.

How to draw shine

Part 1 of Hand Tutorial #11 discussed how to look at the shiny tube as a jigsaw puzzle of stripes.  When you view the tube globally as “a shiny lipstick,” the tendency is to freak out: “I can’t draw that, it’s shiny!  How can you make a pencil drawing look shiny?”

In fact, it’s simple.  You need to shift the way you’re viewing the tube to “right-brained” mode.  In right mode, you see that visually the shiny tube is made up of easily-drawn “jigsaw” pieces, most of which are shaped a lot like stripes.

Tube with one shiny end and one dull end (and for once, my blue fingernail somewhat photoshopped out)

If you replicate these “stripes” in your drawing, you’ll find that your pencil will magically create shininess.

Video: drawing the shiny tube

To make your tube look really shiny, it’s important to draw the “stripes” and other reflection-shapes accurately.  To do this, I began (Frame 6 of the video below) by bisecting my sketched tube, following the dark line that happens to run down its length almost in its center.  I then divided up each half of the tube, duplicating the width of each “stripe” (Frames 7-8).

Because this sketch is in black and white, I had to represent the shiny tube’s dull green and beige (discussed above) in shades of gray (I began in Frames 9-10).  Your shiny object will probably also reflect colors.  To figure out what shade of gray should represent each color, squint your eyes hard.  The colors will begin to disappear and it will be much easier to see the relative values of the colors you will represent in shades of gray.

In Part 1 of this tutorial, we discussed the shading of the other end of the tube, which is much duller.  You can capture this quality by shading it as it appears: it’s shading is even and gradual, in contrast to the highly-varied stripes of the shiny end.  I began this process in Frame 11 and kept perfecting it later (e. g. Frames 14-15).

Photo of hand pose for Tutorial #11.

In any drawing, how you shade everything around a shiny object will affect how the shininess is perceived.  In my drawing, I kept perfecting the shading, in particular of the fingers close to the lipstick.

And notice how much lighter the highlights on the shiny part of the tube are than any other “jigsaw piece” in the entire hand pose (see photo right).  To make your drawing look very realistic, if you’re using white paper, you can darken every other area of the paper (this is why artists often begin paintings by putting a medium-toned wash over their entire canvas: so that the highlights will look strikingly bright against this background).  I began doing this around Frame 17 and continued through the end of the sketch.

Around Frame 19, I used white acrylic paint and a small brush to lighten the bright highlights on the shiny end of the tube (I also used it on the fingernail tips and in a couple of other spots that became smudged with pencil and were difficult to lighten with my eraser alone).

By the way, though I didn’t draw my watch, it has a shiny texture that you can study visually.  If you were going to take the time to draw all those little links, you would follow exactly the same process as we have with the relatively simple shiny lipstick tube.

Technical note:  This video is even jumpier than usual because of some difficulties with my tripod (accidentally knocking it a few times, etc).  As a result, there appear to be changes in the overall size of the drawing and its perspective.  These changes didn’t actually occur in my drawing.  You may find this video most useful if you focus only on the lipstick tube itself during the frames when I’m working on that.

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