Cylinders and Shading

To most of us, it's a roll of TP, but for drawing purposes it's a handy cylinder! We started the class on Oct 19, 2020, needing a laugh (it's a Covid Election after all...).

These little sketches show the path we took towards getting a cylinder that looked

enough like a cylinder to suit us. In order, from top left to bottom right, here is what we did.

  1. Using a straight edge (well, ok, it was a piece of cardboard) the parallel lines went down first. (Top left)

  2. The lines were not parallel enough. Instead of erasing, we put a dark area next to the offending line and edged it closer to parallel using the shading. This illustrates that, most of the time, lines are actually the edge of a dark place next to a light place, or the edge where the value shifts immediately rather than shading softly from dark to light.

  3. Next, the big challenge: the oval. If you are looking right straight down on the top of a cylinder, you do not see an oval, you see a circle. But just tilt your head a little bit and there will be an oval instead of a circle. The short axis of the oval will be shorter and shorter as you angle the object more and more steeply. This concept was very difficult so let me take a side step here and try to make more sense of it.

The image on the left has 0 degree angle between the camera lense and the roll of TP. In other words, the cell phone screen was parallel to the top of the roll. Straight down. The second image is tilted a little, not too steep. We can still see a little bit of the table inside the tube. The third image is steep enough to get a lot more of the column of TP that the top, so we're really approaching a cylinder shape. The fourth image is much steeper, and the oval is more squished together and the length of the cylinder is longer than the diameter of the oval. Don't make this more difficult than it is: get a roll of tp and look at it through your camera lense. You're training your eye here, not really learning geometry. It's just that I can't think of any other way to describe it.

4. OK back to the top layer of drawings. The fifth photo up top shows how to smudge up a not-so-great drawing to correct some of the errant lines. It has had an eraser, a smudger, and more charcoal applied. You work your way around the oval until you are happy with it. Obviously, if you had to have a perfect oval for some reason, this is not how you would draw it. You would use tools and templates. But we are not drafting here, all we need to do here is trick the viewer into thinking they're seeing a perfect oval.

5. The sixth drawing is the actual demo I did during class. The first five pictures I did after class just for this blog post.

Jot down your questions, we can go over this again! After supper tonight I'll put your photos of your sketches up and send another email.

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