Challenge 4: Composition

In this challenge, you will move from flat drawing to creating the illusion of depth on the flat paper, and learn to use shading to describe subjects you are drawing. 

Objects get smaller as they get further back in the picture space. A tree in the foreground will appear much bigger than one in the background. Dark tones create depth by describing shadow. 

Overlapping objects will suggest their spatial positions. Dark, strong lines drawn against a light background will advance to the foreground. So vary your line quality exploit this effect. Texture can be used to create shallow depth.



By the end of this challenge, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the forms of an object using crosshatching

  2. Create a drawing of an object using negative space 

  3. Draw and shade a composition of volumes 

  4. Draw a pattern reminiscent of the art of Byzantium

  5. Compose and draw an odd number of interesting objects using crosshatching, negative space, shapes only, or a combination of any or all of those techniques.

Materials: large sheets of paper, charcoal or soft pencils. If you don't have a really dark pencil, this is the time to go to Michael's or you favorite art store and buy one. I recommend a 6B pencil. It will give you the ability to draw much darker darks, and it only costs a buck or two.



Watch my tips on how be successful ion this challenge, above.



Playlist and Draw Alongs

Draw along with each of these videos as you watch. It will give you the advantage when you are ready to create your prep drawings and portfolio piece for this challenge.

Crosshatching Draw Along



Negative Space Draw Along


Shading Volumes Draw Along





4.1 Byzantium Discussion

Watch the Byzantium video, then comment on what you found interesting in the 4.1 Byzantium Discussion. 10 points



4.2 Message on Challenge 4

Let me know if you have any questions, problems, or are stuck. Or anything else you want to talk about. Especially if you have ideas on how to make this challenge more, well, challenging.

5 points 


4 Prep Drawings

(25 points each)


Describe the forms of an object using crosshatching.  Draw your own hand in a pleasing and appropriate pose. Try different poses until you get one you can hold long enough to draw and fully crosshatch it. Use the crosshatching video as your guide, but make your own hand pose, it's so much better to do your own thing, rather than copying. If it needs some highlights when you finish, use your eraser to pull back some whites.

Negative Space Drawing

Negative space drawing from photo you took or interesting objects you find around the house or garage. Remember that the objects you choose play a big part in the success of your drawing.

Still Life Composition

Set up a still life of a sphere (ball), cylinder (glass, toilet paper tube,) and a cube (box.) Make your own composition, but use the shading techniques shown on the Shading Volumes video.

Islamic Art

Draw a full page pattern in the style of Islamic art (Google it).  Remember from the Byzantium video that Islamic art considers representational images as idolatry, and is all about pattern and color. Use color if you like.

4.3 Submit Shape & Volume Drawings

Clearly mark all of your drawings with your name, the date, the lesson number, and the name of the assignment.

Challenge 4 Portfolio Drawing Assignment

Compose and draw a full page drawing that includes a background. Find three interesting objects of different sizes and shapes, make a composition, and draw them using crosshatching, negative space, shapes only, or a combination of all the techniques you learned in this challenge. Show me what you got out of this! 

4.4 Submit Shape and Volume Portfolio Quality Drawing

Look at the rubric on the submission page and give yourself a grade. Let me know your process in this piece and how you think you did, what you would do differently if you did it again.  100 points


Reflection and Revision

4.5 Shape and Volume Critique

Upload your portfolio drawing to the 4.5 Shape and Volume Critique. Talk about your process of creating this drawing, obstacles you faced and overcame them. Address what you would do differently if you did this drawing over again. Then, critique 3 of your peers' portfolio drawings by commenting on something done well or suggesting an improvement.

4.6 Submit Revised Portfolio Drawings

Take a look at the critique comments you received from your peers and me, and make some revisions to your drawing to improve it. 

◀︎ 3.5 Submit Your Revised Portfolio Drawings