This drawing lesson will help you shade groups of objects in a still life. The techniques show here should help you with all future group object shading projects. This drawing lesson is from an old textbook…I hope it helps you!
How to Shade Groups of Common Objects in a Still Life : Shading Still Lives Drawing Tutorial
When models stand in groups, we find their masses of tone falling mainly as when the objects are alone; but the proximity of others will modify their lights and shades by reflection or by cast-shadows. Thus, in the still life picture below, under side of the cylinder is lit up considerably near the vase by reflection from its bulb ; and a shad- ow from the neck of the vase sweeps strangely across a face of the square pyramid.
Arrange a group of objects for your still life, with the light from the left.
Either in a corner of your paper, or on a separate sheet, make a sketch of the group in pencil about as large as here shown. Look carefully through the group, decide on the darkest tone, and mark this on your sketch with a figure 1 ; find the next darkest, and indicate this by 2..and so on. You may find several parts of the same depth (as 3 in sketch). In each case, mark with the same figure. By using this method you will be quite decided in your mind from the beginning : a great advantage when you are working against time. It will also prevent your following the absurd practice of shading one object completely before touching the other members of the group—a practice by which all breadth of effect is lost.
Shade evenly all portions marked 1 ; proceed to those marked 2 ; and so on. Step IV.—Add all gradations where required. Probably, for a first group the cylinder and pyramid would be found sufficient. Whether simple or complicated, the method is the same. Be sure your outline is correct, for mistakes in this will only be emphasized by the shading. Work slowly.
Samuel Prout says : “Correct drawing is essential to every work of art; nothing can atone for the want of it, and without it all other excellencies will be valueless. It is one thing to draw, and another to draw correctly. Rapidity may be, and is, desirable, but only when it results from the confidence of knowledge, and is united with correctness.”