By Matt Fussell
Using contrast in drawings is a great way to create a dynamic image. One way of creating good contrast is by using white material or media on dark or black surfaces. White media, of course, comes in many different forms. Ink, charcoal, oil pastels, chalk pastels, and colored pencils are all types of white media used for drawing. Combine this white media with a stark black background and you've got instant contrast. Strong contrast in a drawing usually leads to a dynamic and dramatic imagery.
Drawing with white material on black paper does require some getting used to. This is because most of us are accustomed to drawing with dark material on white or lightly colored paper. This thinking has ingrained in us the need to add dark values and leave the lighter values. When we reverse this thinking by drawing with white material on black paper, our process is the opposite.
Now, we must train our minds to deal with the lighter values and leave the darker values to the tone of the surface. This reversal can be challenging, but important in our development as artists. It forces us to recognize the importance of tints (lighter values) and their inherent relationships with shades (darker values). With practice, our understanding of value and how it is used to create drawings improves.
Drawing with white media on black paper can create stunning imagery and the drawing process itself can lead to improvement in your drawing ability.
While you are virtually unlimited when choosing a medium to work with, if you are doing this exercise for the first time, I would recommend starting with a drawing medium. Drawing mediums that work best for a "reverse drawing" include compressed white charcoal, conté, oil pastel, and colored pencils. Work with a medium that you are already comfortable with so you can concentrate on the thought process involved in working with the lighter values.
The following video demonstrates drawing with white media on black paper....
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Welcome back to another video tutorial brought to you by TheVirtualInstructor.com . Today we're going to take a look at creating a drawing using white media on a dark surface. In this case, I'm using white, dustless chalk on black drawing paper. And I'm also going to be using a white colored pencil later in the video to kind of clean things up. White material on black paper can produce some dramatic effects. It actually is great for creating intense contrast. And it's a great drawing exercise because it forces you to think in reverse from what you might normally think of when you are creating a drawing. Normally, when you are creating a drawing, you would be putting a dark material onto a white surface, like when you would put charcoal or graphite onto white paper. This process is the opposite of that. You're adding the light values to the surface and leaving the dark values. Or addressing the values in a different way. So, it forces you to think in reverse. And it forces you to think about the lighter values. This is a great exercise to increase your skill at drawing. So, I'm just doing a quick sketch here of a bald eagle. And once I've got all of the lighter areas blocked in, I can zoom in here and start working on some of the details. And you'll notice that I'm using a colored pencil now. And this is just a regular white colored pencil. And as I am working with the white colored pencil, I am getting some greater detail in things, but I am also moving the chalk around a little bit. And that's going to create some value and create some mid tones that are necessary for this to be a believable drawing. Now, I'm going to go back and work in a little bit more with my chalk. I'm just going back and forth between the chalk and the colored pencils to try and make sure that I get all of the mid tones and all of the light values that I see in my photo reference. I really want to make sure that I am preserving the integrity of the black paper, so I am trying to refrain from using any dark material on the surface. Because I like the contrast that is happening between the white material and the black paper. Now to get even more detail, I'm going to put a piece of paper over the work that I have already done, so that I don't smear what I've done. And I'm going to use what's called an erasil, which is like a pencil with eraser material inside of it. And I'm going to cleanup some of the areas a bit more. Now, with the erasil, I'm actually creating darker values because I am erasing out the white material. That's going to let some of the black paper to show through. And I'm just going to go back and forth between the erasil and the white material to put the finishing touches to my sketch. So, drawing with white media on black paper is a great drawing exercise for enhancing your understanding of values. It is a challenging exercise and it's one that going to enhance your drawing skill. This has been another video tutorial brought to you by TheVirtualInstructor.com.