25 Days to Better Drawings: Drawing in Reverse

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Lesson Description

Create a drawing by concentrating only on the highlights. This challenging drawing exercise forces us to recognize shapes of value and their spatial relationships. In this drawing exercise, we create a portrait drawing with white charcoal on black paper.

Lesson Materials

White charcoal pencil, kneaded eraser, eraser pencil (optional) and black drawing paper.

Lesson Resources

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Lesson Discussion

  1. Wow. That exercise was both challenging and a lot of fun. I’m just curious… is there a trick to sharpening the charcoal pencil? I used a handheld sharpener (the less than a dollar kind). Each time I came close to having a point the charcoal would break. My tip was a bit flat as I did the exercise.

    Thanks so much for this series of lessons.

  2. Wonderful lesson, wonderful course. After tomorrow’s session, I’m going to sign up for the full shebang. I love your instruction. Thank you, Matt.

  3. Whoa, that was interesting. My drawing doesn’t look much like the reference, and certainly nowhere near as nuanced and detailed as yours, but it does look like a face and I get the general idea. Fun! I agree with Brandy, some pencil-sharpening tips would be great!
    Also a question about blending stumps: do you use new and fresh ones each time or is there some way of cleaning and reusing them?

  4. Hi Matt, I had some knowledge of drawing but your course is outstanding. Since I am kind of designated to sitting with my mother, I went through your course and practiced constantly. This lesson was challenging. My problem was when I used fixative to save the drawing, it got lighter and some parts nearly disappeared.

  5. Matt, I loved this exercise. First time using reverse. Could we have a course to learn and practice more drawing in reverse? Thank you.

  6. Wow Matt, what a wonderful exercise. I love such pictures and I am looking forward to try this reverse drawing myself. It’s adorable your finished picture, there’s almost no difference between your picture and the photo reference. Great work.

  7. Reverse drawing is fab loved it ! The whole course has been an amazing experience! I’ve taken up the upgrade today so that I can continue to do these lessons! I can not wait to get into some of the other courses. When you do live sketching sessions is it possible to put the uk time too !
    You are the best teacher of Art I’ve come across. Tomorrow’s lesson will be interesting to see how I’ve come on ! Thank you Matt ! Looking forward to it.

  8. Does anyone know of a program to make photos to help aid in the process? I have photoshop express but not familiar with how to get a standard color pic to have such contrast. Thanks

  9. I found this exercise incredibly difficult. It was difficult to get the level of detail from the photo as it was too small. I found myself copying the detail from your drawing as I simply was unable to see it in the photo.

  10. Enjoyed this immensely. I never looked at it like reverse drawing. But I do love using black paper & white charcoal. Love the effects. Thanks Matt

  11. Drawing faces and “reverse drawing” have certainly never been my strong suit. But oh my gosh, Matt, was I surprised when I finished this exercise! You are just the best art instructor I’ve ever had. I’ve learned more from this class and you than all my other drawing classes combined. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    I’m moving to the colored pencil course when I finish the last lesson.

  12. What a great exercise! I was so surprised how well it turned out. Thanks for giving us just the right amount of guidance. I found myself just listening to your comments and focusing on my drawing rather than looking at your drawing. I glanced here and there but otherwise I tried to “observe”. It is tricky but kinda fun!

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