Ask an Expert: What’s a Core Shadow?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2014 in Drawing, Painting |


We’re back with Ask An Expert, in which we share advice directly from our experts, in response to popular questions asked by our members. In this week’s edition we cover core shadow, types of pencils and how to draw facial features.

Ask an Expert Rob Zeller

Meet this week’s expert: Craftsy instructor of Drawn to Painting, Rob Zeller

Artist and instructor of Drawn to Painting, Rob Zeller received a BFA from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University, and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. He went on to found the Teaching Studios of Art in 2009, which incorporates his philosophy of blending traditional techniques with creativity and contemporary culture. Zeller is a guest blog writer for Artistdaily.com, has been featured in Professional Artist Magazine and exhibits his work in galleries nationwide.

Now onto the must-have answers:

Draw Faces by Using a Square  - Drawing Tip from Rob Zeller

A Craftsy member asks:

I have been drawing and painting for about seven years as a hobby and relaxation. I have always struggled with faces and always tried to stay away from them. Am I correct if I make the deduction that the nose is actually in the middle third of the face in most cases and the eyes are between the upper third line and the middle cubicle line?

Craftsy instructor Rob Zeller answers:

Don’t stay way from the face, you can learn to draw and paint it! Each person is unique in the vertical placement of the nose, in terms of how long it is in relation to the rest of the head. But it will always fall on the center line of the head. The cartilage may get bent or broken, making the nose appear crooked. But the skull is the skull. The nasal cavity is right on the center line, even if the canopy over it appears off center. In terms of height, or length, I’d say it falls generally between the upper and lower thirds of the head.

Download the FREE PDF eGuide Drawing the Human Face: A Primer for tips for drawing realistic facial features.

A Craftsy member asks:

About pencils B and H: B is for black and H is for hard?

Craftsy instructor Rob Zeller answers:

H is for hard, yes. But B is for soft. Don’t ask me why its not S for soft. It makes very little sense.

A Craftsy member asks:

How do I know if a line is hard or soft?

Expert Rob Zeller answers:

Squint and see if it’s prominent. If it’s prominent, it’s hard. Soft edges recede gently. Hard edges pop forward and catch your attention.

Drawing Tip from Craftsy Instructor Rob Zeller

A Craftsy member asks:

What’s core shadow?

Craftsy instructor Rob Zeller answers:

Shadows are subordinate to light, but they do have certain attributes that are important. Core shadow, the darkest part of the object, is one of them. It is usually on the vertical side away from light source- the same side as the shadow.

A Craftsy member asks:

I’m having a hard time not copying what I see too literally when drawing. Do you have any more tips on how I can make pieces more my own without accidentally starting to incorporate weird-looking values?

tip_03 (4)

Expert Rob Zeller answers:

Just take a break every 15 minutes and remind yourself not to do that. Sometimes old habits are hard to break, and you need to be intentional about creating a new way of thinking. Intentional breaks help to do that.

Any other advice before you go, Rob?

We can all become better artists just by spending time with artists who are more accomplished than ourselves.

For more guidance from professional artist Rob Zeller, sign up for his online Craftsy class Drawn to Painting for 33% off today (a special offer for our blog readers!)

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