Home assignment:



This handout has terms, definitions, tips, and reminders about all things tone.

Photo Reference

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SET-UP: The painting you are drawing from is called "Pears and a melon, with a wine bottle and a glass on a table" by Spanish master, Luis Meléndez, done in the 17th century.

Continue to draw, by following the same steps as in class.

Here is how the Grayscale (tonal range) in your drawing will be distributed:

  1. White - the highlight on the objects (edge of the plate, lemons, cup, rose, etc);
  2. Off-white - the illuminated side of the objects;
  3. Light-gray - the transition between light and shadow on the objects;
  4. Medium-gray - the reflection inside the shadow on the objects and the table surface;
  5. Dark-gray - the rest of the body shadow on the objects;
  6. Black - the cast shadow on the table, and the background above the objects.  

VOCABULARY EXERCISE:  Pretend you are an art critic, and write 3-5 sentences about your drawing, using the terms: chiaroscuro, tenebroso, sfumato, silhouette, monochromatic, highlight, cast shadow, body shadow, tonal range.


  • It is normal for a beginner artist to understate the darkness of shadows. Squint, and you’ll see the tonal range more clearly.
  • Charcoal drawings need to be sprayed with Workable fixative spray.
  • There is no such thing as “too dark” - achieving intense shadows will give you a tenebroso effect.
  • Use a paper towel, Q-tip, or blending stump to blend your drawings. Your fingers will blend, but may also lock the charcoal and graphite into your paper due to our natural oils, making it harder to erase.
  • Send me your drawings when it’s completed and signed! Tag me @primamateriainstitute so I can see your drawing.
  • Enjoy the process of drawing!!! I can’t wait to see what you create.

Artist Examples

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Group Photos

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