Message in a Bottle


Graphite: 2H, HB, 2B, Kneaded Eraser (no linework, value rendering only)


Every time I think I’m getting a good handle on the basics, I stumble across a concept or process I’ve not heard of. This is a value drawing. There is only one rule: No Lines. Of course, through the use of tight shading you can make it look like there are some lines, but that’s really the point… lines are value! every time you start an illustration with lines, you are already laying down some base value without realizing it (or perhaps you do). This is just a bottle I had sitting on my  desk. It had some cold foil around the neck wrapper which I found  difficult to really capture the values of the shiny vs non-shiny areas. Also the bottle was sitting in front of a white piece of paper that was curling around it somewhat. So if the shadow seems funky, that’s the most likely culprit. 

Well the “Message in a Bottle” title for this post came from my wife since she named the file after scanning it in for me, but honestly I did get a message from this. I realized that I don’t need to be so rigid and draw with line to start with and that it can be really rewarding to block out areas of value and see the forms get sculpted from build up of tone or erasing for highlights. 

Do you draw with value or do you draw with line. Which do you feel works better in your experience?


2 thoughts on “Message in a Bottle

  1. Watch the pitch on your concentric rings. The neck label seems to be a bit tilted in comparison with the other concentric rings that suggest the form of the bottle. It’s also a bit difficult to tell if the shadow is on a wall or on the surface that the bottle is sitting on. Over all good rendering, though due to it’s blurriness, I think you should work a little large so you have a bit more freedom with your interior details.

  2. Thanks for the tips sir. I’ll keep those in mind moving forward.

    Right now I’m working at sketchbook size (8.5 x11) to get more comfortable just drawing in general. I have a huge drawing pad that I’m going to be switching to as I start to progress to more pieces.

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