Draw Realistically - Fool-proof Techniques to Take Your Art to the Next Level | Deborah Qalballah | Skillshare

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Draw Realistically - Fool-proof Techniques to Take Your Art to the Next Level

teacher avatar Deborah Qalballah, Illustrator & Surface Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Light Logic

    • 4. Shading

    • 5. Composition

    • 6. Final Project

    • 7. Outro

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About This Class


In this class you are going to learn how to take your drawing from amateur, flat, two dimensional art into realistic renderings that are going to make people say, "Wow! How did you DO that?!"

You will do this by learning fool-proof techniques such as light logic, the rule of thirds, shadow mapping, and how to set up or capture a composition that aids, rather than hinders, your work. You are going back to school to understand what makes realistic pictures work, and why unrealistic ones don't.

Please click on the 'Projects & Resources' tab above to find your Course Download in the Resource section in the right hand sidebar. You will need this to complete some class work. Please note that you cannot access this on a mobile device, so will have to download at a laptop or desktop.

Meet Your Teacher

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Deborah Qalballah

Illustrator & Surface Designer




Hi I'm Debbie, also known on the internet by my business name Green Man Art! I'm a freelance illustrator and surface designer based in the UK.

I work in many mediums, but do most of my work digitally, although I love nothing better than creating whimsical illustrations in gouache, or three dimensional theatre-like sets out of various materials. I also like making pop-up cards and paper dolls. Telling stories or conveying subtle messages with images is what makes me tick!

You can find me on YouTube where I post weekly videos exploring my art and life as a freelance illustrator. I'm also on Patreon where I spend most of my online time blogging and posting 'behind the scenes' content and 'sketchbook peeks'. I'd love it fo... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Debbie and illustrated from the UK. Welcome to my class. In this class, you're going to learn to draw more realistically. What? You're going to do this by mastering the concepts of light, logic, values, tones and shadows. They're gonna take your drawings out of the realm of the amateurish, two dimensional flat into pictures and drawings and art that are gonna make other people say, How did you do that? You are going to create the illusion of form, and you're gonna learn how to trick the eye. To believe what it's saying is, really, By the end of these class, you're going to know about to set up or find a composition that will aid rather than hinder your work. You're going to understand light logic, shadow mapping on the rule of thirds. So continue on to find out what materials you're gonna need to start drawing more realistic 2. Materials: to take this class, you're going to need tonal paper. That is paper that is a mid tone, neither black nor white. A pencil in H A full B pencil willow charcoal paper stumps in various sizes. A short pastel pencil. Okay, a party rubber on two or three large onions, the complete list of the things that you need you'll find in your course download. 3. Light Logic: waken begin, We need to know how light works. This may seem obvious to us as we are surrounded by light. We intuitively know how it operates, But have you ever stopped to consider how light can transform your art? All too often, the biggest problem with amateur artists is that their work looks flat and two dimensional , with no real depth or interest. In almost all cases, this is due entirely to how the light has been captured. We all know what things are supposed to look like in space and how light works. So if you fail to fill the I, your drawings will never look riel. Very often. Beginner artists concentrate on getting the proportion off this subject as accurate as possible, and they do this by using lines. Without doubt, Proportion is the cornerstone of realistic artwork. But by failing to understand that by using lines alone will inhibit the drawing. Progresses never really made when we use lines alone to capture proportion, we have made a car to or an illustration, which is great if that's what you're going for. And it is an indispensable step in sketching a pro parity piece before a main painting. But if you want your art to look realistic, then we need to use more than just lines. We need to understand light logic. Always remember it. Lines create the proportion. It is light that creates the fall. You may have seen this picture in a science class in primary school. This diagram shows how light from the light source in this case, a candle travels in straight lines, hits the solid object and cast shadows under the surface Beyond the resulting shadows could be further broken down into umbra and penumbra. The umbra is the darkest part of the cast shadow. It is the shadow that received no light at all. If you were standing in the umbra, you would not be able to see the light source. The penumbra does receive some light. If you were standing in some parts of the penumbra, it might be possible for you to see the light source. My capture. In these two types of shadow, we can create the illusion of full look at these rough schematic. You will find this in your course download. It is the schematic of how cast shadows work. This is a drawing of a circle, but it has been rendered to fool the eye into thinking it is a sphere. There are several areas you need to understand a notice before you can complete your first task. There are several tones and shadows here, and we need to break it down. So we first start by drawing an imaginary line down the center of the circle, demarcating the heart that faces the light from the half that faces away from the night. This is known as the shadow line, and you must be mindful of this line and respect its boundaries at all times. On the half that face the light, you'll have the lightest part of the drawing. This is known as the highlight. This highlight will be pure white, and no other part of your object could be lighter than the highlight. On the opposite half, you find the darkest point of the object. This is known as the form shadow core. No other part of the object should ever be darker than this. In between these two extremes, you have what is known as half tones or mid tones on these will vary in strength. The half tones on the light side will always be lighter than any shadow on the dark side. It is these values, if used correctly, that will make the form. Now, if you look at the cast shadows, that is, the shadows are cast by the light not being able to pass the object on this sphere. Thes cussed shadows fall behind the darker side and we could always determine the angle of the light source By how long these shadows are the darkest cast shadow. The umbra will always be closest to where the object touches the surface. Imagine yourself in that place and you would not be able to see the light source. Then the shadows get gradually lighter and lighter, the further away from the object that the shadow is for your birth. Half using the worksheets that you should have downloaded from that the resource pack. I would like you to label this schematic. Once you've labeled it. You can then go on to try and recreate the shadows created in the example Peace to try to create your own sphere. Once you've done that, please upload your results to the class workshop. Okay, So by trying to shave that schematic, I think you've learned how hard shading really can be to be able to create the illusion of form. Creating smooth transitions from one shape to another is key. So these following examples will help you learn to shamed more realistically, using this blank sheet that you should have downloaded. I would like you to try to recreate what we have here. On one side we have the highlight, which is completely white, and on the other side, the complete opposite will have the form shadow call which will be completely black. Between these two extremes, we're going to have to create the values we will need to create the shadows. So practice going from one shade to another in a smooth way. You can download the empty sheet as many times as you'd like to practice, and you might find that smudging will yield better results. For this, I suggest either the four B pencil or charcoal. It's up to you. Once you've completed this, please upload it to the class you might find. It helps to break these segments down even further by having them. If this helps, go ahead and do that and you can do this as many times as you like. So in this segment we've learned that light travels in straight lines. It hits an object and then creates umbra penumbra by using different strengths in our shading. It is these shudders that we're trying to capture into fooling the eye into what it seems real. Continue on to our next segment when we're gonna be working on shading different shapes. 4. Shading: So, using what we've learned, let's move onto your next talk. In this task, you will be feeling the shadows or various shapes are included in your course Handout. Before you begin, take a look back at what we have already learned on our sphere. Schematic, you will need to include a shadow lime. Ah, Highlight A form, shadow call and half toes. We should respect the shadow line Possible reflected light and finally, the cast shadow. You might find it useful to ask these cursory questions before you begin. Where is the light source? What is the angle of the light emanating from it? You can use this to determine how long your cast shadows are going to be. What is the intensity of the light? Your shadow is gonna be sharp or blurry. And finally, what is the surface that your object is sitting on? Ah, hard, shiny surface will reflect. A lot more light on this will have to show up your object. Okay, Now I'm going to show you some examples for things that aren't working. You will have a few seconds to look at it to try to determine what is wrong. And then I will reveal the answer. Ready, Right. 30 shadows to be no shadow in the highlight area. On the other, shadows are dark enough. It is no cut. Shadow it all other things about shadows that you need to know include objects without a cast. Shadow firmly next to them will appear to be floating. Remember to always consider the reflected light of the surface or nearby objects. This will help to ground your object in reality, going dark enough from your form. Shadow really is the key to making realistic drug rings. If the light sources hard and bright, your shutters will be sharp. If the light sources soft or defused, the shadows will be smoky on undefined. How many light sources there are will also drastically affect the shadows on also your composition? So far, we have looked at a sphere, a cylinder, a cone and accused to determine how to do shadows. You will find that anything you wish to draw from now on will be comprised of things. Shapes. Suzanne Ones claim that nature comprises of a sphere, a cone, a still in Miranda que and if you look for hidden shapes within compositions, this will help you find the shadows and how they match up within shapes. 5. Composition: So now you know how to start getting your door rings looking more realistic. Let's step it up a little. In this video, you are going to learn about composition, have to set up or capture a subject that really makes your work stand out. Balancing a composition takes great skill and practice, but there are some clever shortcuts we can use instantly to get better results. Now the first is something known as the rule of thirds. Basically, it is agreed with the horizontal plane cut into equal thirds on the vertical plane, cut into equal thirds. Wherever these two lines meet up is where objects should ideally be placed to gain the most impact. Most amateur artists naturally vcenter eyes their subjects, but this makes the piece lose its dynamism. The eye rests, but by placing objects along these grid lines or at the intersections, the eyes invited to move around the image, it's more pleasing to the eye and has more dramatic impact. Shadow mapping is where we map out the darkest values to ascertain how balance the composition is. It ensures there is enough interest and it moves. Are I around our composition to see the darkest values on the highlights, squinting the eyes a quick and easy method when we're out sketching quickly. Once we know where these two extremes lay, we are then free to find the other values around them. But we can also edit a photo into a black and white picture if we need greater accuracy or to practice this skill. It is interesting to note, but here is a really good example of another reason why I should convert pictures into black and white before you try to sketch them. Our brain. See red is a much lighter and brighter value than it truly is. In actual fact, these apples are really quite dark. I'm sure if we trusted our red sensitive brain to capture the values in a picture, most of us wouldn't have gone nearly as dark enough as we'd have had to do by failing to capture the values accurately that would have ruined our picture. To mark the shadows, we simply outlined with a pencil piece of charcoal, the shape of all the darkest values combined. Here is another example. One last piece of composition advice is to limit the amount of light that falls on your subject. The great masters of the past knew that to get the greatest range tones and values, light had to be mastered. Too much ambient light floods, a composition on the tones become too similar to each other. One directional lighting waas and still is the perfect conditions for an artist. In this painting, the artist Caravaggio exploits a single light source, creating interesting on dramatic shadows that holds the audiences I and create an intense mood. Notice also how he has used the shaft of light to act as another accusatory finger to point to his subject in this painting, he has cleverly set the light source of the centerpiece to create a vast range of tones. So now you know how to draw more realistically, and you've learned some tricks of the trade. In the next video, we're going to set up a composition and draw a still life, using everything we have learned so far. 6. Final Project: then how we're going to set of composition on drawer it, using everything. Prevalence of farm Here are two onions On first glance, this seems unapproachable. It boring, still life. But let's break it down. I overlaying the room of thirds great. We can instantly see that this isn't making best use of space. There are no Marcus. It'll being hate. Now let's look at its shadow map. The problem here is that there is hardly any variation toll. The shades are very similar, and if we were trying to draw this, we will end it with a mass of dark tones, with only a very weak highlight to indicate any form at all. Let's change things up. Way have added. A darker background is instantly at interest and a variation tone. It splits the composition up and gives our objects a real surface to anchor on two. Adding a strong bulb on directional light to find the best shadows and give stronger highlights has also improved this composition dramatically. By reframing the composition we've also taken control would be named to use the rule of thirds greed way the horizon thirties hit, leaving 2/3 of the background, which is a nice, pleasing ratio. The top third is also cling, giving a sense of fight. This box technically is a night is also mostly blank, creating a reason for the eye to keep moving. And finally, the onions themselves are aligning some parts of themselves against the intersections. This composition, no doubt, could be improved, but it is already vastly superior to the first. Now let's look at its shadow map. There are good range of tones here, which will help us when we try to recreate the sphere. Shape on the highlights downs out against the dark background. So bearing all this in mind, you are now free to start setting up your own composition. We're going to sketch. Are composition off the tonal paper? I'm actually going to use Kraft card as it has an excellent tooth for holding the medium. We use a total paper the same way a painter will prepare a compass before painting over it . Usually they will paint in this color, which is Oka. Occasionally, some painters will use a bright color on very occasionally. Some will even use a lighter color like Naples yellow, but they do it for one reason because starting with the mid tone is easy to find The highlights on the shadows. If you start with white, you've got nowhere to go So you have to fill the entire canvas in mid tones and shadows. We start with black. You doing the same with highlights is much easier to find your highlights in your shadows. You already begin with color. Look how different is cold looks on a midtown background compared to the white background we were using. Now that we no longer have to use lines the separated to a background it really looks really The shading alone is creating the full. So here we are ready to begin. We've got all our materials in front of us are composition is set up. The first thing we do is to split the paper into the rule of thirds greed. This is gonna help us keep everything where it should pay Next. Using the charcoal we're gonna shadow map are composition notice . I'm not trying to create form with the lines. I am simply outlining where the shadows are Way feel losing? Remember your papers of Mito So anything darker than this shade will be a shadow you know, Take your paper stumps and start smudging that charcoal in to create really nice smooth effects. - Keep revisiting your work, making sure that the umbra on the form course shadow is the darkest part of your work. - Taking your chalk pastoral, you can now demarcate with the highlighters. - Work your shadows past the shadow line. But remember, these ones will always be lighted than the shadows past the shadow line. I am now starting to shade my surface, which in my composition is a white piece of cloth. However, I am not used in the chalk to show it is white simply because the white in this picture will be highlights. So I take my smudge er and I turn it into a light toned. Now I add in the darker tone of the background. Watch how this makes the onions really park. There you have it. You created your first sketch using shadows. You have created form without any line whatsoever. And your onions or whatever your composition is look realistic. I'm gonna leave you with a couple of tips. In any composition that you draw, you're going to have to mix your shadows up. You're going to have some shadows with sharp edges and have some shadows with blurry edges . Anything or any shadow with a sharp edge will always be your focal point. Your I will always naturally gravitate towards it. Also, the forms within a picture that has the greatest range of tones will also be a focus point . Anything that has a similar range of values or any similar kinds of shadows will always be background. They will support the main focal point of your picture, so make sure you have a mixture of sharp and soft edges on a vast range of tones to lure the I toe working around your piece. 7. Outro: So there you have it foolproof techniques that are going to get you drawing more realistically in this class. You've understood how light works. You've understood how the various tones in shadows, if captured properly on paper, can trick the eye into believing that what it's seeing. Israel. We've understood how to set up a composition, the rule of thirds and shadow. I would also learned her one directional light could really affect our composition on the pre piece we produce afterwards. I hope you've taken something away from this class, but like anything, you will only get out what you put in with anything to do with art. You'll have to practice. So practice, practice. Practice those tones, and I can guarantee that this is going to be one of the tools in your toolbox that will get you making realistic art. So that's it from May. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for taking my class. I really do appreciate it on. I would love to see the projects that you've come up with, so please do include them in the links below. On, I will try and comment on as many as possible. It's been great to have you my first ever class, and I hope that you will join my next ones