Toned Paper: Stunning and Simple Illustrations in Black and White | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

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Toned Paper: Stunning and Simple Illustrations in Black and White

teacher avatar Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator Artist Educator

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Your Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      My Examples


    • 5.

      Advantages Of Using Tonal Paper


    • 6.

      Demo 1: Grapes and Apple


    • 7.

      Demo 2: Cherries and Lemons


    • 8.

      Demo 3: Cucumber and Mushrooms


    • 9.

      Demo 4: Tomatoes and Garlic


    • 10.

      Demo 5: Cup and Vase


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


    • 12.

      Behind The Scenes


    • 13.

      BONUS video: More Examples


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About This Class

Join Ohn Mar Win's art class to learn how to create stunning black and white compositions with a focus on shapes and contrast. Using real-life references of fruit, vegetables, and vases, you'll learn to carefully observe and fill in the darkest and lightest areas, using the toned paper as mid-tones. With Ohn Mar's guidance, you'll develop your skills and produce beautiful, striking artwork to take your art to the next level!

Advantages of using toned paper include:

Sketches can be completed so much faster 

Less intimidating than white paper

Encourages you to really observe

By the end of this class you’ll be able to break down forms into their essential dark and light areas to understand the subject better.

You are going to work from three different live references of everyday items of fruit, vegetables and a cup or vase. Its recommended you to collect your own examples of whatever you have at home as then you will be able to interact with them and make better observations and judgements.

Students are invited to: create 3 studies using the techniques demonstrated in the demo videos 

Included class resources: These can be accessed from the "Projects & Resources" tab

- My favourite white and black pens

Related Courses:

Create Contrast : With Watercolor And Procreate

If you'd like to hear a little more about projects I'm working on, freebies and behind the scenes, then you might enjoy my newsletter.

I also post lots of free videos on my YouTube channel several times a month to be sure to check them out.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ohn Mar Win

Illustrator Artist Educator

Top Teacher

Hello I'm Ohn Mar a UK based artist, illustrator author with a long and varied 20 year career. 

I am a great advocate of sketchbooks having filled over 30+, which each serving as a record of my creative journey as a self-taught watercolourist for the last 7 years. They have helped capture my explorations in texture, line and tone as I extend my knowledge with this medium.  I also share process videos and sketchbook tours on my YouTube channel - please subscribe! 



Filling my sketchbooks remains a constant in my life,  and furthermore inspiring many folks to pick up a paintbrush. Oftentimes these sketch explorations provide the basis for classes here on Skil... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] I have never filled sketchbooks so fast by adapting an old-school technique of using toned paper to produce amazing results that pop. It saves so much time because you won't be burdened with color and you'll let the paper do the heavy lifting. Hello, I'm Ohn Mar. I'm a sketchbook artist, illustrator for food packaging giftware, books, and I've worked with the BBC and UNICEF. I'm also the author of Go With the Flow Painting for spontaneous watercolor techniques. I'm a top teacher here on Skillshare. In the last few years, I've had to level up my understanding of value contrast, finding fun ways of enhancing contrast in order to apply the key principles in commercial and sketchbook projects. In this class, we will carefully observe, then just use black and white to fill in the darkest and lightest areas focusing on shapes and contrast with the tonal paper acting as the mid-tones and using real-life references of fruit, vegetables, and some vases. By the end of this class, you'll be able to break down their forms into their central light and dark areas to better understand the subject matter. Don't think you need to splash out on loads of materials, just black and white pens and any tonal paper from craft envelopes or even cardboard. As this way of working is quick, it's especially useful if you don't have much time to fit in a drawing practice. Or if you don't have much experience and want a simple yet accessible approach to understanding values. These types of studies are going to be invaluable. If you've been in creative wrapped then working on a surface other than white will lead to fresh exploration. For those who are really curious to create on tonal paper, I want to invite you to join me for a simple class that will give stunning results. [MUSIC] 2. Your Project : Thank you so much for joining me. Working with just black-and-white media on toned paper is a great way to stretch your skills. I've really tried to break this class down into easy stages. If I asked you to dive straight into sketching a still life, there would probably be overwhelmed and anxiety, especially if you've never used toned paper. I want to give you the tools to eventually tackle any subject matter on your own terms. Let's start real simple. Even if you have used this type of paper before, it's always good to revisit exercises like those that I'm going to demo in this class. When you're relaxed and having fun, you are going to learn more. In this class, we're going be working from three different live references of everyday items of fruit, vegetables, and a cup or vase. I really urge you to collect your own examples of these. Then you will be able to interact with them and make better observations and judgments. The three projects will build upon each other in terms of skills and complexity. Your project for this class is to use a white pen or paint and a black pen with your toned paper to create three studies using the techniques I'll demonstrate in the videos. Please include 3-4 versions of your three references from different angles. Your thoughts on the process with highlights and lessons learned. It's okay to be honest, I'm not here to judge, I'm here to support you. It would be great to see your reference alongside your drawings. Try to include a photo of your fruit, vegetable, and mug. This is important, particularly if you would like some constructive feedback on your sketches, so I can see what you have been working from. When you're ready to upload your class project, head over to the Projects & Resources tab and hit the "Create Project" button. Here you can add the contents of your project, adding the photos and text to reflect on the process. Once you've added the content there, you can give your project a title and a cover photo to make it really stand out. Don't forget to hit "Publish" once you're done. You can come back anytime to edit or add more to your project. I know it can be really scary when you're putting art out into the world particularly when you're starting with a new way of working but I would encourage you to be bold and share so I can give you feedback and also take a look around at the projects gallery and drop a few likes and comments on some other student projects too. Let's write that good energy as an encouraging comment has the power to really make someone's day. In the next video, we're going to go through the tools and materials you'll need for this class. When you're ready, join me there. 3. Materials : You're going to be sketching much quicker than you may be used to as the tone paper is already providing the mid tones. Let's begin with looking at what is toned paper. Toned paper is simply paper that has a value other than white, or in other words, it's not white paper. It often comes in shades of gray, brown, or tan, and also black. Let's start by showing you a selection that I've used. This sketchbook is called the cappuccino by Hahnemuhle, which is A5, hard backed with 40 sheets of paper which are really smooth and easy to work with. It's not watercolor thickness, and fairly thin at 120gsm. You can see it's a lovely, warm, light brown. Next up we have the gray tonal book, again from Hahnemuhle, which is cooler in tone, which I filled with portraits of Skillshare teachers and also a few still lifes at the back. Also, I want to show you this, which is actually a pack of different shades of drawing paper from Strathmore called Artagain, made out of post-consumer fiber. It's got a nice muted selection of warm and cool shades of grays, browns, even a pinky lilac, and there's 24 sheets in this pad. If you don't want to spend too much money it's really worth considering pack of bog standard craft paper which can buy really cheaply. Or you can even cut up craft paper off a roll like this one here. Now, I also think you probably have tone paper lying about the house without realizing it. Very surprisingly, you can get away with using the inside of cardboard boxes, which is pretty much ready-made toned cardboard. This is an example. I cut up a box of incense sticks, the inside of an Amazon envelope, and the packing paper that came from our materials that got delivered. I do know it looks wrinkly but it absolutely does the job. It's worth considering all of these. We only need to indicate shade and highlights. We will need those black and white pens. First of all, we have the Posca. This is prefilled with acrylic paint, and you have to shake it a little bit to let that paint flow. I buy loads of these as it's got a really convenient bullet-shaped nib. It's approximately 2.5 millimeters. The other Posca pen that I've recently started using is the chisel-shaped, which is about eight millimeters at its thickest, although it looks really chunky, it's incredibly versatile if you want to turn it to use the different angles of the chisel tip. Now, Posca also do a brush pen. I did start off using this for my sketchbook. However, I found the bristles did start to get clogged up quite quickly and you have to keep washing it, which rather bothered me. Otherwise, it is a lovely pen. Next up is the liquid tags. Again, it's a chisel tip, and it's a little bit smaller between 2-5 millimeters. Also worth considering is this Uni Chalk marker from the same company who makes Posca pens. I do recommend that whichever white pen you use get one with quite a chunky nib for this class. Otherwise, it's going to take you ages to feel pulse of your studies. If you don't have any of these white markers, white paint or ink, and a small brush will do. I've been using brush pens for years, and for the type of artwork I create they give such expressive lines. Starting off with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, this is a pen that I have used for a decade. It's excellent quality and can give a variety of really fine and thick lines. Now these two are from Pentel. They are the Fude Brush Pen. They come in a variety of colors. My favorite is this CPM, and this is the black version. This last one is the Kuretake Cambio Pen. It's actually meant for calligraphy, but it is a wonderful pen. Under the Projects and Resources tab along here, and then to the right, will be a downloadable PDF with a list of my favorite black and white pens. These are reliable and give good coverage. Please take a look at that list. Whatever title papers you decide to use, I strongly suggest that you try everything else so you have a good idea on the coverage, and how the pens will react. Sometimes they behave in quite quirky ways. It's always a good idea to experiment with your art supplies. This is the test sheet that I created. Some of them are really opaque. Some of them like the brush pen, just wasn't flowing very well. It's really important to find out how your pens behave and what coverage they give. You'll have a much better experience when you come to create your tonal studies. This one, you can squeeze the barrel to make the ink flow, and you can achieve a variety of textures depending on how much you squeeze on that barrel. 4. My Examples : Some of you may have seen this timeless video on social media. As you can see, it's a sketchbook with tone paper, and some people thought it was something quite radical. In fact, artists such as Michelangelo and Rubens created studies for the larger paintings using chalk and charcoal on tone paper, and I certainly had hours and hours of lessons using the same principles when I was in art school. At the time, I had no idea what the point of those exercises were and I really didn't enjoy those lessons. However, I do now, after filling this sketchbook. This sketchbook was something that I created for my own sanity in the Summer of 2022 because I was pretty close to burnout. I had just finished writing a book, I was rushing off my feet with client projects. Most of my day seem to be spent hunched in front of Google Docs, so I really needed to fill a sketchbook with images that I wanted to draw. That's why I chose sea life. I still have a great desire to go scuba diving again. It meant that I didn't have to discuss anything with an art director. I was in charge of this sketchbook. These tonal studies gave me enough space and time to connect with my sketchbooks, again, using a playful approach. I also really enjoyed researching all the different types of sharks or turtles. This half of the sketchbook was really just for me. It was 20 minutes every day. I wasn't following any strict tonal principles at this stage. Being able to create freely and quickly using expressive strokes really did wonders for my soul at the time. I keep returning to the word playful because my strokes were getting very expressive and I was really becoming looser. You can see in some of the white marks which is ink at this time because I went through so many different white markers trying to achieve the effects that I wanted, I really learned so much about embracing that joyfulness because not everybody is going to want to paint octopus or lionfish, I was solely doing it for myself. I wanted it like a sketchbook snack so that I had 20 minutes alone in the afternoon with just these dolphins and my black and white pen. I did ask people, do you ever create tonal studies or use toned paper? The majority of people said, "I've never really done anything like this." When I presented this sketchbook, they were quite amazed. Although the process is so simple, it was something that many people hadn't really seen often. It's also worth noting how my confidence and my technique changed as I went through the sketchbook, starting with the fish on the first page and then evolving with those oyster shells where there is a lot more contrast and a lot more gestural marks with the black and the white. The fruit and vegetables studies I've got in this sketchbook are a lot closer to what I was taught in art lessons. We're using white to represent the lightest edges. I will talk more about this as I demo, but it's basically breaking everything down to its absolute simplest shapes and forms. This really helps in so many different ways. You can see I've also used negative space where I'm trying to introduce the shadows. It really is a case of trusting the tone paper is there to support you with your sketch. I know we want to fill in all the missing pieces, but the tone paper is doing half the job for you. It really helps in so many different ways, and especially for me as a food illustrator, it's very important for me to keep studying like this. 5. Advantages Of Using Tonal Paper: If you're unfamiliar with using tone paper, let's go through some of the huge advantages. You'll really appreciate the benefits. To familiarize yourself with tone and value is worth painting a gradient chart like this one. This is a chart for Van **** brown watercolor with very concentrated pigment on one end and a range of cones in-between. If we look at this watercolor gradient scale, which has 20 values, and remove the lightest four, and the darkest four, only the 12th midrange values are left. That tone paper provides all the mid tones. Since that's already been established, it does save a heck of a lot of tone, so we don't have to fill in over half the other shapes. If you want to know more about value contrast and gradients studies then check out my skillshare class: Create contrast with Watercolor and procreate. In that class, you will produce monochromatic images incorporating watercolor and procreate to further your understanding of value contrast. Here are some of the advantages to using toned paper. Sketches can be completed so much faster. One of the huge benefits to drawing on tone paper, is the drawing can be completed much faster when compared to drawing on white paper. Because the mid values are already established, the sketching process is speeded up. As I'll show you in the demos, you simply have to focus on the deepest shadows, some of the darker midtones, and then the highlights, and then you're done. It's less intimidating than white paper. Another less obvious benefit is tone paper can help lessen the overwhelm of staring at a blank sheet of white paper. I think it helps you to ease up and get started by taking some of the pressure off. It helps us to unify our sketches. The mid-tones present in the paper can also help harmonize different aspects of the drawing. What we're doing is basically using a very limited palette by leaving the tone paper to show through in the sketch to represent the mid-tones. Then applying any black and white, the sketches have a really coordinated feel. It's easier to bring out the highlights. I find the highlights when drawing on tone paper have a unique glow. They really pop and look fantastic. This means you can really explore the way the light glances offer bars or shimmer on the side of a face. It's amazing how we can create more contrast and visual interest in our sketches by using this method. Furthermore, this helps to create areas that really stand out and leads the eye in and around your piece. Working with tone paper also encourages you to really observe when simplifying what you see into areas of black or white, you will have to be forced to see the lights and shadows. This is of great value when trying to clarify and distinguish shapes and their relationships. The direction of the light and the shadows are very helpful guides when moving into color sketches or paintings. 6. Demo 1: Grapes and Apple: I know it's incredibly tempting to try and raise ahead and do a lot more complicated stuff that fruit really has a lot to teach us, learning more about contrast and values. First of all, we need to observe the fruit. I filmed this in front of my french door, so the light is coming from in front and pretty high up at this point in the day. You can see where the light has hit the skin to create a highlight and it's cast shadows. That's what we're going to try and catch in our sketches. Also, it's worth remembering grapes are basically spherical. They're just slightly elongated and that's why we're starting off with something this basic. Using the POSCA pen, I'm just adding highlight on one grape. It's basically a blog. This is the first thing that I see. Then on the outer edge where the sun is hitting it, it's forming the curve which is the edge of that grape. Now switching over to my black pen, I've added the stalk and now this area here is very much in shadow. Actually going to use the shadow as the edge of that grape and leaving the paper in mid-tone as the rest of the grape. The shadow marks the edge and the highlight is the upper edge of this grape. I'm only using the tip of my brush pen because I just want to give myself a guide. I'm not outlining it. Although I've moved the position of that grape, the sun or the light is still hitting it at that upper angle. I've used the POSCA to include as much of the highlight as the eye can see. Again, using my brush pen to press harder to create the shadows, to create that lower edge, which is very much darker. This next set is actually a bunch of two grapes so it's getting that little bit more complicated. The mark there is the edge of the grape that's lying behind. That edge is darker. It contrast against the highlight of the front grape. When they're side-by-side like this, I still need to look for the darkest areas and add those first. Now, the stalks. It is actually difficult to see in this particular area without overcomplicating things. If I were to add a shadow in-between those grapes, we would lose the stalk. I've had to make the decision to only add shadow under that front grape. Moving on to the bunch of three grapes, I'm going to start by adding the highlights first. I'm only going to give myself really fine guidance lines using the very tip of my brush. Although I am going to make the storks really definite because they're very dark against the body of the grapes. You can see immediately that I've created quite a dense shadow in-between the negative shapes of the grapes. I might just leave it like that because I really emphasize the edges that way. All that looks really effective. I've quite surprised myself. I'm going to end with fifth bunch of grapes. Immediately I am drawn to the shadow that's being cast towards me so the highlights are then at the opposite end, although I've run out of room for the stalk there. But that one is still really effective and clear. As I turn these plates of green apples, see how the light changes as they hit the different surfaces from different angles. This is just that little bit more trickier because we also have slices of white inside, contrasted against the green, which is probably the mid-tone. The sliced interior of this apple is very obviously the lightest part that we can see. I'm filling that part first. However, in the center or the core where the pips it, there's this soft diamond shape. I'm going to leave the paper showing through there just to emphasize that section. The darkest parts are the pips and the kind lacks that tufty bit at the bottom. There's the mirror's hint of green. I've drawn the skin in with the thinnest line. Now I'm deciding how far down the shadow comes. I'm not actually sure if I've estimated it right. Maybe it should have been a little bit fuller, but it's still fine because it tells us where the bottom edge of this half of the apple is. I personally find it a lot easier to start with the lightest side of an apple slice first. It is important to get that edge in because it gives you a good base to add the rest of the information like that pip. I'm going to use the paper as the other side of this slice, which is in shadow. Then I'm going to establish the lower edge by introducing the shadow right underneath. Please do remember, these are really quick studies and if you know my work and some of my other Skillshare classes, you know I love repetition. You're going to learn so much more from producing more sketches rather than laboring over one, particularly in an exercise like this. I've used the same principle as the last quarter slice, where I've established one side as the lightest, filling it in white. I've left the other side just paper with the merest hint of the skin, then established the bottom section in shadow. For this next piece, I have established the leading edge, the lightest part so that is a shape that I can fill in quite easily, and the pip to give it some context. Now, the skin is in shadow. I think I've gone a little bit wide. It's going to be quite a thick slice. I don't think it's like that in real life, but I've just made sure that the shadow is there, at least to give you an indication of that exterior edge. There's a bit of space left here, so I'm going to fill it in with just one more slice. It's the same slice pipe just turned it around. This one is a lot easier to create, I think because I've drawn it twice. I really understood that particular slice a lot better and that's another reason why you need to repeat the exercises quite often. It's always good to give yourself a little carrying critique at the end so you understand where the parts that worked out for you and maybe areas where it was a little bit more challenging and something you need to be mindful of. 7. Demo 2: Cherries and Lemons: I'm going to start off by saying, I do find cherries incredibly tricky to depict on tonal paper because of the high contrast between the highlight and the body of the cherry. But I'm going to try my best and show you what I turned up with. This is the cherry on the bottom. I've looked at the darkest part, which is where the stalk goes into the body of the cherry. I've added that and now using a Posca pen, I can see two bright areas on the skin towards the top. The more I look at this cherry, the more I am seeing it's not completely obvious to me at first glance where the darkest areas are because the cherry is almost entirely dark. I'm trying to make the best of it by really concentrating on very darkest areas and the very lightest areas. I'm building the layers and the information up, that's the only way I can describe it. I was feeling a little bit tense because I knew this was being filmed and I didn't want to mess it up. I hope that gives you an idea that even somebody like me, a food illustrator, has problems with certain fruit items. The first fruit that I paint or sketch is always going to be quite involved because I'm trying to work out exactly what's going on. Often the second, third, fourth versions are going to be better because I've just had that more information. I do think with my second cherry, the confidence has grown. Also remember that your muscle memory, the way that your hands move and grip the pen, has to be built up with repetitive exercises, especially when there is little chance of rubbing it out. If you do go wrong like I've done here, I didn't quite get the shape of this cherry just right. Try to do the best you can. Instead of fussing over it, just move on. I'm going to have to do this here because I've decided it can't be saved, let's start a new one. I'm starting by adding the highlights on the cherry, which is on the rim just underneath the stalk. I can actually see some of the reflective light on the very bottom rim of that cherry, which just gives me room between the edge and the core shadow. That's the shadow on the cherry itself. I think this might be my best cherry yet. Those strokes are getting much quicker and I'm not laboring over them so much. That last line really sets it off and gives it that punch, it needs to make it stand out. This full version, there's just a hint of highlight on the stalk, although the very tip of that stalk is in shadow, so it's quite dark. Bulk of the light, I don't know if it's something to do with the skin, but it's concentrated on the upper half of the cherry. Most of it is in shadow, I'm trying to let some of that tonal paper come through. I think that's pretty good version. Moving on to lemons, I'm going to cut mine up so we have some halves, some quarters. You can see that the inside the pith is very white. The flesh is probably a mid-tone and the skin in places could be mid tones as well. I'm trying to draw this wedge here. My posca pen is run out and let's give it a little shake in a dab on a piece of scrap paper. Looking at this wedge, the pith is the lightest part, and I can see highlights on the very upper edge of that slice. You could possibly use a white fine liner to create the segments, but I'm just keeping my posca pen. At this angle, I'm finding it quite difficult to work out the values here because the side on the left is in shadow, but I don't know how to incorporate the pith. I have to say, I found it quite difficult this first version that just doesn't look right. I think I just gave up, I'm going to move on to a second one. Let's start again. It is important you see me try again if it's not right, it's perfectly fine to do that. Haven't messed up that piece of paper this is only a study, I do feel ready this second one has been resolved far quicker. I've decided that the flesh of the lemon is actually the lightest value on the left-hand half of that slice. Because of the angle of this particular slice, the shadow seems to be emerging from right underneath it, so it goes in quite deep. A third version of this lemon is the half, so the top section is facing the sun, and underneath it's in shadow. Straightaway I drew it very skew with it's just not right, and so I tried to save it by attempting to add the pith like Bud Light little spokes coming out and then adding that outer edge using the black pen. But it still looks really odd to me. What I seem to be doing is just going over and over it using the white posca. Although adding the pips have helped to give it a little bit more context. Even adding the cast shadow underneath the lemon has not helped. I'm just going to leave that one. Now I'm going to use the same piece of lemon at a different angle. This is a little bit better, I've chosen a better angle for me, but this particular side is facing away from the sun. I do have to be mindful about how I'm going to use that tonal paper to indicate that this side is much more in shadow. Whilst I'm drawing in these segments and the pith, I'm actually wondering what is the best approach. My mind has wandered into the territory where I have gone into slight stress because I still not happy with this particular piece. I think the best route for me was to indicate the car shadow and to use the tonal paper as the zest, the body of that half lemon. It gives a bit more form and dimension and just the merest hint of the outer skin the zest indicated by that line there. Overall, I think that's a much better version and I'm happy that I was able to produce that result. The next one is a thin slice of lemon. As with the other lemon examples, I have left the flesh, the juicy part of the lemon with toned paper, and I'm indicating the segments using white small section of the zest I have left using toned paper, and the rest is just the shadow. Now, that looks really good to me, I've got space for one more. A sixth version, you don't have to do a sixth version. But I was very keen to get this lemon it was like a test for me. I had to get this lemon right [LAUGHTER] because I wasn't overthinking it that last one turned out great. It probably helped that I had done five other versions in order to arrive at this stage. Don't be dismissive of all the slightly dodgy versions that you might have produced. My carrying critique was, I learned a lot. If I did them again, I would try to leave a bit more of the tonal paper like that last cherry that I created. I need to practice more lemons on tonal paper and definitely introduce a white fine liner for the tiny white bits between each segment. 8. Demo 3: Cucumber and Mushrooms: In this lesson, we are going to start looking at vegetables. Still think of them as basic shapes like spheres and cylinders. Starting with the tomato, I'm going to cut mine open. You don't have to do it. You can just keep your tomatoes whole or half them on the vine. I just thought it would be more interesting for me to show you. I'm still sat in front of my French doors and I can see two large blobs of white which is the sunlight coming through. This part of the tomato I've noticed is really dark much more so than the shadow it's casting. This is the core shadow that the bulk of the tomato is actually darker than the chopping board it's sitting on, so I've filled that in quite readily. Now, I'm observing a little bit further the stalk, the vine of the tomato is also very dark. Moving on to the half tomato. This cross-section it reveals the areas where the seeds are. The technical term is actually a placenta. You can see I just added the seeds and they are not accurate. It's just to remind us that there is seeds in there and also I can see highlights bouncing off the area because it's very juicy in there. This outer rim is really dark as well. I want to make sure that I leave enough room for the tonal paper to show through because the wall of that tomato I want to be the mid-tone. You can see at this point I'm having a few issues where I've put the seeds in the wrong place but that's fine, I'm just going to ignore it, I'm just going to carry on and try and work out the edge of these tomatoes. Like my other tricks just use the rim of that tomato to add the shadow to let the viewer know that is the edge. Moving on to the quarter slice of tomato. Starting with the side that is facing my French doors, the placenta part is standing out for me and the area adjacent to it is really dark. The skin from this angle, I was really surprised because it was so dark compared to the shadow. I've tried to interpret it the best I can. The side of that tomato that's facing me is much darker so I'm just going to fill in these cavity sections I'm not going to bother adding a bit of white in there. Maybe I could have added a little bit more shadow under there but I've left it. Let's take a look at this little chunk of tomato. As you can see there is three areas that are facing us and I have to decide which parts am I going to add the most black and also where am I going to leave the tonal paper showing through. I was actually finding this piece really tricky because I didn't know how to make the elements work. It wasn't until I kept looking and looking that I realize the triangular section on the lower right is actually the darkest. That's when I was able to decide, oh, I can put a shadow there the key really is in the observation. It took me a while to work it out but overall I'm really pleased with this set. We're going to move on to garlic next. They are still relatively easy. They're quite simple shapes especially the cloves so you can just stick with them if you want. This one that I'm presenting first it's very bright even against that tonal paper so I've filled that in first and the little squiggle that happens at the top. My pen ran out a bit so I just squeezed it. This section is in shadow and I think I probably went a little bit too thin so the clove is a little bit narrow. Looking at the shape of the clove and the version that I've created I think it's a little bit geometric, especially when I added those lines. I just want to quickly mention even though I have illustrated garlic for major supermarket chains and I've painted it and illustrated it so many times it doesn't always get easier it just means that I push through and I try to resolve things. Just like I went back there, I realized the skin on that side could have been a lot lighter so I went back with the second version I feel like I'm much more mindful of the contours that I am seeing on the garlic and I'm trying to add those in the way that I am applying the POSCA. It wasn't until as always you add the shadow that it really started to take shape and that just really sets it off, so pleased about that. You don't have to sketch a whole garlic, I've had to illustrate them before in the past and we went through so many different iterations it is tricky but I just wanted to challenge myself. I've drawn the outline first instead of going for the highlights or the lighter sections, I decided to add the dark sections first, the interiors and then I went in with the POSCA and it's looking pretty good like this. I realize the top of the bulb is also incredibly light but within that where it's been sectioned off there are dark areas. I'm talking about the interior underneath that skin. I didn't want to add individual strands of what would have been the root so I just use little dots instead and I think they work just as well. I do think that the shadow underneath this particular bulb is a little bit messy. If I keep looking, I keep seeing more stuff and this is just now faffing now. Finish it off because I've got this bit of space here and I like to fill up all my space on the paper. Can you see how easily I did that straight away? Straight in, no problem. Bosch. [LAUGHTER] I'm laughing now because compared to that first one this full version is just so much easier, and you saw that yourself. Believe me when I say this sheet of studies was quite a stretch for me. I love that garlic at the bottom, I'm looking at it and thinking, wow, that's my favorite. Also that first tomato there is something so simple yet effective. Overall, great learning experience. 9. Demo 4: Tomatoes and Garlic : Please be assured part of your project is only producing one set of vegetable sketches. I'm only doing a lot more because I want to show and inspire you. First of all, a cucumber is like a giant cylinder, and this slice here is a simple round. It's a good place to start. It's not quite round, it's a little bit misshapen. However, most of the flesh is quite a light color and the seeds in the middle are going to be my mid-range. This is a great start. Now, I'm taking up the black pen and the cucumber skin compared to the rest of it really is quite a dark value. In this instance, I am able to add a few geometric touches because it lends itself to that. I even noticed these little dots. The skin of this cucumber is definitely of a darker value so I'm adding that quite swiftly using my brush pen. I think I did a good job with this first slice. Now let's try our hand at this chunky little quarter cucumber. It's basically a triangle with curve at one end. Got the shape right. Now I'm wondering how I'm going to add the correct value. It's darkest on the left. I've partially filled that in using my brush pen and I've left the other side of the tonal paper showing and added a shadow so that it contrasts against that edge. That's pretty effective, I think. Now we are going to try for this little stump of cucumber from the end. The skin is actually so much darker than I thought. Although the sun hitting the ridges of the cucumber looks particularly tricky, I'm not sure how I'm going to achieve that. In the end, it's actually quite easy. I wasn't drawing heavy-handed stripes all the way across. I decided to add the merest hint, a scattering of the seed section and I think that is just right. This half slice of cucumber, create the shape, get the skin on, add the seeds. This was so simple, I really surprised myself. I could have very well filled in the whole of that skin which is facing away from the light but that would have just been too solid in my opinion. I love mushrooms. I have illustrated and painted them many different varieties over the years. However, they are quite tricky. There are two different elements to it, the cup and the stalk. The good news is this is where we can really concentrate on shape and bring that in to help us with our studies and through our observations. If you can imagine, this mushroom slice is really like a fat capital T. We fill that in. There we go. It looks just like a T to me. I have left a little of that tonal paper showing, but now I can take my brush pen to add a lot more layer of details. This is the gills. The left side seems that little bit darker, so I'm creating the shadow for that now. The gills on the other side, I had a little bit of trouble with, they're a little bit lopsided, but hey, you can still tell it's a mushroom. I was just finishing off the stem of the mushroom when my cat, Kiki, decided to walk in on the frame. I've had to stop the video and I will start it again in just a moment. Now we can carry on with this particular mushroom. This side on the right is a lot lighter because it is facing my door. I'm going to leave a little bit of room for the gill. I've had to extend it because it was just a bit too narrow and this section on the left is that little bit darker. So I'm taking alternate routes to fill in the gill and then fill in the rest of the mushroom. You can see I've changed the direction of my brush pen. I am letting a bit of that tonal paper show so it's not like a solid section and there's enough information there for me to add the darker sections of the gill. Again, I have got lopsided gills and I've tried to rectify it by adding an extra stroke. I don't know if it exists in there, but it looks better from where I'm sitting. Because of the way the light is shining through that gap underneath the stalk, I didn't fill in the entire shadow. I'm now going to attempt a whole mushroom. I've placed it on its head, let's say, and the side that's nearest me is darker. I've decided to add that section first. It looks like the left side of the stalk and the rim is the lightest, so I've also added them now. This is looking a little bit out of proportion. Get the ring here. I don't know whether to add shadow or highlights, but I've decided on a highlight first. I've decided to leave it, swap the position of the mushroom and try again but from a different angle. This seems to be working much better. I like the shape of that cap. It's a lot more curved and I'm able to define the shape a lot easier, I feel. I have left the majority of this particular mushroom with the mid-tone showing through. Accentuating that shadow has really made the stalk much more of a focus. I felt it needed just a few more details so I've added a few marks on the cap of the mushroom and the right side which was that bit darker. I think often when we're in the myths of trying to create something, the anxiety might be going and we're so focused on what we're trying to do, we are not able to take a step back until we finished and assessed what's really going on. I actually really like this. At the time, I was not sure, but I think these are good pieces. 10. Demo 5: Cup and Vase : It's always worth taking a really good look at the object in front of you. A couple of minutes just to familiarize yourself and choose an angle that is of interest to you. The darkest part of this vase is the inside and just underneath the rim is also just the tiniest merest bit of shadow where the lip of this vase is. It's quite complicated what's going on up there, so I'm quite tentative. We've got the rim, the lip, and the interior. I'm just going to leave that for now. I'm moving down to the neck of the vase and it's okay to do that. Just take your time. A lot of it is just seeing. I'm not used to painting many straight-sided objects. However, if we just keep on looking at the lightest areas and the darkest areas and filling those in, this will give us reference points, and from that, we can start filling in the rest. I feel like I have actually passed a threshold here. I've got the basis in, and I'm now able to look a lot more at the shape of the vase. I'm going straight in with this large beautiful area of white highlights that I can see, which is coming from a window that is also on the right. I must admit it wasn't until I got to that point that I thought that maybe this vase got a bit pear-shaped, but sigh of relief. I've added that lovely shadow underneath, which just sets it off, so it looks like it's actually placed on a surface. Next to it I'm going to add the vase from a different angle this time starting with the upper left corner, the tiny sliver of highlight just there on the left or the upper part of the vase, and the two bits of white Posca I've added there or the French doors reflected off my vase. Again, I just love that fat white Posca. [LAUGHTER] The strikes it makes and you have to be bold. This vase in particular really lends itself to this treatment. You can see the cat. Wait for the cat to disappear. There we go again. It seems like the base when it comes to vase is so crucial. I really don't want to go into heavy-handed with the shadows. On this example, I'm letting the tonal paper show through quite a lot and just adding the minimum of dark areas. Otherwise, I think it would just look a little bit too heavy and overworked. I love it when the shadow really makes that item pop. One thing worth mentioning is when you come to choose your bowl or cup or vase, do you make sure it's neutral? There's no pattern on it. Try to make it easy on yourself. Don't try to over-complicate it. I actually did two versions of this vase. The one on the right was a practice piece where I chose a few more angles to learn from. I'm assuming small enamel vase, which is my daughters, is that step up more complicated because it also has an interior that you can see. The fact that it's white means that you have to be very careful about how you are going to portray the edges. I'm trying to be mindful about where I placed that Posca because the interior of the cup you can see in this shot as well there's a little rim of white, so that has to stay white and the rest is going to be tonal paper. Having said that, I know I felt very uncomfortable at this stage. I just didn't really understand the angle, the perspective. That's certainly an area I can improve on. When you're faced with a situation where you know, oh gosh, this angle, this perspective just isn't right, you can make a decision to abandon it, just move on or you can try and persist, and that's what I did here. I knew this was going to be part of the series of studies, so I was doing my best. It seemed to help when I put that shadow in, and then it gave me a bit of confidence to add a bit of shadow to that handle. By this date, I was just faffing. I really think I should have moved on, but part of me is quite doggedly determined. [LAUGHTER] I just go round and round this room hoping that it will make a difference. I know it's really frustrating. You saw it happen there, and please accept that. It's completely normal, and it's just another way that we can learn more. Moving on to a next version of this cup at a slightly different angle. I'm looking at it so that I can't see much of the rim and it is a very narrow ellipse. There's the cat again. You're going to have to forgive her because I just wanted to carry on drawing this mug. The rim at this angle is a lot easier, although it is incredibly dark, there is such a lot of highlights, so I've left the tonal paper showing. Although I can see the highlights go all the way around this rim, I have only chosen a few spots to add white Posca. I love creating these strong downward strokes, it is so satisfying. Although the majority of this mug is white, I have been very mindful with the vase, I have not added too much black. I think this is just enough seeking out the darkest areas, that's all I need to add I feel. You can absolutely stop after creating two studies, but I just wanted to make sure I understood this particular mug, so I dealt with the cat and carried on. This the absolute side view, so I can't see hardly any of that interior. In this position, the left-hand side seems to have the most amount of sun hitting it, so I've got large area there. I've learned enough from the other two pieces that I don't actually need to add that much white being a bit more sparing with this one, and that is all it needed. I was really surprised with myself. I thought since I've got the space, let's do a fourth version of this mug. I realized at this stage that I didn't have room for the handle, but I just carried on anyway. I thought what could possibly go wrong? That rim gave me so much trouble. There is just too much contrast between the dark blue and the highlights that's hitting it. Thankfully, I thought I'm just going to change the angle of that mug so the handle is facing a little bit more towards me. I thought that would be an easier option. [LAUGHTER] That left-hand side is still much lighter than the other side and I feel like I should have filled it out a little bit more. The handle, the light was actually hitting the top of it a lot more. I might have gone into a bit of a panic state and I wasn't observing. I just wanted to finish this piece really. It's all good. It's all experience, and I have four more studies of an enamel cup I didn't have before. This is the practice version that I did before filming started. Even though I had taken my time over it, the pressure we're filming and just praying and hoping that it turns out looking absolutely amazing is that extra layer that I have to contend with when I present these studies to you. That's a really important point. These really are studies. They are not meant to be finished pieces, they are not meant to be framed. This will aid your development as an artist, not just the muscle memory, but also having to contend with the emotional side of things. Overcoming these little hiccups is just part of the journey that we're all taking as artists, so please take heart that you have grown as an artist because that happened. 11. Final Thoughts : Thank you so much for spending time using tone paper with me. I hope you feel like me that working on a surface other than white paper will lead to fresh and exciting exploration. You understand how tone papers are creative, flexible, and an inspiring ground to work on. If there's one thing that you'll take away from this class, I hope it's the confidence to define areas of lights and darks when you sketch whatever subject matter in future, whether it's flowers or landscapes. I just want to quickly recap. There are two extreme tones or values which are black or very dark and white, which is very light. Recognizing the tone or value of a color rather than the hue, is important to an artist because successful pieces had tonal contrast to them or a range of values. Try to focus on the image as a whole rather than paying attention to small sections at an early stage. The key to successful art work is often in simplifying the image and emitting unnecessary elements. This is especially true when working on quick sketches like these. This in turn will help you sketch quicker as you only need to indicate shade and some highlights. Please do remember that I've had quite a few years experience of working with toned paper and I learned a heck of a lot filling that 80 page sketchbook that I showed you at the beginning of the class. We have all works in progress so be gentle on yourself when you create your initial sketches. The key is persistence and practice. If you do this regularly, I'm certain that what you learn will seep into your other art practice and you will start to notice a real difference. If you share any of the work that you've created in my classes on social media, I would love to see them. Please tag me on Instagram @ohn_mar_win. I need you to tag me properly like this in order to repost your lovely tonal sketch on Instagram also mention that you took this Skillshare class, tone paper, standing and simple illustrations in black and white and use #ohnmarskillshare. If you'd like to hear about my new classes, competitions, and giveaways, then make sure you're following me here on Skillshare. Hit that follow button now if you haven't already. If you'd like to hear a little bit more about projects I'm working on, freebies, and behind the scenes. Then you might enjoy my newsletter. I also post lots of free videos on my YouTube channel several times a month so be sure to check them out. Thank you so much for being here and watching. I would really love for you to leave a review when you have time and it helps me out so much and your fellow students too. [MUSIC] I hope to see you in another one of my classes soon. Bye for now and stay amazing. You will also be happy to know that there will be a follow-up class where we will tackle more intermediate subject matter using toned paper such as florals so watch out for that. [MUSIC] 12. Behind The Scenes: [MUSIC] Kiki. [MUSIC] Kiki, you cannot sit there. [MUSIC] Kiki. Giddy up. Kiki, I'm filming my darling. Kiki, you need to get off. [MUSIC] [BACKGROUND] [NOISE] 13. BONUS video: More Examples : In this bonus class, I want to show you how being able to see areas of light and dark can give you transferrable skills to try more complex art like portraits, landscapes and still lives. I'm going to show you a few more examples and how my height and understanding has really improved my watercolor skills too. Please look out for future lessons where we will be tackling this subject matter. I really hope you'll enjoy this. This is sketchbook Number 34. It's [inaudible] 100 percent cotton. I started it in December of 2022. These are time studies that I did following Katie Moody on Patreon and I was just doing these in my own time, didn't share this on social media. Then I finished that tonal sketch book, and I was so enthused by it, I decided to start creating tonal studies. I wanted to point out this page because although the reference was, photographer had set up this still life with quite distinctive lighting, I was actually able to utilize what I learned from that tonal sketch book to really make sure that the highlights popped. I know pairs aren't reflective. But even in the lemons, there is definitely a sense that I have a greater knowledge of light and dark. Moving on to these are just really quick time studies. This next one I actually did do a tonal study for. Here's the tonal version that I did of the same image. I have slightly changed the composition. Overall, the elements stayed the same. Although I seem to pick up more information on this tonal study, sometimes doing color versions. There's a lot going on. When you do a tonal interpretation, you have to deal with less information. I think I did a better job with this bowl in this version and also the glass is pretty good. I saw a few more bits happening within the stem of that glass. I think doing studies like this is so important to boost my watercolor skills. On the next page we have two landscapes in France. It's a region called Sisteron. I found these on the landscape art club Instagram. I realized because of the positioning of the sun, the houses here, were actually quite a lot darker than what I've depicted here. I decided with this version, I was going to do a tonal study. This is the version that I did. It's the same scene, but I remembered from this one that the houses had to be much darker. I decided to fill a few of them in using the black. It's really interesting to see them side-by-side like this. Same view I have obviously simplified it a lot more. I'm just fascinated by how I can interpret the same scene like this. These are, again, still life studies that I did as part of Patreon. This version, you might have seen the time-lapse at the end of the final video in the class. I decided to do on a very large envelope. I used brown ink. In retrospect, maybe I should have used black ink to really pop against the, well, orangey manila envelope. The same elements are there picking out the darkest darks. The background in particular, I think really could have been, darker to help this portion in front pop. But it's so good to do an exercise like this and also working larger scale. That was a really interesting exercise. These two still lives are actually from fellow Skillshare teachers. Class called observing is learning. I was really taken by, again, the slightly reflective surfaces. These are from her own reference photos that she took herself. I decided to do some tonal studies of those. This one is on the back of a meditation pack and that's the only other one. I love that vase. I wish that I hadn't mucked around with that apple so much. This one, I left well alone. However I found it more tricky to add that highlight on this tonal study. I thought it would have been easier because I had to make a decision where the darkest parts were. Maybe I should not have filled that upper section of that vase black. It's fine. I really love the little dabs of highlights on the apple that really sets it off. There's something very still and common about this scene. Glass is really tricky. I think I did a better job on the watercolor paper. Maybe I should have left some of the tonal paper showing in this version. Although it has got meditation embossed on that [LAUGHTER] I'll know for next time. Two more still lives that I've got in my gray sketchbook. I really enjoy doing these. These were quite a stretch for me because I had to decide which areas were going to be black and which were again to be left gray. I think I did quite a good job with the reflections on this bowl here that's holding the satsuma's. The flowers here, they are not completely filled in. I had to really think upon that. Are they really that light? In the end, I decided to leave a vast majority of those flowers, just gray and I think that works much better. Sometimes our eyes deceive us, even though they were chrysanthemums and they were pale yellow. When I look carefully I realized, actually, they are lighter than the background, but I have to leave white for the highlights. That was how resolved it. Now, this one was also very tricky because the original photo was very pale. Again, I had to make the decision which areas were going to be gray, which was going to be dark. But I think I did quiet good job here by only filling in some of the leaves in black. Maybe I could have done a few more overall. I think that's a really good study of the still-life. You saw this gray Hannah moonless sketchbook in the materials class. I said I filled it with Skillshare teachers. That first page was actually Sandy Dion Baker. I did a workshop with her in Brooklyn and I had to do it twice because I was not pleased with her left eye. If you look closely, I have actually patched over it. I've collaged over her left eye and I drew on top of it again, this version I do think is better. These two are top teachers on Skillshare too. This is Evgeniya and Jen Dixon. I took these photos when we met up in May 2022. It's pretty much the same process as what I have described in this class. I am picking out the darkest areas and the lightest areas. It might seem like, oh my gosh, this is really complicated. It's just a little bit more observation and more consideration. Some of you may know, I was an editorial illustrator for 10 years. That helps but I haven't done enough studies of people since college, which was like decades ago in the last century. It was really refreshing to paint people like this. It was really calming. I would do these in the evening. More Skillshare teachers. This is Dominic and Chris Dixon. Again at the same London meet up. I do not draw guys very often. This is really tricky for me. Proportionally, some of their eyes are a little bit wonky. It was a good try. I really like the expressive stroke in that color. You have to pick up on the things that you do like oh, Marina, wow, sorry, they're not Skillshare teachers. I'll just trying something out. You can see where I've pasted over rise again. I was just not happy, but I showed it to her anyway. She said, "Oh my God, oh my, you've made me look so glamorous." [LAUGHTER] I think challenges of drawing straight onto the paper like this. You can see where I've tried to scratch away at the surface. As you saw the other two portraits, I tried to bring in another tone. I'm not sure if it's successful or not, but it's interesting. Now we have Faye, top teacher and Tiffany who works at Skillshare. Faye has such a lovely smile and it's so lovely to just pick up on the highlights on her nose and her cheeks and most of the time, I find when I do portraits, if you can just add a little highlight on the nose, it really just brings everything together. I don't think Tiffany's chin is actually that square, but I think she liked it when I showed it to her. Now we have Dylan and Nic also top teachers. These were taken from photographs when I hang out with them in New York a few years ago, I have done a little bit skew with, but the same principles are there. I have really, really simplified things down. Nic has a lot of curly hair. I just picked out her features. Dylan has such a beautiful face and her eyes especially. I think I got them right. These were abandoned. I did meet these two guys at Skillshare meet up in Brooklyn. They didn't have very good photographs of them, so I didn't feel confident about finishing. Two more guys at work for Skillshare, Nicea and Alex. I can't get over his eye. I did this a few months ago and I'm still going on about it. This is one of the things that most artists are able to relate to. You just become fixated on one thing. But I'm just going to let it go. I think Alex's face is a little bit wide. I did show both these portraits to them and they did quite seem to like them. Using still-life for landscape. Still-life and portrait drawings has really improved my artistic skills. The midtone background of the paper allows me to focus on creating depth and contrast in my sketches, which has helped me to develop a much better understanding of light and shadow. I feel this technique has been particularly effective for creating dramatic contrasts and adding a sense of mood or atmosphere to the art work. Particularly when applied a still life, it can add highlight to the textures and shapes of the objects. For landscapes, it can emphasize the contrast between light and shadow. For portraits, you can add a sense of luminosity to the subject's skin tone. Also, working with a limited color has improved my ability to make intentional color decisions when I do actually paint in watercolors. Overall, it looks more harmonious and visually interesting. Tone paper has really challenged my approach to art work in so many new ways and greatly improved my skills as an artist. I hope it will do the same for you.