The Dark Side of Sketches (McKenzie Stanworth)

My gallery explores the use of shadows, light, and contrast to add three-dimensionality and form to images that are created using monochromatic mediums such as pen, ink, and pencils which we'll call "sketches". The application of these elements also brings depth and texture to what would have been a flat, purely two-dimensional drawing composed of simple outlines. 

In this work, we see a figure in a dark room surrounded by attackers as they stab him. A lone female hovers at the right edge and presumably holds the torch that lights the scene. The use of shadow in this work is obvious and dramatic, bringing a sense of foreboding to this violent image as well as providing much-needed texture. Looking at the fabric of the woman's dress, for example, we are able to see the folds of the fabric due to the shadows. Compare this to the simple outlines on the main figures chest and we are able to see how shadows create texture and depth. Additionally, as the only figure that is fully lit, the victim of the attack instantly draws the viewer's eye, providing emphasis and direction in this hectic scene.
This drawing is one of a set exploring the nude human form in various poses. This image (and the others that go with it), are heavily dependent on shadow. The dark sections in this image highlight the anatomy, musculature, and form of the subject. The single light source in the upper-left-hand corner creates shadows on the lower half of the woman's body, giving her solidity and making the viewer believe there is a real woman sitting in front of them.
This drawing is done in two parts, one depicting a man serving a drink to those around him and the other a group of children running. In this image, the shadows provide texture and depth in the absence of color. The shadows in the clothing of all the subjects gives the illusion of movement and texture in the swaying, ruffled fabrics. The muscles on the main child's back and legs are defined using soft, subtle shadows--taking an empty space and filling it with realistic, three-dimensional human anatomy.
This contrasty drawing shows a small chapel in a wood with a cross announcing its presence in a tree and two parishioners making their way up the path. The shadows in this image give us a sense of space as well as providing texture and visual interest. The artist was able to recreate the way light naturally filters down through a wooded area, adding realism form to the scene.
This dark, low-key image shows two figures in a dark room lit only by a single candle. Here, the shadows not only set the mood for the image, but they also contribute enormous texture, depth, form, and shape. For example, the shadows in the fur blanket on which the figures lay give it realistic texture and brings dimension to the image. By portraying most of the image in shadow, the parts that are hit by the light draw the viewer's eye: the faces of the two figures, the dagger that has been drawn, the way the front figure's arm lays limply against the floor. All this creates the story this artist is trying to tell.
This title of this piece pretty aptly describes what it depicts: the anatomical figure of a human being. The figures in the drawing are entirely composed of light and shadow. The shading the artist has done creates the structure of the figures--building and emphasizing muscles, tendons, and sinew. If you were to take away the shadows in this image, you would be left with blank outlines of men with no muscles, no forms, and no depth. The shadows make this image come to life and provide the detail that makes it so intriguing to look at.
This image features the Roman Gods Victory, Janus, Chronos, and Gaea in various poses around each other. The shadows in this piece give these figures shape and form. Without the shadows wrapping around their bodies, they would be mere outlines with little texture or interest. The shadows add interesting contrast and emphasize the figures of the characters.
This simple sketch of a man's right hand (as told by the title) is a prime example of the power and impact shadows and light can have in an image. By using subtle shadows and shading, the artist is able to showcase immense detail in a very soft, natural way. Rather than outlining the veins on the back of the hand with broad, coarse lines, the artist was able to convey how delicate this feature is and lends the image form and texture as well as a sense of realism.
This drawing of the interior of a church constructed during the Gothic era uses contrasting light and shadow to give this two-dimensional space depth and a sense of larger space. By mimicking the light in a real, vast area, the artist was able to give a sense of how large the area would have been and a sense of proportion. Also, the artist was able to highlight several details of the architecture such as the ornate ceiling-something that would have been lost without the use of shadows.
This final image is one of the biblical icons Adam and Eve as they partake of the Forbidden Fruit. Without the shadows in this image, it would truly be flat and two-dimensional. The shadows within the figures give them shape and depth by emphasizing parts of their bodies, like the muscles in their legs, or the subtle curve of Eve's abdomen. This image could have been done with simple, dark lines as you can see in Adam's hair (the majority of his curls are just single strokes from a pen), but the addition of the shadows throughout the rest of their bodies helps this flat image feel much more three-dimensional.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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