Mary Had a Little Lamb | How to Use White in Your Drawings

how to draw a goat

Mary had a little lamb, it’s fleece was white as snow…but how do you draw white? Although this is a goat instead of a lamb, the same rules apply.

Drawing white subjects can be a challenge. After all, the paper is already white. So, how do you draw something white on top of it?

I always tell my students, “Black isn’t black, and white isn’t white.” Both black and white are neutral, so they reflect everything around them, including light and color. Black and white are an illusion.

Look at the drawing of the goat. (Isn’t he majestic?) When you look at him you know instinctively that he’s a white goat. But close observation reveals very little white of the paper is left remaining. Another mantra I use in class is, “Let your darks create your lights.” If the paper is white already, your highlights are already there. You just need something to make them show up! This is where my “Hammond Blended Pencil Technique” comes in!

Drawings include:

  1. Light: Where the full light source is hitting the object.
  2. Medium: The true color of the object.
  3. Dark: The shadowed areas on and below the object.

The medium and dark tones create the look of the light.

elements of shading

Study this example of an egg. Again, our brains know that it’s white, but it’s really the shading and gray tones we’re seeing. The five elements of shading (below) is the groundwork for all drawings, and the key feature in every one of my books. It consists of:

  1. Cast Shadow
  2. Shadow Edges
  3. Half Tone
  4. Reflected Light
  5. Full light

I highly recommend that you practice drawing a sphere or an egg at least once a week. I make all of my students practice what we call “the dreaded sphere exercise!” While drawing a sphere or an egg isn’t all that exciting, it’s crucial to drawing well. I firmly believe that my artwork improves exponentially due to the number of times I have to draw the sphere for my classes! The more you do, the better you get. drawing of a bird_cockatoo_Lee Hammond art

If you compare the egg to the drawing of the cockatoo, you will see the similarities. Due to the bright light on the bird, much of the texture of the feathers has been diminished. His overall shape is very egg-like! It’s the gray tones against the black background that makes him stand out. (White isn’t white!)

If you compare the bird to the goat, you can still see the egg-like shapes. The big difference is the texture of the hair. All textures are added to the drawing AFTER the form has been created with the five elements of shading. In this example, it took hours and hours of drawing smooth pencil lines building up the look of hair. Both of these examples are in my new book, Draw Animals in Nature.

Remember, it takes time, understanding, observation, and tons of practice. Now, go get busy drawing a sphere!

See you next week,
Lee


Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond

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