Gray Tone in Drawing

In these crayon drawings I’ve been working to deliberately expand my range of gray tones. Gray tones have never been my strength; I tend to naturally lean towards high contrast situations, which probably explains my love for media like woodcut and ink where gray tone generally doesn’t exist. In my opinion, there’s nothing more powerful than a full black tone on paper, which is probably why I’m so drawn to dark tones. At the same time, I’m trying to remind myself that the presence and weight of a dark tone is highly contingent upon having extremely light and subtle tones as a means of contrast and comparison.

I’m working on making my drawing technique less direct. I’m finding in a lot of these sketches that I tend to get ahead of myself too often, and I push myself towards the dark tones too aggressively. In doing so, I miss out on many subtle gray tones which would actually provide more depth than a dark black. Working with crayon, I’m putting myself in a situation where my drawing medium has no mercy in terms of backtracking in the process, so I have to learn to move towards dark tones much more gradually.

Crayon Study X


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