How to use the Core Shadow

Andrew – 2

Despite not being able to focus 100% during this session, I got something very important out of it. I heard about the core shadow and got a small taste of how to use it. Starting the life drawing session feeling pressure and stress didn’t massively help, however I feel happy I managed to learn something new.

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Date: 24/09/2018

Author: Iasonas Bakas

Time: 3h


  • Step 1: The ropes again
  • Step 2: Continuing the long pose
  • Step 3: The core shadow


1. Charcoal Sticks
2. Kneadable eraser
3. Easel
4. A2 sketch pad

Step 1: The ropes again

This life drawing session didn’t differ too much from the previous one really. Same model and similar poses to start with. The rope now instead of being around the steel column was being carried by the model in different poses. The interesting thing was the guy twisted his body in a way creating loads of interest from a sketching perspective. You could see muscles and volumes of the body stretching; making it quite distinct. Also, capturing the flow of outlines was quite interesting. I did a couple of drawings in this first part of the session.

42580996_645232322537994_5115036669187194880_n (1)

Step 2: Continuing the long pose

The first half passed very quickly. As mentioned previously, I was quite stressed because of having a morning presentation next day and a meeting soon after. I quickly found myself sat at the common room of the studio – with no tea. Apparently the lady before me used the last tea bag. Anyway…

The problem with having too much time…is that you end up overworking it.

After break we went back in class to continue with the long pose we started last time. Good thing is that I had finished with the sketching and now it was time for tone. Something I really enjoy. The problem with having too much time though for one aspect of your drawing is that you end up overworking it. Which is what happened here. The drawing is not awful, however it lacks movement. The lines and tone are not playful, making the drawing very static.


Step 3: The core shadow

Advice I got from our tutor towards the end of the session: Use Core Shadows. Core shadows are the dark boundary between light and shadow (quite simplistically…). They increase the contrast and clarify where light stops and where shadow begins. Exactly due to this function, core shadows can be used as “contour lines“. You can use the shape of this element to show volumes. A very good example would be around the thighs of a person. To show this is effectively a tube, you put the core shadow slightly curved. Similarly, drawing a tummy can be made easy by correct use of core shadows. Very interesting and useful drawing tool which I think we have to master to make our work easier and more visually precise. Will work on this during the next session.

Until next week…happy sketching and painting!

The Artist says:

“The less time you have available for drawing, the more playful, light and vivid it becomes. I think, I have started enjoying the short pose even more than the long ones!”

Art is more fun when you meet the artists themselves! Visit THE ARTIST…


Love Sketching & Painting


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