Drawing Light & Shade: Understanding Chiaroscuro || Giovanni Civardi

Search Press have been issuing books from this Italian author for quite some time and it’s quietly building up into a comprehensive encyclopaedia of techniques for people, faces and figures.

Classical in style and very slightly old-fashioned in their approach, the books and the instructional material are nevertheless very well presented and quite easy to follow.

Chiaroscuro is, simply, light and shade. It’s about using cross-lighting to create shadows that provide instant modelling on any subject and it’s the technique most associated with Rembrandt portraits. Used to excess, it soon looks hackneyed and care needs to be taken in its execution to avoid being heavy-handed. Used thoughtfully, it can instantly introduce natural modelling and a lifelike appearance. For the beginner struggling to avoid portraits that look flat as a pancake, it has great appeal and over-use will inevitably follow. However, practice makes perfect and more subtle handling will come with greater experience.

It isn’t possible to provide a complete guide in only 64 pages, but this book will give the reader a solid grounding in technique as well as point the way for further study and practice.

First published 2006


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