|Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, "Female Nude," 1800|
|Michelangelo Merisi, "John the Baptist, "1604|
One of the arrows in the quiver of any realist painter is the need to show volume, to make the image emulate three dimensions. Practice with chiaroscuro drawing is an excellent idea. First, making a study of an idea using chiaroscuro provides opportunities to learn the structure of a face or figure. Second, drawn compositionsal studies are useful for comparison before laying down paint. Third, such drawings are often finished pieces in their own right. And of course, manipulation of contrasts and value can add significant emotion.
|"Mugshot," graphite and chalk on tan paper, 2018|
In my own practice, chiaroscuro has become more and more important. As an example, the graphite drawing on the right was inspired by a news item showing this mugshot. The individual's gaze and attitude seemed angry and brutal, and I wanted to emphasize those ideas with sharply contrasting values. This is on an 8x10 page of one of my sketchbooks.