Sketchbook Practice – Value And Depth

Here’s a drawing practice idea for your sketchbook. This Mandelbrot fractal in gray scale creates beautiful form and depth with value. And as a passionate draftsperson, this image could make your fingers reach for a pencil on their own, so you might want to keep an eye on them while you read this.

Fractal Gray Scale for drawing practice

Fractal Gray Scale

There are several smaller composition possibilities in this image, so if you don’t have enough time to draw the whole thing, use a mask to frame a smaller part.

Fractal Layers

Fractal Layers

Optical Illusion

Do you see the way the “levels” look as if they’re lighter on one edge and darker on the other? They’re actually one solid value.

Fractal Gray Scale Masked

Fractal Gray Scale Masked

Draw What You See?

The illusion is a problem, and there are a couple of ways to work with phenom like this.

You could slowly shade all the levels at the same time and the illusion would appear, but it would take an awful lot of self-control to let the illusion happen without forcing it to appear by controlling the shading.

(It’d be a great Art Kung Fu practice though. Do not force the illusion to appear Grasshopper — let the illusion appear.)

But I’m pretty practical about drawing, so I’d put a mask around a level to find its value and then use a value scale to get the same value on the drawing, and then I’d do that again for each level.

Shading

Don’t work yourself into a freak-out over the type of shading to use. A very smooth hatch would look nice, but a rough hatch will work too as long as you use the same hatch over the entire drawing to give it a sense of continuity.

Two Versions To Draw From

The original fractal has white dots that are a little distracting, but they remind me of buttons in padded upholstery which would be a neat effect to try for. So, I’m giving you two versions.

Fractal Dark

Fractal Dark

The white dots are removed from this one,

Fractal Original

Fractal Original

and here’s the original in case you’re inspired by the white dots in someway too.

I’d use 2H through 2B pencils to draw these values, a kneaded eraser to correct mistakes, and a vinyl eraser to clean up smudges around the edges when it was done.

Faber-Castell Art-On-The-Go Drawing Set

Faber-Castell Drawing Kit

If you’re looking for a beginner’s or grab-and-go drawing kit, here’s a good one from Faber-Castell that’s hard to explain with words so I’ve added a picture. I have one of these and it comes with nearly everything you need for sketching, and the handle makes it easy to grab for spontaneous drawing expeditions.

 

All you need to add is a kneaded eraser, and there’s plenty of room to fit one in the bag, and a few things more too.

And here’s a link to Dick Blick’s kneaded erasers. (I usually buy four or five small ones at a time because they’re cheap and so easy to lose.)

The links take you to my affiliate, Dick Blick. (For U.S. readers only. Sorry.)

Happy Drawing!

Other Things You Might Like:

About Carol

I'm an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I've been writing (and drawing) this website since 1999.
This entry was posted in Drawing Inspiration, Sketch Book. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>