Category Archives: Sketchbook

Tonal Composition Studies

A few years ago, I asked several Artists and teachers about an effective way to self-study. They all suggested doing tonal composition studies from old masters.  Tonal Composition study is basically an exercise that develops observation skills. It teaches you how to observe, simplify and distil a complex image into big, simple shapes and 2-3 values.

Simplify, group and then simplfy some more is the lesson here. Below is an example of tonal composition studies I did from November 2011 to January 2012. These were drawn in my toned paper sketchbook, about 1-2 inches in size. See image below for complete materials list.

My daily tonal composition studies from November 2011 to January 2012.

My sketchbook and materials I typically sketch with. These are perfect for doing tonal studies and quick tonal renderings.

Studies of Rodin @ Legion of Honor Museum

These past 2 years I’ve been working intently and almost exclusively on foundation skills: ie. traditional drawing and painting.  Part of that traditional training is regular studies of the old masters.

I recently got the privilege to see master sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, CA.  Since I have way more traditional drawings and paintings then digital/commercial work I’d like to start regularly posting sketchbook pages and other foundational studies.

“Rodin Study #1”, pen, marker and white pastel on toned paper.

“Rodin Study #2”, pen, marker and white pastel on toned paper.