Figure 28. Some Applications of Graded Tones.
Figure 29. Graded Tones Applied to Larger Compositions.
There is another use for graded tones which is of the greatest importance and this is to so employ them as to give a sense of distance and of detachment or separation of one object from another. We can perhaps best explain this by reference to sketches "5," "6" and "7," Figure 28. Objects in nature, even when they are of the same value, can usually be easily distinguished one from another because of differences of color or by their motion or in a number of other ways. In photographs, such objects, if the values of light and shade are the same or nearly the same, often seem lost or indistinct. Sketch "5," made from a photograph, shows at "A" just the condition which we describe; the roof tone and wall tone lack detachment - it is hard to distinguish one from the other. In sketch "6" this same wall tone has been graded back to light from dark and at "A" the roof has been darkened. The result gives us a much greater feeling of separation - the roof seems to come nearer to us and the wall tends to recede - as it should. The edge at "B" still appears just as sharp as it did before the wall was lightened towards "A," in just the same way that edge "C" in diagram "3" seems as sharp or even sharper than the same edge in diagram "2" (because in "2" the edge "D" detracts from "C" to a greater extent than it does in "3"). We therefore have about the same relative contrast in sketches "5" and "6" between the wall in light and the wall in shade, so that sketch "6" is not injured in any way because of the changed values at "A." Sketch "7" is another and very emphatic illustration of the use of graded tones in securing detachment, the chimney being lightened towards the bottom and the roof darkened towards the top in order to gain a sharp contrast. This method brings the roof forward and carries the chimney back, and so gives an effect of distance. The idea is, therefore, a useful one to remember as it can be applied in many different places in nearly every drawing. In sketch "1," for instance, the horizontal line is softened as it goes behind the pencil, thereby bringing the pencil forward.
Sketch "8" shows a similar application of a graded tone, for by darkening the cornice shadow towards the nearest corner of the house, that corner actually seems to come nearer. This method is of even more value when the wall is turned at a sharper angle, making the foreshortening more acute.
Graded tones are of the greatest assistance in forcing the eye to any given portion of a drawing, and the little diagrams "A" and "B," sketch "9," show two methods of bringing attention to a desired spot, in this case the dark circle. The sketches really explain themselves. Method "B" is perhaps the stronger one for the dark tone at "C" in sketch "A" detracts from the spot itself. Of the two little window sketches below, the second carries out the same idea represented by method "B," the dark shadow taking the place of the dark spot in the diagram. The eye here is forced to the bright upper portion of the window. The first window sketch shows in place of such strong contrast a more gradual grading from dark at the top down to light.
Occasionally it is necessary to apply the idea of separation or detachment to such accessories as fences and tree trunks. In sketch 10 the fence is so graded as to bring it light against the two dark masses of foliage and dark against the light background. When this same idea is applied to trees the trunks and branches often appear dark against the sky, then are. graded to a lighter tone against the background of hedge or other foliage, and sometimes reappear dark in contrast with the grass of the lawn.
Just as graded tones prove of value in innumerable ways when representing small details, they are of use, too, in composing entire drawings. Occasionally compositions grade from dark at the top to light at the bottom as do "1" and "3," Figure 29; sometimes they are light at the top and dark below like "4" and "6" on the same sheet. These are all rather extreme examples, however, though it is frequently the case that drawings combine grades in two or more directions. Sketch "2" in Figure 29, for example, shows dark masses of foliage behind the building which grade away to light. At the end margins there are opposing dark masses causing a sharp contrast which seems to set the building back into the middle-distance. Sketch "5" also shows two sets of grades, the one on the building itself, going from light at the center to dark at the ends; the other on the hedge, which, by grading in just the contrary direction, gives contrasts which carry the eye towards the center of the composition. Sketch "7" is a further illustration of forcing the attention to a given point, in this case the near end of the building, by so grading the walls that they are left light at the end to form a strong contrast with the trees. Drawings are sometimes graded off into distance in just the opposite way - that is, they are carried from dark in the foreground to light in the background.
In fact there are so many places in which graded tones are found and so many uses to which they may be put, it has been our main purpose simply to call attention to their beauty and enough of their uses to give the student a realization of their importance. It is not our intention to give the impression that flat tones should never be used, for there are instances in which drawings have been wholly done with flat tones with a remarkable degree of success.
Wash Drawing from H. D'Espouy's "Fragments D'Architecture Antique" to Illustrate Uses of Graded Tones in Suggesting Roundness of Objects Which Show no Perspective.