Last week in The Complete Drawing Certificate Course I was given the opportunity to use a Value Map with a photograph as a reference source to help me create the hyper-realistic drawing of the little urn. It looks as if everything that I’ve learned so far in this course was to prepare me for this final assessment piece – The Well Travelled Shoe.

This week I was given the opportunity to use the value map yet again, and to use a reference photograph and many example drawings to help me to draw and blend my realistic pencil drawing of a shoe.

When reading the details about my progress below please don’t forget to click on the thumbnails by each section to see the cool drawings I created in more detail. My realistic drawings were submitted to Cindy, my course instructor at, and her feedback (in italics) is also included below.

Unit Two: Shading and Form: Weeks Six and Seven

The primary goal of  this module is to draw from the breadth of experience that I’ve been taught in the preceding modules of the course, particularly about understanding and analysing the light source, and how shape and form is defined by correctly rendering its highlights and shadows.

Exercise: Realistic Drawing of The Well Travelled Shoe

The project is broken down into many small steps and stages so that I could more easily achieve the end result, and the notes suggested that I only shade one portion of the shoe at a time, and that I should cover finished areas up to protect them as I completed my work.

This was the final module of the Unit Shading and Form, and my final artwork will be graded. However, unfortunately the timing clashed with other priorities! I had just been offered a property so I was also in the middle of decorating, packing, moving and unpacking – Oh dear…

A Well Travelled Shoe

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I began with transferring the outline image in the module to my 300gsm Bockingford Hot Pressed watercolour paper which was kindly provided by @StCuthbertsMill I then created the value map at the top of my page and lightly sketched out the tonal areas on my outline drawing of the Well Travelled Shoe.

This module was packed with detailed instructions on using specific pencil drawing techniques and new tools to achieve lifelike rendering of certain parts of the shoe, such as; the leather, the laces, the rubber sole, creases in the leather, and so on.

Working through each section of the drawing I used a combination of HB 2B and 4B pencils to gradually build up the different tonal areas, and a selection of different sized embossing tools to create the highlights in the creases of the leather. Where required I used cotton buds and a small paper tissue to gently tease and blend the different areas of tones together to create the shadows, midtones and highlights.

The final part of my drawing was to use my putty eraser to lift out the extreme highlights, and use my 4B pencil to reinforce the darkest tones. Please take a look at the image opposite to see my finished drawing.

Feedback from Cindy

Dear Ian,

Well Travelled Shoe Feedback

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It is so exciting to see how far you have come with your drawing skills in such a short period of time. This shoe drawing demonstrates that you have really understood everything learned so far in your outline drawing and shading units of this course. Well done!

I have just a couple of small things that are worth mentioning and for you to consider with future drawings;

A: In this part of the shoe we see that the shadow edge is missing. Remember that the shadow edge helps to give volume to a form and to avoid that flat appearance.

B: The laces required enormous patience and perhaps a magnifying glass to neatly render the pattern. In this area the pattern has become a little lost or confused but it is understandable as this was a mighty challenge. You did fantastic in the other areas. At letter B beneath the shoe (I should have named that letter C) the edge of the heel area here needed to be darker.

C: A darker shadow was needed in here, to further separate the shadow from the edge of the sole of the shoe above it. There are beautiful reflected light areas though in the soul area.

D: Slightly darker shadows needed here.

E: In the red areas I have indicated where the hatching was needed in the first place; with the indenting. The idea was that the white areas left behind would indicate the highlights of the creased areas of leather. This shape is really important for the overall appearance of the fold in the shoe here. The white highlight line here is a little severe. If you added some hatching with your very sharp HB to soften the edges of the form it would be more natural. If you chose to add more highlights to your shoe (in the areas indicated in red) then you could erase back those areas with your plastic eraser, then indent the areas again, then hatch again with the HB pencil being careful not to cover all of the white areas so as to maintain more of the highlight areas.

Overall this is really outstanding work Ian and most impressive!

Sincere regards


Stages of my drawing

Please let me apologise for the inconsistency of the lighting in my photographs below, but this was due to the fact I was moving house while progressing through my work, and these photo’s were all taken in different locations, and under differing lighting conditions. Hopefully you’ll get the idea of how this drawing progressed though 🙂

[justified_image_grid flickr_user=32678217@N07 flickr_photoset=72157648829736042]

My drawing equipment

Due to the number of people commenting on Twitter and Facebook about the photo’s I’ve been sharing of my progress through this course, many people have asked where I get the cool pencils I use. I spoke to Tindalls Arts and Crafts , my local art store, and they decided to offer the complete drawing kit I use at a hugely discounted price. Not only that, they’ll also throw in a free pencil case for you to keep everything in, and you’ll also be awarded loyalty points to go towards your next purchase at their store – That’s a massive saving of £15.45 (or $24.86 USD)!!! You can get your Watercolour Journey Drawing pack HERE>

Shading and Form Drawing Course Grading

So here are copies of the grading documents I received for the completion of Unit 2 Shading and Form. As you can see I was awarded an A! I’m very pleased with the result and this will go towards my final grading on the completion of this amazing course, and will count towards my CPD accreditation too.

Unit 2 Graded-Document Page 1

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Unit 2 Graded-Document Page 2

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This was an exceptional introduction to shading and form, where I learned how to analyse light, shade, form and a multitude of textures. There are many new things I’ve learned from this course and I’m already reaping the benefits because my new-found knowledge is helping me to create better quality art. Further understanding of the “artists language” is truly helping me to see things in a different way, which is making it much easier for me to break down and analyse what’s before me and reproduce what I see accurately on paper.

Coming up

Next week I will begin on a new unit altogether, and one that I’m itching to learn, and that is Portraiture Foundations. I’ve just had a brief glimpse of the notes for the first module and it looks as though I shall be learning to draw eyes, ears, noses and mouths – All very exciting!! Please follow my Drawing Journey to see how I get on as I continue to learn to draw even more realistic pencil drawings online 🙂

Next Steps

Please join me!

You too can learn the fundamental drawing techniques that Professional Artists use. Download the course notes here> The Complete Drawing Certificate Course 

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