Project 2.1: Tonal variation

The purpose of this exercise is to practice achieving a regular light, medium and dark tone using black conte on toothed A4 paper.

I found it surprisingly difficult to get the lines very close to each other due to the softness of the conte and the toothed paper. I was also surprised with the lightest tone how quickly my upper arm began to ache! I am not very accurate in achieving an even length. I think the light and medium toned pages do look like they were drawn with the same hand.


I think I successfully managed an even weight with the darkest tone although the length of the lines is as inaccurate as with the mid and light tone, probably more so. The thickness varied the most with the lightest and darkest tones, again I think due to the softness of the conte meaning it wears down very quickly.


The mid tone is where I have more marks than space in between. This maybe as a medium weight is what you are most used to using in every day writing and sketching.

For the final sheet I wanted to achieve a tone halfway between the lightest and medium tone but within a few strokes realised this would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, as they were actually already very close. I switched therefore to try working on an even lighter tone where I was barely touching the paper. This took quite a lot of concentration and was probably the least accurate in terms of getting the lines close together, but I was pleased with the lightness I achieved.


I wasn’t sure when I started of what I’d learn from this exercise other than the obvious. I can now see how , in addition to practising different tones generally, experimenting on the paper and the with the medium you intend to use for a piece is valuable. This will help you to explore what is achievable and what effects you like before committing to the final piece. This is more valuable preparation knowledge I will add in to how I work.

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