The Contrast Dilemma In Drawing & Painting

This article is about the concept of contrast and how it can affect your drawing or painting, as well as tips to keep in mind to fix the contrast dilemma.

The Dangers in Contrast

One of the many difficulties in drawing and painting is the concept of contrast. If you are duplicating an outdoor scene or a portrait, and the features in your picture are mirrored to perfection, yet your picture just doesn’t seem right still, it may be the contrast in the colors that is to blame.

Contrast defines your picture and sets different objects and features apart to give it depth. This idea is important because it directs your viewer’s eyes in the areas in which you need their focus. If you overkill the contrast, certain objects will pop too much and will not look realistic, even though you duplicated the scene to perfection.

When you establish a three-dimensional form, you are making the closer parts more contrasting and crisp, whereas the farther objects are softer and faint. Your picture may start to look “wrong” when the objects you are painting are very contrasting in color. For example, you are drawing a girl with pale skin and jet-black hair. In person, the difference between shades may seem a little extreme, but when you put brush to canvas, you must know where to tone down some areas in order to make the painting work. Focus on the shading and make the contrast subtle and gradual. Another tip is to move your light source so that the closer features (such as the nose) are more highlighted giving you more depth to work with.

With Prismacolor 72 Color Pencil Set , you receive a vast array of color that will help to solve the difference in contrasting color dilemma. You will also be able to create a softer and more subtle shading effect with the great selection of color available to you.

The next time your picture just does not seem “right,” consider the contrast in the objects; are they are too highlighted, or not enough? Your contrast may not be even throughout the picture either. More than likely, your problem lies in the shading.


This article is about the concept of contrast and how it can affect your drawing or painting, as well as tips to keep in mind to fix the contrast dilemma.