This is one of my better cast drawings - a mask of Dante, which I purchased online. I've produced a couple of drawings from this cast, as well as a painting. There are a number of things that work well with this drawing. The basic construct was fairly successful, although I needed to shift the location of the eye part way through. I feel that I approached the project in a fairly logical way and I made sure I'd resolved each step in the process before moving onto the next.
As usual, my process was to begin with the outline, using fairly straight lines, then to identify the shadow line. To make this easier I drew the shadow line in charcoal on the cast itself. This can easily be removed afterwards but it's a very simple means of exploring the shadow shape on the subject you're drawing.
Having blocked in the shadow line and put in an indication of the shadow pattern in a flat tone, slightly lighter than nature, I then added the background. You can't quite see from this image, but I managed to capture this reasonably successfully - and that enhanced the sense of depth. I then deepened the shadow value to get as close as possible to the value in nature. The halftones came next, followed by modelling and turning the edges. I think the edges are probably what makes this more successful than some of my other drawings, in terms of giving the illusion of volume.
Without having a tutor around to help me, I sometimes find it helps to set myself little 'exercises' in the course of my drawing. This is what I did here. I took a photograph of the cast set-up and printed it off. I then marked in red pen on the print-out the hierarchy of edges, numbering them from softest soft to sharpest sharp, and all the edges in between. I then used this as a reference whilst carrying out my modelling to make sure the drawing corresponded to what I was seeing in nature.
Ben Laughton Smith
Aspiring artist, training in the classical tradition.