Welcome to The Helpful Art Teacher, an interdisciplinary website linking visual arts to math, social studies, science and language arts.

Learning how to draw means learning to see. A good art lesson teaches us not only to create but to look at, think about and understand our world through art.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Creating visual texture with pencil

Watch the video below for step by step directions for creating gem and pearl drawings:

Create several gem drawings. Try putting the lightest value on the front facet and progressively darker values on the smaller facets. Try creating a symmetrically balanced pattern of values.

Original gemstone

This is the same gemstone in gray scale.

Enlarge and copy this contour line drawing or create your own symmetrically balanced cut gemstone design, using a ruler. Start in the middle and make every line on the left a mirror image of every line on the right. Using the worksheets provided as a reference, fill each facet of the gem with a different value.

The sphere worksheets were downloaded from About.com
Use the sphere shading worksheet as a guide for shading the pearls.

Directions: Use an H or HB pencil to copy the photograph on the left into the corresponding box on the right as exactly as possible. Use a 2B and 6B pencil and blending stomp to copy the textures and values as exactly as possible. Work neatly and carefully. Do NOT scribble. 

Gem and Pearl Drawings by Foundations of Art Perth Amboy High School Students

Additional Textures to print out,
 draw and shade

Advanced work
 Print out this worksheet and follow the directions


Hint: Have a friend hold up both worksheets, stand a distance of eight feet away and squint your eyes. If you can easily distinguish them, your picture needs more work. remember, you only get out of these exercises what you put into them. As Salvador Dali once said;  "No lazy masterpieces. "

Advanced work: Try printing a photograph of a face in black and white. Next draw your own grid lines, like the ones above, with a ruler, directly on the photograph. The objective is to isolate the (light or dark) value of each section of the grid and translate that information into a drawing.  Draw a value study of the face on a separate piece of paper. This activity will be time consuming but it will force your mind to see highlights, mid-tones and shadows. Learning how to draw means learning how to observe, synthesize and create. After doing this exercise you will begin to notice the highlights, mid-tones and shadows in ordinary people's faces, even when you are not drawing.

For an excellent tutorial on tonal values by a professional artist, click on the link below:


  1. Hi, I love these! Do you have printable versions?

  2. These are great resources! Did you have a printable version of them?

  3. Wow! Is there a link for the printable version?