Creating depth & form with light & shadow



60 min

What you need:

Soft pastel crayons
Using this photo of a single apple, we’ll walk you through how to achieve depth and form for a realistic painting.

Step 1

Draw the outside shape of the apple and the edge of the cast shadow on the table. Then draw the division of light and shadow on the apple.

Step 2 & 3

Fill in the shadow shapes with side strokes of soft pastel, using light pressure. Keep the shapes simple at this point. Use bright, crisp colours to fill in the light side of the apple.

Step 4 & 5

Blend to transition colours and create a gradation of light and shadow. Restate the darks with soft pastel.

Step 6 & 7

Apply heavier, more colourful strokes to the light side of the apple. Paint in the background with broad side strokes. This allows you to adjust the shape of the apple by blending and overlapping edges. Apply the highlights in soft pastel.

Step 8

Blend and refine the surface of the apple. Apply stippling and linear strokes to convey the texture of the skin. Refine the edges to finish.

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Excerpt from "Pastel Basics", published by Walter Foster Publishing, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Walter Foster is a registered trademark. Artwork © Alain Picard. Visit