Value Shading through Hassan Alawami’s lens

Photographer Hassan Alawami. Photo courtesy of the photographer himself.

Hassan Haidar Alawami was born in 1981, in Al Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

He studied Business Administration at the Yarmouk University in Jordan and currently lives in Al Qatif, in the south of Saudi Arabia.

Hassan’s interest in photography started in 2012 and since then his work revolved around nature, heritage and micro photography. He is currently studying portrait and food photography.

Follow Hassan Alawami on his Instagram account to view more of his photography.

Original photo by Hassan Alawami

We chose the photo of the lamp post (above) because it displays a wide range in tonal values. 

The values of shading are what help us see the different tones of light and dark.

Hassan Alawami’s photograph after turning it to black and white.

This photograph has a balance of tonal contrast, which means that it has a wide range of values, from white to black in a very subtle manner.

In this project, we will learn about the values in shading using charcoal.

We know that the photograph that we are using is of the bottom view of a lamp post. However, while you are doing this drawing, it is advised to ignore what you know about the subject, and focus on the different tonal values in the photo.

Focus on what you see.

You are required to practice the values of shading on this sheet from your art kit. 

First, complete the horizontal strip with the values from white to black (1-8).

Then, identify the values in the photo and match them to the values you will shade in the squares to the bottom right:

After completing the above exercise, use the following photo as a reference for your own drawing. The grid is to help you be more accurate while drawing the lamp post.

The values of shading should be visible in your own drawing.

Materials you will use from this art kit:

  • A3 Size pastel/charcoal paper
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal Pencils: Soft, Medium, Hard
  • 1pc stick Willow charcoal
  • Putty eraser
  • Blending stump
  • Sharpener
  • 30cm Ruler
  • Value Scale in Shading (2 pages)

You will need to bring your own:

  • Table cover (for protection)
  • Tack-it (to keep your foam board in place)

Below is the tutorial on how to complete this project:


Published by Farah Nasrawi

A multi-hyphenate designer, an artist, a teacher

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