Detail: Shading and highlighting

Homer executed this study, Children Sitting on a Fence, with graphite and opaque white watercolor on gray wove paper. He outlined the figures in pencil and, using the paper as a middle value, built up the forms using light and shade. The artist worked on the smoother side of the drawing paper so that his pencils would glide across the surface, leaving an even tone; he shaded exclusively with parallel strokes. He brushed on opaque white watercolor made from zinc oxide pigment in short, precise strokes to mark the bright highlights on the children and used a broader, dry wash to suggest sunlight hitting the ground.

The image shows a detail of Children Sitting on a Fence, demonstrating Homer’s technique of shading with parallel pencil strokes and highlighting with brushstrokes of opaque white watercolor.