Reduction in Red, black, white!


This session of “Drawing with…” is dedicated to the reduction technique using red, black and white.
Here is described, in short, the technique: Smear red earth pigment in powder or stick, over or a sheet of good quality paper. Next, block in the essential outlines of your drawing and start lifting the highlights and develop the darker values with red earth chalk. Finally, extend the tonal scale and lower the chroma using black charcoal and chalk.

This technique is particularly effective for obtaining very volumetric and luminous effects and study the effect of the light on the form, a very important technique both for drawing and painting.


  • Drawing paper: good quality paper, such as Strathmore Drawing or Bristol in medium or vellum surface or Legion white.
  • Pastels: red earth chalk or pastel, such as sanguine, burnt sienna, Pompeyan red. Brown pastel such as sepia, charcoal pencils or sticks. White chalk in pencils or sticks.
  • For the colored chalk or pastel you can use cretacolor, conte or general’s, for the charcoal you can use General’s compressed charcoal in pencils, medium and soft.
  • You will also need erasing tools such as Mars plastic, kneaded eraser and Tombow erasers in pencils or similar.

roberto osti
roberto osti
Roberto Osti teaches figure drawing and human anatomy for artists at the New York Academy of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Formally trained as a medical illustrator before becoming a fine artist, Osti has contributed his work to many science and art publications. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries in Europe and the United States. He is the author of Basic Human Anatomy (2016), an art instruction best seller and classic reference book. His latest book , Dynamic Human Anatomy has been released in March 2021.