The Secrets to Drawing – Value

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Drawing with values

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"The Secrets to Drawing" is the most complete online drawing video course available for learning how to draw.  Drawing is a skill that is learned and developed and this video course is designed to give you the knowledge that you need to draw better almost immediately! The course includes 28 modules and 26 ebooks.


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Description: This video takes a look at the element of art, value and its relationship with drawing. Concepts explored include tints, shades, highlights and shadows, and creating the illusion of a light source.

Suggested Materials: White drawing paper, a soft graphite pencil, provided image reference

Next Video: The Secrets to Drawing - Space


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The Secrets to Drawing – Value — 28 Comments

    • Hi Kari,

      You can change pencils, if you like. The pencil that I am using allows me to make darker marks with more pressure, while retaining the ability to make lighter marks with less pressure. It’s about the same as a “4B” pencil. Some people find it difficult to adjust pressure. In this case, harder pencils (“H”) pencils can be used for lighter values.

  1. Matt, it has been such a beautiful experience learning from you. Thank you for this course and wanted to tell you that you are a wonderful teacher. Learning all about drawing has become so easy now. Glad I joined this course.

  2. Matt I am enjoying this course so much. I am also enrolled in another online art course but I like yours so much more. Your method of presenting a topic makes the subject easy to understand and makes me look forward to what’s next. Terrific course!

    • Hi Scott!

      The simple answer is now. You will build on the concepts that you learn as you go. So you have the knowledge from this module, apply it to what you learn in the next – and so on.

  3. That is my problem too….I can make the transitions smooth using a stump,but I am having trouble mastering just using the pencil and pressure…

    • Hi Connie,

      The background is a little smoother than just straight lines. The strokes are pulled downward, but the goal is to create a smoother application.

  4. For some reason I am struggling drawing the egg. Any tips would be appreciated. I am struggling with the shading part. I am using the 4B but am struggling also with the cast shadow. My egg shape looks funny and the cast shadow does not appear realistic.

  5. Although I have very fast internet speed I am finding that the video keeps on pausing … anything I can do to help this, all other windows on computer are shut!

  6. I am previewing these modules and will go back to do the studio work. I am still in my 7 day exploration before committing but I have to say now that you are an exceptional teacher. Prior to my registration I observed a lot of the free stuff and you answered questions as I was framing them in my mind. You have a sharp take on the student and the learning process. I am grateful for this affordable opportunity to go back to the beginning and move forward with greater understanding and more of a focus (than my student years) on learning to see. Thank you for sharing your talent and skills.

  7. matt,
    i don’t know what you mean to “use the value scale in the egg drawing”…..i see it on the bottom left.
    1. do i make a sm.separate strip with 9 values and place that against my drawing?
    2. or do i use the one on the left corner of your egg?

    • I have a lot of value scales but what I did for this egg drawing was to make a value scale of 9 graduations, using my Generals 555 pencil, right on the drawing paper. Also, I don’t know if Matt recommends this but, as I am struggling with confusion when warm & cool grays are involved, I put the egg reference on grayscale in Photoshop (you can print out reference on copier also). If you have a copier version find and number the values right on that reference copy as it correlates to the value scale on your drawing paper with the Generals 555 (or 6B pencil). You don’t have to mess with the cool/warm variables between the actual photo reference & your pencil gray scale. I imagine that Matt does expect us to be able to navigate values more dynamically, eventually. But this neutralizing the values between the pencil gray & reference gray helped me to get thru the initially quite difficult exercise. I also found Matts “Ten quick tips on drawing” (click on Fundamentals) good practice. Try drawing out the circle & value contours and the 4H to 6B scale.

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