When it comes to drawing and painting, there’s no denying that value is important. Value is the darkness or lightness of a color. It is value that informs us on the light present in a scene and the form of a subject. I’ll even argue that value is one of the most important of the seven elements of art. Fully understanding the elements and how they are used in the creation of art will naturally lead to stronger works. And since value is so important to successful drawings and paintings, it only makes since to practice observing it and using it.
In this post, I’ll offer a few photo references for practicing with value.
The goal should be fairly simple – create the illusion of light and form through value.
Each simple geometric form will have a few defined areas of light and dark areas. Here’s s quick look at these areas…
The highlight is the area where light is hitting the object and will be defined by a light value or tint of the color.
The midtone is the middle value and will be defined by a value in the middle of a value scale.
The core shadow is the area of darkest shadow on the form and will be defined by a darker value or shade of the color.
The cast shadow is an area on a surrounding area (maybe the surface) that is darker in value because light is prevented from reaching that surface. This area will be defined by a darker value or shade of the color.
The reflected highlight is the area on the form that is receiving light that may be reflected off of a surrounding object. This area is typically made up of a middle value or lighter value (tint) of a color.
It should be your goal to locate these areas on forms and draw them in the correct locations. Doing this will create the illusion of form and light.
It should also be noted that a full range of value should be used in your drawing. Use as many values as possible in your drawing…
So, let’s get practicing. Below, you’ll find five photos of forms for practicing drawing with value. Remember to look for the areas of value and create a full range in your drawings…
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