Seeing Values

Values play a dominant role in the harmony and design of your composition. A large, dark area in the foreground can be balanced by a properly placed, small, dark area in the distance. Value contrasts can create your center of interest simply by having a light area surrounded by a dark area, or vice versa.

Seeing values correctly will help you to interpret the atmosphere and the colors of nature — the greens and blues, etc.— into black, grays and white in order to render a believable drawing in pencil or charcoal. When you look in the distance, you can see that mountains, trees, houses, and other objects are much lighter than are objects in the foreground. What causes this phenomenon is dust particles in the air dif fusing the colors of sunlight, giving a lighter blue-grayish look to objects in the distance.

To the right is a value scale showing four shades of gray plus black and white, which should be enough values for you to start with. There is no rule on the proper number of values to compose a picture, but I suggest you start with no more than this amount to keep things simple. If, as you progress, you find that you would like to work with more values, do so.

Below, you see a photograph of a typical landscape with boxes of gray values plus black and white. These indicate how you might convert the greens, browns and blues of nature into grays, black and white. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that I could have added more grays to encom pass more of the values that are visible in the picture. But the object is to simplify, to say more with less. Remember that you are creating a drawing, not duplicating what a camera can do.

Creative Value Scales Drawing

Seeing Values

Compare the value boxes in this photo with the value scale (above right); you will see that the values are the same. Once you develop a value scale, try to stay within those values. It will make drawing outdoors a lot easier.

Seeing Values

Compare the value boxes in this photo with the value scale (above right); you will see that the values are the same. Once you develop a value scale, try to stay within those values. It will make drawing outdoors a lot easier.

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Canvas Painting For Beginners

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