Pencil Values

°Art is the only way to run away without actually leaving."

—twyla tharp

Now that you can draw recognizable objects with more accuracy, it's time to give them more depth, weight, and substance. To achieve that illusion of three dimensions, you need to add gray tones, also called "values" or "tonal values." These pages will teach you when and how to apply them.

Values are shades of gray, on a scale ranging from black to white. They correspond to how dark or light, in any color, anything appears in the world around you. Beginners initially refer to values as "shading" or "shadowing." If you start to imagine how your surroundings would look in a black-and-white photo, you will begin to "get the picture."

supplies for this chapter

2B and 2H pencils Pink Pearl eraser 14"-x-17" drawing pad 6"-x-8" drawing pad scrap paper clip-on light

Value scales are a way of arranging values systematically, from dark to light. The best way to distinguish one tone from the next, especially if they're close in value, is by squinting.

Values are a significant concept. You'll use a variety of techniques to achieve them in coming chapters, some of which will appeal to you more than others. But in every case, you'll apply them for the same reason: to create the illusion of solidity and spatial dimension.

You'll keep using pencil in this chapter, because it's an ideal tool for creating a full range of gray tones. Pencil serves to fill in the shapes you've been making in the previous chapters with a variety of grays, which correspond to tonal values in anything and everything you may choose to draw.

If you've ever washed a load of laundry, you already know a lot about values. When you separate whites from darks, you're sorting high-contrast values. Colors that fall between darks and lights-beiges, medium blues-belong in the medium-value range. Bright, intense colors need special care. Their intensity doesn't fit easily with other medium colors.

"When we started doing the shading, it all began to come together. Now I could make something that looked more like it was supposed to look in real life. "

-student push pa kapur


drawing by student stephanie seidel

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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