Drawing Tips of The Day Number 9. Value and Depth

by Jon Saqarra
(The Artists Planet)

Value Scale From Black to White

Value Scale From Black to White

Value is an artists’ term for lightness or darkness for a color, in some parts of the world it is called tone or tone values. This can be a little confusing at times so we’ll use “value” in these tips of the day comments.


Not to make it any more confusing “tone” (across the Atlantic) can mean “the quality of Chroma. For example, red tone, prevailing yellow tone and even “value” comes into the picture with “light tone and dark tone.”

What I wanted to chat about today is “Tone Techniques.”

This is basically using contrasts of light and dark, the modelling of forms and 3D effects for the illusion of space. So you are creating impressions of the third dimensions.

Hopefully, you have become familiar with various media with a wide range of tools?

Using various pressures on your drawing paper with a 2B pencil can produce all the tone ranges you can think of (possibly about 12 from white to black). Have you ever practiced this? What? “No” you say.

Well, you are not going to get your drawings into the Louvre (very famous French Museum in Paris for all the top “old masters!”

My tip yesterday was to create depth in your compositions with the use of light and dark with sharp dark lines and soft lines that fade into the distance.

So here is an exercise to improve you values to obtain depth in your drawings. 1) draw about 10 half inch squares roughly by hand in a straight line. Then shade the last square as black as you can get it...at the other end, leave the white square as-is. Then faintly start shading square number 2 and so on going darker with each square as you progress towards the black.

Now you have finished, you should have each small square an even contrast between each square next to it. So does your exercise look even all the way across from white to black?

Your finished exercise should look something like the image here!



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