Nov 2, 2017

Get those Values Working for You -Painting & Drawing Tips

Have you ever finished a painting and felt it just looked flat?
There is no life to it.  Yet, you planned, worked hard and tried everything.  
Where did you go wrong?

Bright Bold Poppies - One of my favourite things to draw.  Especially in Ink.

Take your painting, photograph it and then turn it into a gray scale picture.  (You can do this easily with the Edit feature in Photos on your phone or Ipad.  It's a great little feature.)  When you see the picture in gray scales, without the distraction of colour you have a much better feel for the values that are in your work.  This is where the Magic happens.  It is the strength of the values that can turn that flat shape into a Dense, 3 Dimensional Mass that really seems to come to life. 

Seeing Values in Action - The MAGIC Element of Art

Here is a drawing of the poppies from the last post (see here)

Take a look at the poppies you worked with in my last drawing post.  In that post you completed the line drawing.  The drawing gives a sense of Depth and Mass because of the layering; petals in the back, the center, petals in the front, stems and little leaves and flowers layered on the page. I love the look of ink but adding graphite (values) can make it even more interesting.

Add some values - I used a pencil but you painters can use paint.

Here is one of the poppy with one value on it.

Yes, this poppy looks pretty 3 Dimensional, but not because of the shading.  It is more the work of the stem and the little leaves that gives it Volume.  The graphite almost flattens it. It is all one value.   Cover up the stem area as you look at it and you will see what I mean.

Here is my Poppy Reference. If you want to try the drawing, Contact me if you would like a better reference file to work with.  I would be happy to send it to you.

Now study the picture reference and add the values.  (I used a 6B pencil for the darker areas and 2B for the lighter areas.) Work by layering your graphite.  Using circular strokes build up your darker areas, always blending them into the lighter areas.  Yes, you can use just a 2B pencil to put in your values and use lots of pressure to get the darks.  I prefer to use a variety of pencils to get my darks as it requires less pressure and I get more texture on my paper.  I am not flattening the tooth of my paper with lots of pressure.

Some things to note: 

You have a value scale of 1 to 10.  1 is white and 10 is your darkest dark.  There are no 1's or  10's on the petals.  You need to keep your values inside of that range.  The white (no. 1) needs to be saved for the main poppy on the right.

When shading the light petals: the petal on the far left is the lightest, the one on the far right is next and the light petal off the center at the back is next. 

When shading the dark petals: the front petal has the darkest areas and the back petal is not as dark. None of the petals has a full Value of 10. 

The only 10 is just where the flower, leaves and stem meet.  Notice how that really grounds the flower and gives it that sense of life you are looking for.  You can see the same affect on the lower poppy where the darks have been done in ink.

Poppy with full Values
Now this is a POPPY.  The darks and lights of the graphite really give that Poppy mass.  It definietly looks alive, open to the sunlight. 

As you work with your drawings and paintings you need to always be comparing the values; who is lighter, who is darker and who is the same.  Go back to that gray scale picture of your painting/drawing.  How do those values compare? Punch some of them up and drop some of them back.  You have a scale of 1-10, make sure you use all of it.  Working on pencil drawings really helps to sharpen your sense of values. 

 Working in colour really doesn't change anything.  There is still values to be modulated only now it is done with your colour choices rather than graphite.  Often artists comment that it is really not the colour that is important it is the value.  As you can see from the two painted pictures I have included their volume is developed with the values of the colour.  I even played around with colours with my gull to emphasis that.

READY FOR MISCHIEF - 5 x 7 - $135 (Matted, unframed)
Note how the dark values create his Mass, your eye totally accepts the strange colours (green, orange, purple) When the value is right the colour is not important

Looking for other drawing information, See the previous drawing posts:

How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing
  4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit
Time to Meet Your Drawing Friends
Ready to Start Drawing - Get Your Materials Together

Next up: Working with Blenders - the secret to the soft touch of Graphite.   See you next week.

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Time to Move Inside and Draw
Drop-In & Draw: Tues, Nov. 7 10-12pm & 1-3pm
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Choose a morning or afternoon session. Bring your sketchbook or your project and come draw.  I will be happy to give you a few pointers as you work on your drawing.  $15 Pre-Register Required. Contact Wendy Here

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