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The aim ofrealist valuedrawing is toshow the lightand shadowand surfacetones, creatinga three-dimensionalillusion.
Value is a range from highlight (the brightest highlightbeing white) to shadow (the darkest being black) andall of the tones in between. The 3 tones to know arewhite (highlight) middle grey, and black (shadow).
We can use value to make a 2D drawing look 3D. Forexample, we can make this circle look like a sphere byusing a range of value to give the illusion of form.
Outlines only define visible edges and dont tell usanything about light and dark. Linear drawing andvalue drawing are two different systems ofrepresentation.
One of these drawings has been made usingboth outline and value, the other only uses valueto describe a cube. By eliminating outlines andusing value to describe the differences in thesurface of an object a drawing becomes morerealistic.
A good way to beginusing value in adrawing is to assigneach shape in thedrawing a differentvalue. Notice thedifferent shapes ofvalue in this inkwash drawing.
This ink wash drawing also uses value to defineshapes. It has, however, limited itself to only twovalues: black and white. This is a two-tone drawing.Two tone drawings are not limited to black and white,they can be made by pairing any two values fromblack, through intermediate grays, to white.
Notice that thepumpkin is definedonly by light and dark,not by outline. Byfilling in thebackground withvalue, the light edgeof the pumpkin isvisible. Mostsuccessful valuedrawings use lightand dark throughoutthe entirecomposition.
Value drawing is like painting in graphite or charcoal. Although theprocess is different than using a brush, you need to think in termsof areas as opposed to lines. Shade the darks, observing theshape and value while being careful to shade up to the edge ofadjoining light areas. The astounding realism that we see in someimages is this approach taken to a very high degree of detail,where the tonal values are closely observed and finely drawn.
When creating a value drawing, you need to shift out of line-drawingmode. The best way to do this is to forbid yourself to draw a line,and focus on areas of value. You might use the lightest of lines toget down the basic shapes. From there, build up the shading.Often the outline will be at the join between two different values,and is created by the contrast between the light and dark area.
Contrast! Remember the linesbetween values? Well, thosehard lines form contrast. Ofcourse, contrast comes inshades of grey, too.High contrast is when subjectsare illuminated by a bright lightsource and cast dark shadows –which can look dramatic. Lightand dark values will be next toeach other. In the value chart,you would be skipping a value ortwo (or more!).
Low contrast, on the other hand, often usesvalues that are next to each other on thevalue chart. (In fact, something that has onlyone value would be “no contrast”). With lowcontrast, values close together will definethe bulk of the subject. You couldselectively highlight or accentuate portionswith lights or darks.
A Value Scale is a valuable tool to help you find value in your subject matter.Our first class exercise is to create a NINE STEP Value Scale to accompany your drawing.