Monday, September 6, 2010

the Value of Value

How do we get our drawings and paintings to look 3 dimensional?


This is the subtle manipulation of color that tricks the eyes into seeing a flat object (such as in a drawing or painting) as having depth.

How do we do this?

1.) Decide on a light source, ea, where is the light coming from and how strong is it. It is easier if you light your still life this way, but you can exaggerate what is there.

2.) Notice any light or dark areas, and exaggerate this a little

3.) Make sure your objects are "grounded" so they do not appear to be floating. All objects that are sitting on a surface have a very thin dark line at the bottom. All objects. This is where the object meets the surface. Do not forget this or the object will be floating in space. You might not notice, but you will notice the object just doesn’t look right. You might start looking for structural defects, not realizing the only thing wrong is this missing dark highlight!

4.) Don’t forget highlights. Very often your darkest shades need to be right along side the strongest highlights.

5.) Remember light bounces. We are talking about contour shading here. This happens with all colors, not just black and white.


People wonder what simple tricks to use to make their work look dimensional. They are looking for shortcuts. Some magic trick. Sorry to disappoint you, but it takes work. Hard work and attention to detail.

Drawings are the result of hard work and study. This does not need to be formal, but it is necessary for you to study what you want to draw.

This does applies to "drawing from my head" work. Because you are using your imagination, it is no excuse not to use your understanding of the real world to compliment and reinforce your imaginary one.

Use value to make your images come alive.

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