Values in Drawing & Painting

The development of understanding values is just as important in drawing as it is in painting and all other mediums of art. Values are the lights and darks of tones or color. The larger the difference between the lightest and darkest value, the more contrast the artwork will have. Usually, the lightest value is white and the darkest value is black. One way artists practice their defining values in their art is by creating gradient charts.


Value Scale


The developments of understanding values are crucial in describing a subject and creating depth in artwork. To develop skills in drawing, this practice is paired with mark-making exercises. Students will practice different types of drawing marks to describe different lines and textures of subjects. Some examples are hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, scribbling, smudging, or random marks and patterns.



Stippling Value Scale



Sketchbooks are wonderful resources to practice value scales. Practice exercises for different techniques can serve as a chronological mind map of a student's visual understandings. Such important emphasis is made on sketchbooks because it plays a key role in each student's development as an artist.



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