Value Studies

Why a value study is such an important part of my process.

It took me quite some time to really understand why a value study is so important.

My nature is spontaneous. Not long ago the idea of drawing or painting the same view over and over would have appalled me. These days I almost always do at least one value sketch before I begin painting.

Sometimes, once I’ve done the value sketch, I’ll change my mind about the painting and look for another view. It helps me make a decision on whether or not a painting will be visually appealing.

My value study process

  1. Crop my photographic reference to the composition that I like.
  2. Use this as reference to plot the parameters of the sketch.
  3. Sketch out the big shapes from life, referring back to the reference photo to check that I’m within my parameters.
  4. From life, start adding medium and smaller shapes within the big shapes.
  5. Using three values: (light, mid, dark) I fill in the shapes.
  6. I do this in graphite, a 4B or 6B pencil preferably.

My value study sketchbook

View from Zesty Lemon Restaurant
View from Zesty Lemon Restaurant
Tracy Algar - sketchbook value study
Kleinrivier late afternoon
Tracy Algar - sketchbook value study
Kleinrivier morning reflections
Tracy Algar - sketchbook value study
Kleinrivier evening reflections.
Tracy Algar - sketchbook value study
Kleinrivier evening light.
Tracy Algar - sketchbook value study
Kleinrivier tree reflections