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