Value Study, graphite on paper, ©ElishaDasenbrock

Value Study, graphite on paper, ©ElishaDasenbrock

Last week we discussed 3 values. Shadow, mid-tone, highlight.  Obviously, values are infinite and the more you have the more realistic your sketch will appear. One exercise that will help you see and achieve more subtle values in your drawing is the study above. Draw a long rectangle and split it up into at least 6 squares. The first one will be the absolute darkest you can make your drawing medium. The last box will be the white of the paper.

I start with the darkest box, but then I moved to the second lightest box. Then I went back and forth with all the boxes in between. I actually had to erase the lightest box twice because I was not happy with it. During all this shading in of boxes, you want to squint your eyes to see the true transitions between the values. The lines you drew, separating the values, may throw you off a bit at first.

The more you practice this, the more you will naturally see these values in your subject.

But I hear what you’re saying. How does this apply in real life? Values aren’t always lined up nice and neat. Again, squinting at your subject will help you see this, but you’re also in luck. There are a few rules that are tried and true.  I’ll show you that next week.

This week’s theme, I’d like to see you draw something that represents you. Is it a favorite pair of earrings or the pen everyone knows is yours? Coffee mug? What is yours and yours alone? What does someone see and immediately think of you? Or even better, what do you see and immediately think of you?

You can email me your sketches or share them on Instagram with the hashtag #heyelisha. If you have a blog or want to start one for these assignments, feel free to link to them in the comments section as well. I’d love to follow along.

See last week’s Sketch-A-Long here.

About Elisha

Elisha Dasenbrock is an award winning, international watercolor artist. She paints with a limited palette on claybord. Dasenbrock graduated from the American Academy of Art in 2009 and has been painting professionally ever since.