Creating Value using Pencil

Vocabulary:

  • Value: the relative lightness or darkness of a color or shade.  Used to create the illusion of 3D space on a 2D surface
  • Crosshatching: technique for creating value using overlapping lines
  • Scumbling: technique for creating value using overlapping squiggly lines
  • Stippling: technique for creating value using the proximity of tiny dots
  • Shading: technique for creating value using pressure on the pencil (or drawing utensil) or a variety of hard and soft leaded pencils.

Value is the relative lightness or darkness of a color.  There are many different ways to create value, for this lesson we are going to focus on some of the basic techniques.  Unless you are going for a muted vibe it  is usually preferred for a drawing to have a full range of values from the darkest darks to the lightest lights.

Here is an example of a drawing with a small range of value:

ocantbirdprogress1small

 

And here is an example of a drawing with a large range of value:

still-lifeThe latter example has a lot more contrast and pizazz while the former is more muted and calm.  For the sake of this lesson we are going to try and get a full range of values like the second picture.

We will practice creating value by using each different technique in a value scale.  Here is a Value Scale Worksheet you can download to practiceon: ValueScaleWorksheet

Now a breakdown of each technique:

First up is Shading.  If you have a set of drawing pencils the best way to shade is to use the harder lead pencils (4H, 2H, H) for lighter values.  The higher the number next to the “H” the harder the lead and the lighter the pencil.  Conversely, you would use the softer pencils (B, 2B, 4B, 6B) for the darker values.  The higher the number next to the “B” the softer the lead and the darker the pencil.  If you don’t have a set of drawing pencils then you can make your shading darker by adding pressure with your pencil against the paper.  Here is an example of a shaded value scale:

AED 002

It is ok to leave the last space blank since you want it to be the brightest white.

Next up is Scumbling!  Scumbling is a layering of squiggly lines.  The closer the lines are together the darker your value will be. Here is an example of Scumbling:

b970e5b9972bb6a8faa708cf6d2627cd

 

After Scumbling comes Crosshatching!  Crosshatching follows the same principle of Scumbling where the closer your lines are together the darker your value will be only these lines are straight.  Here is an example of Crosshatching:

hatching valuse scale

 

And last but not least, my nemesis…. Stippling!  Stippling looks great but it takes FOREVER since you are using the proximity of tiny dots to create value.

pointillism-value-scale-inked

Once you have completed the value scale, it’s time to move on to phase two!  Value is used to create the illusion of 3D space on a 2D surface. In simpler terms, value is used to make it appear like the objects you are drawing have three dimensions even though they are being represented on a 2D surface (the paper).

On this next worksheet there are four circles and the sun.  Use each one of these techniques for creating value to make it appear as though these are 3D spheres instead of flat circles on a page.  Remember, the section of the sphere closest to the sun will be the lightest while the section of the sphere farthest from the sun will be darkest.  If your sphere is on a surface that reflects light there might be some reflected light on the bottom of your sphere but to keep things simple let’s pretend that these spheres are on an unreflective surface.

images

 

You can download the worksheet and try this out for yourself here: Value Sphere Worksheet

Good luck, have fun!

Requirements:

  • You must have a full range of values in your value scale
  • You must demonstrate an ability to use each technique to create value
  • Drawings should be neat and made with care

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