Value Transitions

Sorry for my lapse in adding new content.  I’ve been busy with teaching workshops and making art, including several commissions, but now I’m back on track!

In the previous lesson I wrote about the importance of value contrast over lines (at least in the final stages of a drawing) to create the illusion of form. With that in mind, when rendering form in a drawing or painting, think about how the edges of that form are turning. The gradation from light to dark will describe the way light falls upon the surface of a form.  This gradation is referred to as the “turning” of form.  A simple form, such as a sphere would have a relatively gradual turning.  A cylinder would be more abrupt, and a cone would vary from top to bottom.  In observational drawing think not only about the shape of an object, but also what happens within it’s boundaries.  Observing the value transitions will enable you to understand the sculptural qualities of form. 

When working with the figure, there is a complex structure of underlying forms.  However, if you examine each part of the human body, you’ll notice that more general, simplified shapes can be found; the head is an oval, the arms and legs are tapering cylinders, etc.  Each part has different angles, planes, and turnings, and thus, different gradations of light to dark. Below is a 3 step demonstration of how to approach a figurative study by first delineating the general shadow shapes, and then working in the appropriate value transitions.

figure study 1

figure study 2

figure study 3

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