Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Elements of Art - Value

Value: the graduation from light to dark across a form. In art, value is important in creating a sense of depth in a picture. 

In the above box (value scale), you can see how the value changes from 100 % black on the bottom to 100% white on the top. A gradation is a smooth blending from one value to another. This is a difficult skill to master, but when you master it, it will help you immeasurably in your drawing. Value can help you make your drawings look more three-dimensional (3-D). for instance, look at the difference between these two drawings. which looks like a sphere and which looks like a disc?

In the case of the pictures mentioned above, it is the subtle use of value that creates the illusion of depth or three-dimensionality (3-D).

*Value scale #1: Cross-hatching is done by making a lot of little X's. When you want the lines to be darker, press harder and make the X's closer together. To make the X's lighter, press gently and make the X's further apart.(etching of Rembrandt under "Drawing" post)

*Value scale #2: Stippling is done with dots only. The farther apart they are, and the lighter you press with a pencil, the lighter the value. You can also make the area darker by pressing harder and by making the dots closer together. (comic books and newspapers)

*Value scale #3: True gradation (smooth blending from light to dark) is created by making tiny circular motions with your pencil. If, instead, you make the marks across the box instead of in tiny circles, you will have trouble making the transition from light to dark smooth.

*If you look carefully at a simple object sitting in the light, you will notice that there are different degrees of light on the object. To illustrate this, look at an object such as a ball or an apple and place it on a plain white paper under a light source (such as a lamp). compare it to the example on the right. Can you identify all the different degrees of light listed below?

1. Highlight: the brightest part of the object.
2. Light: the area immediately surrounding the highlight. Not as bright as the highlight.
3. Shadow: the part of the object where light first begins to fade. Not as dark as the core shadow or the cast shadow.
4. Core shadow: the darkest shadow on the object itself where light does not reach.
5. Reflected light: light that bounces off the surface on which the object is resting. Not as light as the light or highlighted areas mentioned above.
6. Cast shadow: the shadow cast directly on the surface on which the object is resting. The darkest shadows are closest to the object, and they fade and get lighter the further away from the object they get.

Look closely at the next illustration. Notice how the subtle use of value helps create a sense of depth and how the various objects look three-dimensional (3-D). See how the shadows give the objects a sense of realism, depth, and volume? Compare it to the disk in the second image. It completely lacks any sense of depth.

Now look especially at the golf ball and answer the following questions:

1. Can you identify the six degrees of light that you learned about above?2. Where is the light source coming from?
3. Can you see the highlights? The cast shadow? The reflected light?