Drawing+Imaging People: Value

Light and shadow are everything in art—they enhance focus, define depth, and clarify images. Over the course of 3 weeks, I’ve learned the basics of shadow, value, and line, and how all three interrelate and draw from each other.

Our first day of class, we essentially toned paper and drew 3D forms subtractively. Instead of drawing the lines—i.e shadows—we erased the highlights. In turn, I developed a wider understanding of the importance of value, and how lines merely define a shift in value. Therefore, an object should never need to be outlined, as the difference in gradation between its background defines its shape and value in and of itself. 

That same week for homework, we were tasked to take a photograph with black and white objects that implies value gradation through the use of strategic lighting and intentional object placement. Interpreting each object’s color as a range on the grayscale, I placed lighter objects on the left, and darker ones further right. The finished product is an areal view of my assemblage. In lieu of creating a linear line of objects, I arranged the objects so that they overlapped and touched each other. This was especially important for the reflective objects I placed in the composition, as they reflect the colors surrounding them. After completion, I developed a deeper understanding of what makes something a darker or lighter. For example, a pattern that spaces gray and white diamonds produce a lighter gray than had it just been a solid gray, and the color of reflective objects can be amplified when you surround them with colors that match their color scale.

In the second class, we worked on quick still lifes with charcoal. Trying my best to include the full grayscale spectrum, I made use of the vine and compressed charcoal to produce light grays and deep blacks. The kneaded and vinyl erasers helped produce highlights in the composition.  Seeing the objects in color and having to translate each color to a shade of grey, I also refreshed myself on value mapping. 

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