Showing Form And Light With Value

A Study Of Cubes Helps Simplify A Complex Subject

Learn how to show light and form using three values in this watercolor painting lesson. (Well, we actually add a fourth value for the cast shadow) This three-value formula works with any subject! Get to know it well starting with this lesson.

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Value is one of several important characteristics of color. Also known as ‘shade’ or ‘tone’, it is essentially the level of dark or light. It is most easily understood when working with only white, black and varying shades of gray in between.

In this video, we’ll work exclusively with shades of gray to simplify the task and solidify the understanding  of value.  We’ll work with simple, angular shapes and use layers of paint to create changes in value. The different value areas will show the different areas of light, shade and shadow that reveal the form of the subject and the direction and quality of light.

Future videos will deal with showing form and light while working with both color and value

A note about value.  It is often considered to be the most important characteristic for painters. This is because value changes and value contrasts can impact the mood, focus and visual movement through a painting. Many would say that value is the only aspect of color that really matters – think of some great drawings you’ve seen that are done only in black and white media.

What you’ll need:

Related Lessons

Value Basics

Value To Color