Value Sketch For A Quiet Winter Scene

Value Composition Sketches are used to create strong compositions. Well composed Value Sketches include overlaps and interlocks between Value shapes. We walk through one example in this lesson.

The Secret To Strong Value Compositions

Good paintings are rarely based on making an exact copy of the scene, especially if you are working from a photo.  At the value sketch stage, be willing to make changes from the value arrangement in the scene – even if they are small changes.   Value composition shapes should be interlocked. This can usually be accomplished with overlapped shapes and elements. Often these are small changes that make a big difference.

Focal Point

Strong paintings need single, compelling focal point. One of the best ways is to place the greatest contrasts at the area of the focal point. In a value sketch, this means placing the darkest dark next to, or interlocking with,  the lightest light. This almost always requires changes from what appears in the actual scene.


The concept of Value Sketching is quite simple. The difficulties are really in our heads – first in allowing ourselves to create something different from what we see, second in making conscious and deliberate choices about the overall composition.

This lesson steps-through the thought process of making deliberate changes to the value arrangement for the benefit of a strong composition.

What you’ll need:

  • Copies of the thumbnail line drawing from the Download Sheet, a pencil.


This is a Premium Learning Library Lesson.  Access The Entire Library  With a Premium Membership – Cancel or Pause  at any time.  

More Premium Member Info Here.

 Already a Premium Member? Login Below

Just browsing? Check out these FREE lessons.

Quiet Winter Landscape Scene

This lesson shows how to create a winter scene based on the value sketch created in the lesson above.

The painting uses wet-in-wet and dry-in-wet techniques to get the soft look of a winter scene, a limited color palette for quiet light and we work on rough paper to get some contrasting textures in the painting.



advanced watercolor color wheel

Related Lessons

Value Sketching Basics

Error: View 8a98f57lqn may not exist

Value To Color