This week we’re looking at Colour and Value as part of the Group Run-through of SketchingNow Watercolour On Location. It’s a really special lesson!
I absolutely love doing value studies and talking about how to design in values. But I just realised that I’ve never discussed why I like using grey markers for my value studies here on the blog.
When I’m doing value studies I like to work with a 5 step value scale and this scale has become second nature to me. So even when I’m not actually doing a value thumbnail I’m always thinking in terms of the numbers 1-5 when I’m assessing a scene and mixing my washes.
Pencil vs Grey Markers
Using a pencil is the normal tool for doing value studies and this gives you the flexibility to increase to a 10 step values scale if you want. But I’m totally in love with using markers for three main reasons:
- I love the crisp graphic look they create! No matter how roughly I do my thumbnails, they always look cool and it’s always easy to read the values.
- They force me to make definitive decisions about which value to use for each shape. These decisions can sometimes be ‘hard’ but that’s great training for designing the values of my sketch. This is a topic that I absolutely love talking about! It’s not just a matter of documenting the values as you see them, it’s all about adjusting them to create a sketch with compelling contrast.
- The separate pens are really useful to see different values more clearly. The act of picking up the number 3 pen, or the number 2 one helps to think in terms of number and this then makes it easier to then convert a value study into a watercolour sketch.
Yes, they are extra supplies to carry, but I think that it’s totally worth it!
Post-sketch value study
The value study in this article was done last week after I’d been sketching out on location. I got my sketch to the 70% mark but was a little too distracted at the time to work out what to do next. So I stopped early and then did this value study back home. It instantly gave me the direction I needed to finish the sketch. I’ll be sharing more about this sketch in this week’s Watercolour On Location Livestream.
BTW I can’t express in words how much I’m loving doing weekly livestreams as part of this Group Run-through. It’s so amazing to chat with everyone, answer your questions, address topics which have come up in the classroom and share some behind the scenes for my own sketching for the last week. If you have signed up for Watercolour On Location at anytime you can join these livestreams! Just check the info inside the classroom.
The markers I use
And oh! I haven’t shared which pens I’m using!
They are Pitt Brush Pens: Warm Grey 272, 273, 274 and Black 199.
What tool/s do you use for your value studies?