Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing with Values

I've spent most of today playing with different value sketches - it's easy to come up with several possibilities quite quickly - especially when watching old movies.
This was my first sketch:
I quickly decided I needed to crop the top off it .....
then began to shade it in, this was the first attempt:

If I can't get the darks very dark, then I'll scan them into Photoshop and adjust the levels, or contrast. Also it's fun to hit Control-I and invert the values; suddenly everything looks very different.
I tried a number of variations and looked at them through squinty eyes....

of course, you'll probably look better than me!! This is the right way to squint! Note the angle of the head and the slight grimace - very important!

Squinting up your eyes reduces the detail and enables you to see the value pattern more clearly.
I liked this one a lot because not only has it an interesting value pattern, but the value pattern relates to my main idea:
As you can see that was the 6th possibility I tried. And for each positive value study, I made a negative value study too. which made 12. And there were many more version I could try.

You can also use the mask tool to find interesting crops for possible further abstract pieces!
here were two I found straight away...

Hours of happy fun! "and not a pot washed" as me old dad used to say.....
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!! Elizabeth


Jackie said...

Isn't it fascinating how--on the very first study--the eye is led upward by that tallest shaft but when it's cropped, the eye moves to the more complex parts of the drawing! I am greatly enjoying values, that is, most of the time. Just walking into my studio I noticed a layer of value (never thought of dust as 'value' before)on the lower shelf of the table that supports my quilting. I promptly wiped it away!

I enjoy the angles and extensions of lines in your industrial subject. They're quite airy actually, more than the compactness of domestic buildings. Mining rigs out in the center of Nevada often have that airy sensation. Thanks for hammering away about values. I have a piece in mind--has to wait until after Christmas--and I'm planning lots of value studies. Do you think Photoshop or Illustrator would be a good investment?

Elizabeth Barton said...

Hi Jackie - thanks for your comment.
I use Photoshop a lot, but probably only about 1% of its capacity. It's an expensive program and from what I hear Photoshop Elements has most of the basic tools. So I would start with that - and a scanner!
I don't use Illustrator so can't speak to that.