Thursday, March 3, 2016

Value studies - the easy way

I really like making several different value studies when I have decided upon a sketch, but I must admit it is a little tedious to shade them in by hand. So, I like to do them on the computer.....

1. First you have to have a nice clean copy where all the lines join up (no gaps!  the colors would bleed through)
2.  Then scan this sketch into your computer.

here's a little sketch I made some time ago, really simple.

3.  I open the sketch into Photoshop Elements (this is a fairly inexpensive photo imaging program that many people like).  There is also GIMP, a free download.  And I'm sure several others that I don't know - but if you do and can recommend!  please...write a comment!

4.  Then I click on the two little squares right down at the bottom on the left hand side that show the foreground and background colors, and I select a dark value.  I don't care what color is it,  I usually get as close as I can to a neutral grey. I find it easier to begin with the darkest value, and I never use more than 4 different values: 3 is fine too:  white, black and one or two greys.

5.  Then I click on the little paint bucket - it's about 6 little icons up from the bottom of that left hand side group of tools.

6.  Then over to the sketch with my bucket now full of black paint!  and I click where I want the image to be dark: 

7.  Hmmm or would it look more interesting if I inverted (Ctrl-I, command-I) those values:

8.  Actually that does look pretty sharp...but I'll save it and maybe even print it out to look at more later...but I think I'll go back to where I was and add some medium lights:

 9. and then some medium darks....

10, maybe more?

11.  No, I think I went too far...let's try again...hmm  quite like this one!

 See how addictive it is??? and how much fun....and a perfect way to design a quilt, not only in values...but easily translated into color too.

Actually in my Dyeing to Design class, about to start tomorrow with
the first assignment is about dyeing a nice gradation of blacks and then making a quilt solely from them.  The assignment teaches so much about the importance of value.

The class lasts five weeks and as well as exploring low water immersion dyeing and gradation dyeing, it also covers arashi shibori and several different kinds of screen printing.
The class is organized around the five elements of design that we use in art quilts:  value, color, texture, shape and line.

Love to have comments!!!  Do please step in with your favorite way of shading your value studies.
And, if you have been, thanks for reading......Elizabeth


Melanie McNeil said...

You mentioned " five elements of design that we use in art quilts: value, color, texture, shape and line." When we're doin' it right, we use those same elements in non-art quilts, too. I've mentioned before how helpful I find your books. (No affiliation, folks! She isn't paying me to say this!) This exercise is an example why -- clear examples and explanations of the concepts.

Elizabeth Barton said...

thank you Melanie!!! yes you use the same principles in any 2 D design, including photography.
Interesting also, I learn that the design principles: unity, variety etc also hold true for the performance of music - I'm learning piano - a lifelong dream!

Melanie McNeil said...

Agreed on the music. I'm not a musician but have learned a lot over the years about how to listen to it. And same principles apply. And one of the things you'll hear/read most about music, especially jazz, is that what you leave out is as important as what you leave in. Hey, that sounds like writing, too... :)

Mary Ritter said...

There are many very low cost apps that you can download if you are working on an iPad. Go to the apps store and look at Pixlr, Drawing Pad, Imaengine or Dreamscape. In each of these you can upload a photo and color on top of it or play around with color options. Of course, Photos allows to you view a photo in grayscale and adjust the temperature of each of those shades. I find that playing with my idea in one or more of these apps really gets the creative juices flowing. Sometimes I still do another approach when I get to the fabric choices, but I am really more in tune with the design elements after playing with the idea so easily. Thanks, Elizabeth, for another designing plan that triggers so many ideas. I am eager to take your Abstract Art II class, but I couldn't fit it in during this round of classes. I'll watch for it in the future.

Asta Antoft said...

Actually, MS Paint, a long-time standard and very simple paint package that comes with all Microsoft based computers can do the same thing, at no cost. I've just tried out a freehand design and filled it in using their 50% and 25% grey, in addition to black and white. So much fun!! Thanks Elizabeth for this posting. Very inspirational as usual!

Kathy said...

i do one change, then take a screenshot, then another change and screenshot. i paste each screenshot into a powerpoint file and then i have a single file for the set instead of a sequence of jpeg. easy to scroll through and compare qualities of each change.
(on my Microsoft tablet there is a 'prt sc' button, meaning 'print screen', press this, it saves to clipboard waiting for you to paste it somewhere)

Sunnie said...

This would be easy to do in Electric Quilt, too....have often done traditional quilts for value studies, but never thought of EQ for this work! (duh!)