Saturday, October 17, 2020

Value studies can be fun!

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..... First you have to have a nice clean copy where all the lines join up (no gaps! the colors would bleed through) Then scan this sketch into your computer. Here's a series of steps from a simple sketch through to variations. 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! 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. 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. Then over to the sketch with my bucket now full of black paint! and I click where I want the image to be dark: Hmmm or would it look more interesting if I inverted (Ctrl-I, command-I) those values: 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: .....and then some medium darks.... .... maybe more? 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. My Dyeing to Design class ( begins by explaining how to dye a greyscale...and then make a small quilt just using values from white to black. The assignment teaches so much about the importance of value. The class also covers low water immersion dyeing, gradation dyeing, 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


Vickie Wheatley said...

In the past, I've tried hand shading and that does take forever. You could stack white, gray, and black papers, then cut out the shapes with an exacto knife and rearrange them. But, I love your Photoshop Elements idea! I m definitely going to give it a try. Thank you!

Elizabeth Barton said...

Hi Vickie! and thank you for commenting, I've used the exacto cut stacked value paper method too and it's fun because you can easily shift things just a little...
both methods work to give you lots of ideas. elizabeth

Asta said...

Just about any simple paint app/program will do the same thing without having to work through Photoshop, and they are usually free. Here's the program that I love to use. Paint, the standard app that comes with Microsoft Windows, is so simple and easy to use. You can import your scanned design, or just draw right on the screen, and then fill in using the paint bucket tool with the values and/or colours as you've described above. You can save your creation, print it, copy it into another program... no limit to what you can do. And it's all free! Happy painting!

Elizabeth Barton said...

Thank you Asta...I don't have Paint so that's good to know.
Another free download that is very good, and very similar to PSE is GIMP which was devised by a team of students from MIT (I think!)...and is very versatile.

The important thing is to make sure that your lines all meet!!