Why Values are Important:
"The value pattern is the structure that holds a painting together and the details merely entertain." Carl Purcell, Painting with Your Artist's Brain, p. 109.
- The reason that values are so important is because the way that our eyes register what they see. Your eyes see the value patterns (or shapes of the different areas of value) first, then your brain decides what it is that you see.
- Maggie Steifvater's recent portrait, Billy and Bertie, demonstrates this idea. As you see she's got funky colors all over the place, colors that those dogs definitely don't wear - but why does the painting work? It works because the values are right. The color in this case (i.e. the detail) is only there to entertain and Maggie is an excellent entertainer!
How do make your value shapes better: (this is, of course, relative, but Purcell has some good ideas)
- extend your dark shapes to hit edges of the piece
- put your dark and light shapes next to each other at the focal point
- keep your light areas around the focal point
These images are some more practice with a brush and ink.