Observational Value Drawings

It was so nice to be back in class this week and working with the Teens on creating Observational Value Drawings.


We practiced observational still life drawing – drawing from real life set ups using measuring techniques. I started by letting the students pick the objects they wanted to draw and setting up their own still life’s.  The only requirement was that half of the object be in the light and half in the shadow.


Working on tinted paper, we used charcoal and followed these steps to create a value drawing:

  1. Use tinted paper and draw big rough shapes.   Check accuracy with:
    1. Negative Space
    2. Horizontal Lines
    3. Symmetry
    4. Diagonals
    5. Verticals
  2. Lightly apply vine charcoal to entire drawing – holding the vine charcoal on its side color over entire drawing.
  3. Create a 2-value drawing – squint and erase all large light areas.
  4. Squint and color in darkest darks.
  5. Adjust middle values drawing into image using your kneaded eraser. Readjust the lights and darks as you work on the middle values.
  6. Pick your focal point and emphasize with higher contrast, sharper edges and more detail.
  7. Lastly apply the highlights, (lightest lights) with white Conte crayon. Note that highlights will follow the form of the object.


It was the first time that many of the students had drawn from “real life” and worked with charcoal. They did a great job! Here is a look at their work.



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