In my last few blogs, I kept going reiterating the term “values”, so I decided this week to talk more about what that means by using an example of my drawing, Goat Island Light.

While I am known for my watercolors paintings, pencil drawings actually happen to be my favorite. I don’t know why, but I can sit for hours and just draw. This makes me think that I should have my students do a pencil drawing because, in pencil, where it’s strictly black and white, you really have to look hard for the values for a successful drawing.

So, let’s get into Goat Island Light, which is a pencil drawing on a smooth bristle board (a very smooth 90lb drawing paper), of which I only used 3 pencils and a kneaded eraser. As with my watercolor paintings, I sketch the scene out first to make sure my placement of the building, the rocks, the lighthouse, etc. are exactly where I want them. Next, I dive in using an HB, B, and 2B pencil. HB is the hardest making the lightest lines, while 2B is the softest and makes the darkest lines. I use the 2B for my darkest values, i.e. roof, grass shadows and rocks. I use my HB for the lightest values such as the sunny side of the building, the green grass, the clouds, and the sky. Anything in between I use a B pencil. The fun part of drawing Goat Island Light is that I had so much fun making the patterns in the water and the reflections. I also exaggerated the shadows which worked well for the contrasts. This drawing was definitely a labor of love and probably my favorite drawing that I have done.

Anytime you do a painting or drawing you really should do a sketch first to work out where your values are from lightest to darkest. It can often be difficult to see your values when looking at your subject but when you have to draw in pencil or charcoal it really forces you to look for them.
Light to dark tones are not the only values to consider; remember you have form, color, composition, and texture to consider too. I will talk more about those next time though!

Happy painting, 

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