Learning the Value of Value: Art Terms

Art, art terms, Design

Value is one of the seven elements of art, or so I’m told. To be honest while in class I heard a lot of terms and made a lot of notes (I’m a compulsive note taker). However, I didn’t understand why these terms and “rules” mattered. What value is and why it’s important didn’t sink in until the final weeks.

In somewhat basic language, value creates the illusion of light. A drawing without value is flat. The objects are floating in space.

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Value puts depth into a flat painting or drawing. Shadows, also called shades, are where the light source doesn’t quite reach; while tints are the opposite and appear in brighter areas. Highlights are where the light source is directly hitting the object.

When done right and the light source is consistently coming from the same direction the object becomes grounded and appears to have weight and depth.


Value: shades + tints + highlights = Magic!

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According to most art instructors a good range of values makes a for an overall better picture.

What do you think… did I use a good range of values? Critique me on another illustration.


2 thoughts on “Learning the Value of Value: Art Terms

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