Limit Your Value Range

I knew today was going to be a short art session so I planned for it but I was still able to get a quick video out about why to limit your value range when drawing.

Art materials are limited. No matter what material you use you can never EXACTLY reproduce light in nature, at least not direct light. Understanding the limitations of your materials is super important.

In many situations your subject will have an area that so white or black that your materials will not reach it exactly. So, if nature can reach values from zero (the deepest black ever) to 10 (so bright it will blind you) then your materials can only reach 2 (pretty dark) to 9 (white enough). You’re limited, you can only play within 2 and 9 and this same limitation applies to all the values in between, nature has so much more range than you do.

Once we have establish the limits to our materials then we take it further. Instead of going straight for 2 as our darkest dark and 9 as our whitest white, we will practice some restraint and keep our darkest dark at 3 and our lightest light at 8. This way we have a whole other level to play in if we need it later.

One other thing to note about observing values in nature is that when you think you’re seeing white, most of the time you’re not. Do this, if your white and as pale as me, look at yourself in a mirror under a very bright light, you may think that the latest parts of your skin have reached the whitest white. Then hold up a white sheet of copy paper next to your face and you will see a whole other level.

Here is a great video by Gregg Kreutz showing what I’m talking about.

Hopefully that was helpful, I’m getting better at explaining things in writing the more I practice.

The Tenth Doctor David Tennant drawing

The Dr Who drawing today was all about filing in basic values and trying to get everything close to where it needs to be. I also didn’t want to be too careful with this stage of the drawing. David Tennant and the tenth doctor was a bit crazy so I’m trying to communicate that aspect also.

Previous Dr Who Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


The Natural Way to Draw

No work today from The Natural Way to Draw book I’ll get back to my exercises tomorrow.

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

Super busy day today and had some wonderful time with Pattie. I also really enjoyed making the video about why you should limit your value range.

What needs work? What did you learn?

I could have organized my day a bit better, but I got really distracted today and lost a lot of time.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

Tomorrow I’m going to work hard on my focus and putting the time into what’s important now.

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