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The elements of "Value" & "Shadow"

Value is one of the seven elements of art.

Value deals with the lightness or darkness of a colour. Since we see objects and understand objects because of how dark or light they are, value is the most important element of art.

If you understand and implement value correctly in your drawings and paintings, you will see immediate improvement.

A successful artowrk has a full range of value means that they are ample amounts of light values- called tints, and dark values - called shades. Using a value scale, you can be sure that you create a full range of value. Many artists use a value scale as they work, identifying specific values and adding them in appropriate spots.

Pixel Picture Porrait of a gorilla:

Take this gorilla for example...

If we isolate ten of the values, we can see where we would need to draw or paint the values...

Using Value in Drawings

The whole point to value is to create the illusion of light. So value is used to basically create the illusion of highlights and shadows. Highlights and shadows combine to create the illusion of a light source. Remember, without light we cannot see. So technically, without a light source, you have no illusion.

Shadows- areas on an object where light does not hit.

Value - Element of art associated with the darkness or lightness of a colour

Light source - Area in which light is originating from


Value scale - A guide to creating a range of value, good pieces of art have a full range of value


Tints - light values

Shades - dark values

Highlights - Areas on an object where light is hitting