See Like an Artist 2: The Main Problem

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In the last section, we established that the two main problems for the beginner are number one muddy looking drawings caused by mixing up the light and dark values. And number two, sacrificing the whole for the parts. In other words, drawing too many value contrast and emphasizing details. So all this had to do basically could boil it down to that sometimes the brain can be fooled, especially with value. And the eye sees basically in terms of contrasts in value. So we've got to solve the value problem and we stipulated that solving it would be done by squinting and comparing so we're gonna get to that.

So but let's look at these two problems and break them down. We'll look at muddy looking drawings first. Okay, number one muddy looking drawings caused by mixing up the light and dark values. So we have the photo reference here. And in the middle, we have this really Dirty looking joy. That's what I mean by muddy, it's mixing up the values.

So let's say in this area here, where it should be light, it's too dark. And then in this area here, where it should be dark, it's too light. And it just goes on and on like that. We can see areas that are in the shadow but they're too light. Okay, in here should be lighter, but it's too dark. So you're mixing up the light and dark values, the drawing here all the way to the right.

This is a more harmonized in terms of its value. The darks are all unified into their design into a nice shadow pattern. And the lights are also designed well so that it looks more like the photo reference. It looks more natural. It doesn't look dirty. right because the lights and the darks are nicely separated.

And that's not what's happening here. The lights and darks are not nicely separated, they're all mixed the lights go into the darks and the darks come into the lights. Okay, so that's number one, how to fix it as separate your lights and darks and we'll get into that as we go forward. So let's look at number two, sacrificing the whole for the parts. Noticing and drawing too many value contrast too many details. So again, we have the photo reference on the left.

And then we've got in the middle here. A drawing that just has it looks spotty, you might say it's spotty. That means there's there's lights and darks spotted all around. Right, and there's too many contrasts. And that's a kind of a distraction for the, for the viewer because they can't really see your beautiful design, they can't really see the picture because they're looking at the trees instead of the forest, if you will. So these dark accents all over the place.

Right? The light accents, there's too many lights, where it could be a lot more calm down, you could say you want to calm the values down. Meaning you don't want a range all over the place. So I can I think you can see how this looks. It looks noisy, spotty, and so on. And that's because They're drawing too many value contrasts.

Okay, we want less contrast and more harmony. So here we have the darks, basically, in their family, right. And so we kind of want to unify the darks and connect them wherever we can, so that they're nicely designed. Okay, there's the darks up here, too. Right? And then the lights have their pattern that's also considered and designed.

And so that could be you know, all this stuff, all the other stuff next to the darks. It has its pattern. And they're really, if you can think of it like light and dark puzzle pieces. The light puzzle piece and the dark puzzle pieces and they're very clear. It's very clear and simplified. It's simple.

So, not everything is being painted all at once. The simplification has visual impact on the viewer because the most simple statement is usually the best. I hope that's clear. Let's move on, it'll get more clear as we go. So we need to talk about value if we're going to talk about squinting and comparing because the problem is with value and squinting and comparing is the solution. So we have to understand value first what is value?

Value can be defined is how black, gray or white an area of an object is. So We have a value scale here. This is called the value scale. And it's how black gray or white, an object is pretty simple. The local value of something, let's define that that's the essential value of an object, surface without light or shadow, something like this. It's basically a silhouette, nothing but one flat value to light and shadow visually defined objects.

So it has something to do with light here comes into play, and how light the laws of light and how light behaves. So if you have a flat circle, with a local value that's sort of a middle gray. But you introduce light into the picture, look at that. It goes bump, it pops, it's 3d, and it's because of these light, these changes right in light from a light to the middle. To a little bit darker to a dark, those changes and I'm going to use Delta as change equal the changes in value, let's say equal a change in form. All right, so let's continue and we'll get clarify that more.

Here's some more examples when basically interpret the volume of objects based on the light that reflects from them. And we all know this. So we basically have some flat local value, not much definition there, but we shine some direct light on them, their form is revealed. So light reveals form because it shows the breakaway of the planes. It shows the plane changes and the darks and lights. So the Big Idea different value equals a different plane, try to remember that, or a change.

Remember, delta means change. Change in value equals a change in form. And that's just how we see form how we see depth in the real world. Our eye gets its cues about what is 3d, what has formed by the change in value. Okay? So that's our little formula, a change in value equals a change in form, or different value equals a different plane.

Different way to say it, same idea. All right, so let's look at value a little bit more here. Here's our value scale at the bottom here, and it's one continuous tone. There's a lot of values in the world. And we don't need all those values. It's hard to draw when you're trying to draw every value in the universe, right.

So we We don't need that we want to simplify things. And let's do that. Let's simplify it with 10 steps of values from light to dark. Okay, that's better. But let's try and get it even more honed in so it's easier for us, let's take it down to five values, that's even better to values. This could be the most simple, obviously, it is the most simple.

We've gone from millions of values to 10 values to five values down to two, I'd say that's a simplification for sure. How this works is when you squint down, the value range is simplified. The details go away. All those little myriad of values merge into either the family of lights and the family of darks, either one of those. So let's look at an example on a human head. Here's the full value range.

That's kind of too complicated. We want to make it simple. What do we do? We squint and compare. If I do a heavy squint, my eyes are almost closed. I can get to here.

So we go from here, heavy squint to here. Notice what it does it, it really graph at izes the thing so you see the very graphic break up into the family of darks family of lights, nothing in between. That's good. If we open our eyes just a little bit, a little bit less of a squint, we can get three values. So we have all the shadows unified into one value. And then in the lights we have two steps.

Right? We have one step here, two steps here. Those are all in the family of lights. The light family, three values. Let's go Open up our eyes just a little bit more. And we get this introduced another value in the darks.

So these are the reflected light here. reflected light, bounce light, ambient light. They're lighting up some planes showing some plane changes in the family of darks. So now we've got four values. We have the family of lights, of lights. We have the family darks.

We have a light value. We have a dark value. Let's just pretend this is dark. I can probably change that to black. Okay. Here's dark Okay, that's better.

And then we have two values of equal steps in between. This is white, and then this is a little less white. And this is a little less way. So let's go back to black again, we can make this a little bit darker. And I'll cover this again. But the idea is to have a black, white, and then to intermediate values have equal jumps in between.

And so we get to this for value. This is really important. This is what you want to shoot for when you squint and compare. squint because it makes all the contrast Well, it makes all the details go away, and brings up the contrast of values in a way that simplifies it. And then you compare to see is this shape here is this value right here? lighter or darker than this value?

And you just compare this is lighter than this, right? This right here. change back to why this is darker than this. You're just comparing, right? And the more you do it, the better you get at this kind of comparison. So the squinting and the comparing.

They both go together. hand in glove. Is this lighter than this? That's the question you asked yourself. All you're asking is it later Then the thing next to it or darker? That's the question you ask you squint.

And you just ask these questions very simple. But a lot of people don't know this. And they're not trained to do it. And so they suffer from those problems that we discussed earlier. So it's four values, a light, dark, two steps of equal jumps in between, and it gets you this, right, and this is the star right here. From here, you can go ahead and finish this thing out, render it, do whatever you want to do, because it's solid, totally it has total structure to it.

Or you could hand it off to someone else because your idea is so clear. That, you know, anyone could finish it off because they know what you're trying to say. Okay, so that's value. And that's squinting and comparing. Practice this idea with objects around you in life to start squinting down and get used to what that feels like. And then what you're actually seeing through your eyes, see if you can separate out the details and kind of separate out the lights from the darks.

You need a good light source to do that. And that's why we're going to talk about lights. But yeah, go ahead and start squinting at things. And if people look at you funny, just say, Hey, I'm practicing my craft. We'll do more later on value. But that's it in a nutshell.

So let's go ahead and talk a little bit about light. And then I'll do a demo

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