Alright, I'm going to teach you a couple of principles and a workflow that's going to massively speed up your work process, and lessen the amount of work you have to do. I call it the shape value, graphic workflow. And this is going to free you from the constraints of copying. And being limited to photos that you find on Google and Pinterest, all those references, there'll be very valuable, but they'll be even more valuable because you'll be able to create your own imagery and use that stuff as source files. So let me show you what I mean. Now you're going to need basically two tools to make a drawing or painting work, their shape, and value.
So you're going to be thinking in terms of silhouettes. The shape contains the value and the value informs the shape. So the information that you put inside of a silhouette is going to tell us what it is. Now the simple but characteristic silhouettes of what you see is what you're really shooting for. So in the very simple example, in the top you can see the left silhouette is a characteristic but simple shape of a sphere. And how we come back in and massing the value and create a tonal structure says that even more that this is a sphere, and it turns away from the light slowly so there's no hard edges, etc.
You're basically massing in the shapes of value in color, and then coming back in and imposing the drawing on it. Just think in terms of broad masses that start out flat and graphic. And then start to become forms as you introduce tonal variation within got it. Good. So this really has more to do with design than drawing. And this is a separate issue that people don't think about.
The design is just as much a part of it as the drawing is. And if you can design and draw, or do your designing upfront, and then do your detail finishing text, your work afterwards, you get a much better result in my opinion, and a much smoother workflow as a result. So we think in terms of a three value graphic system, keeping it very simple, dark, middle, and light, and they're all very flat at the beginning. So you've got basically four options when you're considering a portrait or a figure drawing. You've got a figure against a wall. We could start there.
That's our most simplest statement. Well, we could have a light figure on a dark background. Or the figure is dark in the background is light with the background is middle in the figure is full value or the figure is middle and the background is light and dark, or full value in other words. Alright, so those are your four options. Light figure on a dark background, so you've got light on dark. You've got a dark figure on a light background.
You've got a full value figure on a middle background, it's middle value. So full value, middle value, and then you've got a middle value, figure on a full value background. So I'm just using MV for middle value and f v for full value. Now before you start rendering anything, you can do two more graphic steps to fine tune your image. And let's go over those. The first one is gradations.
And the second one is edges. So let's look at the first one gradations. Right, let's start with a middle value figure. Just breaking away from the white background. All right, what if I took a great day And gradated it from middle dark to light from the bottom. What happens, you start to notice the head first.
So starting to direct your attention here. And that's because the gradation at the bottom is similar to value that the body is. And so you don't notice it first, whereas the contrast is there in the head. And what if I took a gradation and great ated from the head down to the body, dark to middle. Now what you see the head even more powerfully than before, because the eye goes to the area of greatest contrast, contrast of value contrast edge, and so that head comes out some fine tuning it, you still have a figure breaking away from the background but Now you notice the head first? What if I took it and gradated it from bottom right to top left.
And what happens? You start to notice the left side of the head even more than the right side of the head. So just by adding these gradations fine tuning the image directing your attention to where I want, so I'm wanting to use these things. Now, you want to use these things to advance your story. So use them in service to the narrative that you're trying to tell. Maybe that character has something they want us to see.
Or maybe there's a clue that we need to understand the story or advance in the game. You're playing games. Okay, so what did we have first we had character, middle value, breaking away from the background. And then we gradated that character from bottom to top. So we still had the character breaking away from the background, but we noticed the head before we noticed the body and then we took the character Then we gradated from the top of the character's head down into the body, and then we noticed the head even more powerfully than before. Right, and then we just grade ated from bottom right to top left.
And then we got you to look at the left shoulder the left part of the head before you saw the right part of the head. So if there was a window in the background, that might start to compete because they have similar value contrast and edge contrast. The head is coming forward a little bit more than that window. Let's say I wanted to just quiet that window down a little bit. I could just grade eight and soften it up. So now we just pushed back into the background a little bit.
So there's so many possibilities you can gradate from left to right, top to bottom. And before you rendered anything, and I'd really recommend doing this, because it's so powerful. And if you have reference that doesn't look like this, you can go ahead and start to orchestrate your own original tonal structure into it. So did you notice how we use the power of the silhouette and three values, with no detail, no rendering, just flat massing of the value to do all that work for us, when we got that sense of Figure emerging, they're sitting in space, there's depth in the pitcher plane. And yet that silhouette tells us it's a person. So it's so powerful.
It's so exciting. I love it. Okay, let's move on to the edges. I'm going to make this one a middle value background and a full value figure. I want to make it a design problem before I make it a rendering problem. Because if you can control the silhouette given you and the gradations make it a silhouette that is that separates out instead of a detailed rendering that makes it separate.
The rendering is optional, you can do it, but you don't have to do it. If I want you to notice something, one area more than another area. I'll increase the contrast. And if you render everything and show All at once you do run the risk of someone getting bored or overwhelmed. Whereas if you reveal things over time, you can keep someone there longer. Plus, if everything isn't high detail and revealed all at once, and people don't know where to look because everything is loud, so to speak, and competing for your attention.
For example, to hear the air blower if it gets louder and louder, you won't be able to concentrate on what I'm saying because we'll be pulling you away, and you'll be distracted from what I'm saying. But if it would just shut up, then I could talk and your art, what has the starkest separation will be heard first, and the attention will go there. In other words, you can pace your storytelling. Give them the big impact, and then give them the layers of Revelation. Over time, and that really draws people in. So once you have your graphic design and your gradations, you have a choice.
You can start to render everything, or you can deal with edges. This is what Rembrandt and Rubens were total masters of. If you work the edges, things will not only go faster with your workflow, but you'll get the feeling that things are rendered without being rendered. And without having to do all that work. That rendering requires a view. So up to this point in this figure, I put the head and legs into shadow with some gradations into the lit area of the mid back.
So you might see the mid back first. But if I want to knock down the contrast where you don't notice that head so much, I can beef up the background value so that the head value is close to or the same as the background value. I've introduced some full value elements into that light area underneath arm and part where the lower arm touches the hip. And then I'm starting to add the edge work now. So near the shoulder, right, I've beefed up the contrast and the contrast edge so it's a crisp edge and your eye goes there. And you can just play these games over and over the possibilities are infinite really.
If we want to soften up a transition or soften up an edge, I can just take your attention away from an area by softening the contrast of the edge. Or I can beef up areas of contrast or tone them down depending on where I want you to look. So I'm making these changes on the fly as I go kind of still designing and really beefing up the edge, making it really crisp down in that lower right area where the arm wraps around the hips. And that's where you go first. And then you've got maybe a secondary area where the head is against the background. I wanted to break away from the background a little bit Now find that highlight right there, that's gonna make that really establish that as the first read your that mid back and hips.
Because of the contrast value in the contrast of edges, that really crisp edge, and then you'll go to the head where there's kind of descending order of contrasts. The head against the background is not as much value contrast, and the edge isn't as crisp. So here's a simple rule. If I don't want you to see it, I make it the same or similar value to what's around it. If I do want you to see it, I make it a distinctly different value relative to what's around it. And then if I give you that highlight, that's a telltale sign.
But that's the area I want you to look at, it's the most important thing. And everything else will be secondary and importance to that. Then you can go ahead and render to your heart's content, if you want to, but those subtle movements from dark to light, warm to cool, graphic shapes to realistic ones, hard to soft edges. Those things add the subtleties to your posterized design, and that pulls people in. Now, if you render, just remember that if it's a dark area overall, don't let your rendering and your details drag out of it information that doesn't make it fit in the design anymore. In other words, if I just rendered every strand of hair and put highlights on there, then it would become more important than the lower half of the drawing where the hip Where the arm is attached to the hip and there's that crisp edge.
That's where I wanted you to look. Just make sure you're rendering in the light area, it's overall light, make it stay light. If it's middle, put detail in there, but keep it middle value. And if it's dark overall, make it be dark and you'll be good. So to sum up, speed up your workflow and make things solve things on a design level with composition, silhouette, value, and proportion. And let those things do a lot of work for you.
And then you can put your beautiful painting on top, your technical rendering, your finishing your detail, your texture, and you're going to find that you're going to have to work a lot less hard, because you're working smarter, and your images will have more impact. It'll draw people in and that's what you want. Okay, all right. I hope this video was clear and that it helped you and we'll see you in the next video.