Conscious Learning: The Value Block-In

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All right, I wanted to introduce to you this awesome active learning exercise. It's the value block in. So you're going to be concentrating on value, and it's going to increase your painting and rendering speed by up to 10 times is awesome. Right? So it's an amazing, amazing exercise. And basically, you won't be using any lines, no lines, but just value.

Big bold strokes. Okay, and so, to get started, I've got my reference here, okay. Right. So you're going to find some reference and put it in this left panel. You can put it in the right panel too, but I prefer to be in the left panel. And I'm going to block this in just by kind of a point to point method.

You know, I can find where her nose is by drawing The line kind of a guideline over here to start and then I'm going to find the widest point on her head, maybe over here. Okay, and then the tallest point vertically starts here and then goes to her chin, which is here. Right? So I'm drawing these general kind of guidelines, right? It's just going to help me get this thing on the page in a really blocky kind of low resolution, very low resolution way. So let's start with the real progress here.

So no lines, right but I'm going to go ahead and find those measurements. And you can do this with charcoal with brush. So this is a really good learning to start. like learning before you start painting, right, so I'm looking for average angles like that angle of the nose to the chin, just kind of get that in. Okay, there's a line from her chin to the back of the hair. That's the average angle, right, I just want to block that in.

Just nice and easy. If things are wrong, I can quickly fix them at this point. Right and I'm going to jump into laying down the values. Once I get this thing, just a little bit plotted in so I'm gonna lay down kind of an a gray, a middle gray, and um, you can see I'm working on gray. So this is the idea of painting out of the gray. And you've already got your middle gray on the paper base.

And then you're going to paint out of that meaning you're going to put on your darks and then put on your lights. And this helps you control the whole painting because you can control your values that way as if they're emerging from the fog emerging off the paper just like in the Lightroom if you've ever been developing film so once I got this I have the average angle of the head, you know the attitude, the neck, the basic heights and widths. I'm going to go ahead and take the next steps on going from general to specific and I'm just gonna look at that silhouette and try to get that a little more accurate where the where the nose is. upper lip, lower lip and chin just like that. It's like I'm 30 feet away at the beginning and now I kind of stepped in a little bit closer, I'm 15 feet away, I can see a little bit, a little bit more.

So now I'm going to go ahead and put in the darks a little bit, I'm not going to go to black cuz then I'm going to use up my black accent. So I'm just going to go a little bit darker and put in the biggest dark puzzle piece. I can buy it. Right, just lock it in. It's like a flat shape. And I'm going to squint and compare.

Compare one thing to another and ask is that the same darkness or is it a little bit lighter, a little bit darker? And just put down what I see. I'm not going to paint what I don't See in a paint way, what I do see that makes sense. So this whole back part of her head, the neck and shoulders, if I squint down, those are all just one value. So that really simplifies things and makes that a really direct kind of impact on the page impact on the viewer. Simple, direct shadow under the chin goes into the barrel of the mouth.

And now I'm going to go and I see that eye socket. So I'm going to put that in and then it connects to a shadow on the temple. I'll go ahead and connect them. If I squint down, this is just like a kind of a big triangle shape right there, close to the bridge of the nose. And I can go ahead and decrease the size of my brush because I'm getting to those smaller facets. Now, for now, I'm jumping in just a little bit before I was staying out right, was 30 feet away and then 15 feet away and now you know, maybe 10 feet away, forcing myself to squint and see the basic dark puzzle pieces.

Right now I'm chasing the darks. You might say I'm a dark chaser right here. We find this get that upper lip and then The average angle, the lip thickness, just spacing and placing the elements. You can get really far really fast with this. And you know, they'll take maybe half an hour to do this. Okay?

And you're always refining, always fixing. Because we're not machines, we're not perfect, but we're just spacing and placing right. Now I can, I can measure from the bottom of this eye socket to the top of the side plane of the cheek work turns away from the light and I can see that distance in there now. I prefer painting this way myself as I like tone rather than than line. Okay, let's refine the outside. So I'm going to go ahead and use the negative shapes just to the stuff I'm not interested in painting I can use those shapes to to find and refine the positive shapes or the thing that I want to draw by painting around it.

Right cleaning up that edge. We're gonna look at how the dominant shape of the upper lip and that inferior positioning of the lower lip that comes out of the upper left There we go starting to get there. And then the chin, right, so we use all the shapes, we use the dark shapes, the light shapes. We squint and compare. Okay, so now I'm just going to step back, check it out. Looks pretty good.

And now what I can do is you know, go for the lights. So let's try and go for the lights now. Just kind of flatten it out. I don't want Noisy, noisy stuff. I want nice flat shapes from my dark puzzle pieces. So I can see if my design is clear.

My blueprint, my my lay and my foundation is good. Okay, it's not good. Now. It's not going to get any better. So, I should fix it now because I don't want to build on something that's, you know, faulty. It's like making a cake with a, just a poor recipe.

And that cake, you put the frosting on it but the frosting, it's not going to do anything if the cake foundation is bad, it's gonna taste terrible, right. Alright, so let's put on the lights. So I'm going to go ahead and just put on the light puzzle pieces that interlock with the dark puzzle pieces. I'll leave a space in between the light in the dark and I'll blend those later. But these are lights and I'll use a you know the biggest brush that I can just go around and squint and compare and say, on that forehead, in between the eyes, that's light bridge of the nose that's light. Right the ball the nose, that's like, all that's light.

And I'm just gonna, I'm gonna be bold with it. I'm just gonna laid strokes and in this way you get when you do that you start to get confidence. And when you gain confidence, it's the best feeling because you know that you're going to make mistakes, but you can, you know, that you're going to be accurate to sometimes so you're, you're freer to make those kind of bold strokes that you intend to make, and it's fun. Right, so there's that cheek, it's in the light, and then it transitions into a middle. So it's in the light, middle, dark. Right, it's light here, middle, gray here and then dark.

So that transition, I can just put the lights on. I've already got my darks and I can transition from light to dark as my next step. Okay, so we're going around, I just want to stay focus going around the nose here, front plane and the cheek. Okay, there's a little light here just under the nose, but I'm going to go with the big stuff first. So right on the chin, their front plane to the chin. You know who taught me this was john watt kiss.

When I was a student, john watt kiss, I don't know if you know who he is, but unfortunately, he died. He died rather young but he was. He designed the Tarzan character for the animated Tarzan film for Disney. And he was great at anatomy, great illustration. And so he came to visit at my school one time, and he looked at my work. And he taught me this painting out of the gray concept.

And for why I didn't really understand, like what he meant, you know, it was cool. And he did this thing right in front of me. And I was like, I don't get it. But as I thought about it, it made sense. And so I hope that this can make sense for you too. Because it's really helped my simplify my workflow and it increased my painting.

Time, right, it cut Well, it didn't increase it, it cut down, I think by increasing my speed. Okay, so let's get this going here on the neck. That's in the light going to put it in like a pro. Right and you'll get used to this, your strokes will get better. They'll get more confident. And they're just stocks strokes that you make all the time kind of like a tennis player who's just doing forehands and backhands and overhand that's all they do, they just get really good at doing it.

It's like a Jiu Jitsu practitioner doing moves or an armbar. Right, or choke. They just do the same moves over and over. And then when the scenarios come up, they just do them automatically. And that's what that's basically what professionals do. There's only a limited number of things they do and but they do them at a very high level.

Right. Okay, so there, there we go. We have the light and dark puzzle pieces separated out and now I can go in Basically, I haven't gone black black because like I said, I didn't want to exhaust my black accents. We've gone pretty, pretty white. But let's, let's make those transitions a little bit better here. Right?

Just by working that transition right there, that is the half tone. The half tone is well. Right here is a half tone just before it goes into the dark, right. So in the light, but just before it goes into that core shadow, it gets a little bit darker, right, it's a step darker. And then you go back and forth. Right?

So right here, here's the light. Here's the dark. The halftone just caught the eye. Tea is right in here. This area right here is the base that is the area still in the light that just takes a step goes darker before it goes into the core shadow here. Same thing here, here's the light.

Here's that half tone or half light before it goes into the core shadow right there. Those are your total fundamentals. And you'll get better and better at those. But there's only so many of them really, there's not a lot. If you're just beginning this is going to seem really like a lot but once you get the hang of it, you practice this for two weeks. You can get it absolutely to see how beautiful it is.

Transitions just just blend between the dark and light. And they just did just happen right that's just beautiful. Let me put the dark and a little more smoothly here. Just it's a little too noisy it doesn't doesn't look good on a on a beautiful woman's face. So women have less wrinkles, less lines, less hard edges on their face right there smooth, beautiful translate transitions. Unless you want them to be ugly, scary, which is or something like that.

Then you can put lots of wrinkles and crinkles and edges and stuff that you know usually you'd see. You can say that for the men for the most part, okay. I'm just gonna try Okay, so there we are. We've gone from the general to the specific, right, we worked really big, the big shapes and then we went to the smaller shapes and then the smaller shapes and the next smaller shapes until we got down to the lips and stuff. We haven't painted eyebrows, hairs, nose holes, we just painted shapes. Simple, really simple stuff.

Anybody can do it, you guys can do it. For sure. Right now, I'm just gonna refine this a little bit here. And I'm just I'm looking at my reference. I'm saying okay, where did I Where did I miss it? You know?

Maybe there's something I can make a little bit rounder or a little bit square or a bit more clear. How can I make that description more clear? Let's work this halftone transition area here. I'm using a brush with some texture to it. And right now I'm using the paint. Paint Brush in the mixer brush.

It's a little bit hard to handle so I don't use it that much, but it sure is beautiful when you when it works right when I know what I'm doing. There's that bony landmark right there. humerus. Okay, good. So now I could go into a little bit smaller and catch that piece of the light that's there. Just under the eyebrow right?

Nice. And then a little bit more of the tear duct is there's a little light there. Okay, I can smooth this stuff out. And I can just go ever and ever on refining the smaller and smaller facets, right to to realize this thing until it just looks, you know, beautiful or to my heart's content or to my vision that I'm trying to put across. Right anything else we can just refine this just a bit. So far so much fun is now I can go ahead and Crispin up this shadow right getting a little bit more accurate it.

Okay, and then what can I do here, just want to squint and compare and take a second. Always just take a second and look at what you're doing and just make sure you're not going completely off track, right. Turn that orbital bone under just a little bit with the eye socket. turns in there. Okay, and then what I can do, I'll just do one more step. And that could be we can take the hair and we'll just go one step darker.

I'll just do this pretty quick. Won't go up not going all the way black because I'm going to save that for my black accents but I'll just go a little bit darker and got basically 1233 values and I'm introducing a fourth value now. Go ahead and use a big fat brush for this part which is fun, fun Fun. somewhere like this is in here. And I come back, squint and compare. And then I can see there's some of course light breaking into the shape into this Dark shape area so I can you know I can put some of that stuff in.

I'll just do it kind of real quick here sweating compare so you just see I haven't drawn any real hair yet. Right? It's just really impressions of things first. I've got I see that one. Let's go back to regular brush tool. I can see that one edge of hair that layers over, breaks into that dark shadow and there's there's a nice dark sort of edgy bit right there right there.

See that that holds up when I squint down his paint that the rest just fades away. So I'm not gonna bother with painting the individual hairs too much, right, just the impression of it. It's all we need. Can this come over here? You know, one or two hairs here and there. The rest is plains and values.

Okay. We're doing good. Back here. It's just all dark, like refined find. Next, a little bit taller, a little bit wider, and then it goes. thinner.

Something like that. There's refinements on the hairstyle here. Just going just going quick, having a good time. Base edge right there top. Okay. I just want to make sure I can use this lines to this guides, just drawing straight lines to see where they connect the top part of this hairstyle connects with the back of her neck.

So I can do that on mine and I find that my hairstyle back forehead didn't come out far enough. Right so there's always opportunity to correct And you should always correct if you didn't catch it at the beginning. You know, catch it. Catch it later, right? Never too late, but sooner is better, right? Sooner is definitely better.

Saves time that way. What else do we have here? Now let's get right in here and bring this thing a little bit more home. So when I look I squint and compare. I look at her eyes, right? There's a little bit of light in the sclera of her I was gonna bring this down, get the value and put it in there.

Okay, just a reflection on her sclera is a little bit lighter or some ambient bounce light The top of the orbital bone. And then I'm going to go ahead and use my, my dark accents pretty soon here. And I'm going to create a focal point. And that's one thing you need for your portraits for any any painting for that matter, you need a focal point. If you don't have a payoff, a center of interest where the audience can, you know, have their aha moment or see the the beauty of the thing that you're you're painting or the message that you're trying to put across, then your painting probably needs a little more work it needs. It'd be like a novel without a climax, or a movie that was just rambling and rambling it in Never had a climax never had a scene that brought the whole thing together.

So you need that in story and you need that in your portrait. For sure, because this portrait is just like a story and you have the power to direct people just like the movie director, direct them around your painting. So now I'm going to use my black accent let's say it's, let's say it's black here. I'm going to put my opacity up, you know to go to black, because that's where I want your eye to go and the eye goes to the areas of greatest contrast. So let's say you know, the eyes are probably the best place to do that because we tend to look at people's look at people's eyes. Really the windows of the soul, right?

So Makes sense that we put the contrast there. And I'm trying to again, I'm still staying really general not painting a bunch of eyelashes like this is still getting the impression bringing this eyebrow over a little bit. Keep it going good. And then if I really kind of open my eyes a little bit, I see her nostril. So I've already painted the plane, you know the top plane of her nose, and I painted that plane change right there. I didn't paint the nose hole, but it's a good setup.

It's got me set up now that I can paint that nose home there. I don't want to go too dark, right? Because then you're going to look in there and I don't want you focusing on her nose. I want you focusing on her eyes. Okay, so it's just We are says enough, you know, it's not the, the main character in this play, right? The main character in this story is the eyes.

I'm drawing everything like, like their character in a play or novel. Okay, we're doing good. Let me go to the mouth, because it's also a place where you have an opportunity to just push in some black accents here. And again, there's the standard moves that I make. And you'll find that you start to make these moves and they're very efficient and they're quick and they work for you. But it takes some time to figure him out.

But you will, just like I did. Okay, let's go back, see if you know how it's going. So okay, right, it could be better. Like you can just fix and fix and fix things like that chin a little bit to me. And the way that you spot these errors, is you make it really small. And you look at the silhouette and the shapes and the proportions and see if they're right.

If you're too close up and you get hung up on the details, you get stuck there and you can't see you know, the gross errors That you're making. And if you're painting or you're drawing right on a canvas, just get up and walk away and get some perspective on it. And that's the way that you correct errors. Let's see here, come back and forth. Okay, let's say I'm loving it. I think it's wonderful.

The final thing that I would do fixing that back in that neck, okay, the final thing I would do, it's hard to stop. I just love to keep going. is I would do kind of a edge assessment. Okay, and I would go around I would squint and I would compare edges. And I would say Where do I lose the edge and where do I find the edge? Like I feel like right here.

The Edge gets lost because of that. The wispy hair here, right there. So just going to lose that edge. A little bit. Right? anywhere else.

Maybe here. It gets a little fuzzy there, right? good opportunity because life's like that. It's not everything is hard. Strict You know, harsh edges. There's some stuff that's just lost.

Right there. A little bit lost looking. The paintbrush, paint mixer tools heart control here. Little bit about style under there. squint down you'll find you Might not be at home person, but you'll find great benefit to this. You'll find a use for it.

You might even get used to it and start and start loving it. It is quite it's a little, you know, it feels risky at first but it's, you know, like you're going off the rails but once you start doing it going off the rails is kind of fun. But then when you learn to control, that's where the real fun totally is. I'm telling you see, see how that works. Okay, so in pretty short order. We got an excellent block in, right.

We didn't get lost on details. We didn't paint barely any hair right here in there, you can just throw in some, some accents for that. We painted shapes, values and edges. And that was it. Okay, so then you would take some reference and put it down here, and then you would do your drawing here. Right and probably you can take about, you know, half an hour to do it, it might take you one hour, but you'll get faster, right?

And that time will go down to half an hour as you do it. And so that is the active learning value block in I'm sure it's gonna make a dent in your in your drawing and painting time. And it's going to give you a great tool in your tool belt. All right. Okay, we'll see you in the next video.

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