Monday, July 24, 2017

Bob Davies on Color vs Value

There's a grand article over at Art Tutor on substituting colors that you may not have on your palette. It's somewhat long, but for me the real interesting bit doesn't happen until you reach this section:

Good Tonal Value is More Important Than Good Colour Choices

This is the crux of painting with colors. I think this is also why duotone palettes are great to work with—you learn rapidly how much value matters in terms of getting your audience to parse what your art represents.

Below are a rendition of a sugar packet holder and creamer done twice, once on the left with color accurate to the original reference, and once on the right with color highly different from the original reference. I also included for comparison their value-only, grayscale versions beneath. There's a very palpable difference between the two, even though both are muted in their color palette.

Ava Jarvis is an ink and watercolor artist with a portfolio site at If you found this post useful, consider a one-time tip or supporting Ava on Patreon.