The Most Important Thing I know About Painting

How to Simplify Tonal Values

In this video, I share one of the most important lessons I have learned, that has transformed my work, enabling me be to paint with a much greater degree of Realism. How to simplify tonal values.

You often hear representational artists talk about the need to simplify their subjects. For Mass Drawing, working on the larger areas of your subject before the small, it is essential. But how do you actually do it? Reducing all the complicated surface appearance into a few simple shapes is a lot easier said than done.

The key to it is understanding how tonal values work, the degrees of light and shadow between white and black that describe an object’s 3D shape. When we examine an object, we see a lot of variety tone. In fact, the more we look the more we see. However, if we try to record all these subtle changes in value, we will almost always fail to produce something that looks 3D. In order to express form and create a truly lifelike representation of what we see, we only need a few essential values. Watch the video to find out more.

How to Simplify Tonal Values