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Value Structure – Separating Light from Dark

This video describes for you in detail how I structure my values within a Charcoal drawing. Value Structure in a drawing is a measurement between light values (high key) to dark values (low key). By modulating your those values one can create drama, textural effects and depth of space. The name of the drawing I’m demonstrating on is “Walk Bridge”. My charcoal drawing is for an art show at the San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The exhibit is from November 2021 to January 2022.

These are the materials I used:

Strathmore 400 Series Smooth Surface Paper

General’s PurePowder Charcoal

Winsor Newton (vine) Willow Charcoal Sticks


Kneaded Rubber

I like to start out with my area of focus; in this case the walkway bridge. I begin removing the charcoal with the chamois. I work in this method in this as a way to not “fuss” with detail, much like using a large brush will do. From the bridge, I begin removing charcoal to create a circular composition. This is a classical approach where you can move the eye around the subject. The chamois creates a nice soft edge. Soft edges will produce the illusion of light wrapping around objects. These edges will create transitions (passages) from background to foreground.

I hope you enjoy this video. Feel free to contact me if you have any question.

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