I love your art, and one thing I keep noticing you praising is values. Do you have tips or references on how to improve or how to use values for drawings? Thank you!
The most important thing in my opinion is not only values but edges- you can have a wide range of values and use them all appropriately, but if your edge control (mini tutorial here) isn’t so great then your viewer won’t necessarily find your work to be aesthetically pleasing.
The basic idea of edge control is that you use hard edges to draw the viewer’s eye, and soft edges to direct them away from a certain area–having soft edges will make your hard edges more emphasized, which is why it’s useful to have a combination of the two. To make soft edges, blend two values together as much as is needed. To make hard edges, zoom in a bit (or get closer to your paper) and sort of ‘cut’ a boundary between two values.
If you’re doing your studies and still figuring out how to incorporate values into your pieces, I’d suggest a few things:
• One, physically back away from your picture every once in a while to see if it still reads. For instance, if you find your subject blending into the background where you actually want them to stand out, consider sharpening the edges.
• Two, use a simpler brush (default/without a lot of texture) if you’re working digitally. A lot of artists like to use brushes that mimic traditional media (dry brushes, pencil brushes, painterly stuff like that), but it can be oddly difficult to control values and edges with these brushes. I think the reason is that a beginner artist focuses more on how pleasing the brushes look than on how solid the actual painting is.
• Three, if you’re working in color, find a way to view your pic in black and white every once in a while. It’s really easy to get caught up in color combinations and to forget about the underlying values.