Anatomy ad­vice

Chris Le­gaspi con­cludes his ex­cel­lent se­ries on life draw­ing by ex­plain­ing why value com­po­si­tion is a pow­er­ful tool for cap­tur­ing the viewer’s at­ten­tion

ImagineFX - - Fantasy Illustrator -

Learn about value com­po­si­tion

Value com­po­si­tion draws the eyes to an im­age, be­cause it’s the first read the mind makes. Once I have the viewer’s at­ten­tion, I can use com­po­si­tion tricks to main­tain their gaze.

I be­gin a value com­po­si­tion by lim­it­ing the val­ues I use to two or three. This cre­ates clear shapes and a pow­er­ful, twodi­men­sional graphic read. Then I’ll work with value keys. Th­ese re­fer to the range of val­ues on a value spec­trum. For ex­am­ple, low key uses mostly dark val­ues, and high key is mostly light val­ues. Low key cre­ates a dark and mys­te­ri­ous mood, while high key feels lighter and softer.

My next step is to sim­plify ei­ther the shadow or the light side. If both sides re­ceive equal at­ten­tion, then the paint­ing will feel flat. To draw at­ten­tion to the light side, I’ll sim­plify the shadow by group­ing the darks and ig­nor­ing vari­a­tion in the darks. If they’re needed later then I can al­ways bring out de­tails in the shadow.

Once my shapes and edges have been ren­dered and re­fined, and the paint­ing is nearly com­plete, I’ll add the last touches of de­tail on the fo­cal points of the im­age. I’ll add high­lights or any­thing that adds con­trast at the fo­cal points along with more re­fined edges. Fi­nally, I’ll use de­sign el­e­ments to draw the eye to a par­tic­u­lar fo­cal point and then move the eye around the can­vas.

Chris is keen to share his ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of fig­ure draw­ing and paint­ing. See more of his work and draw­ing ad­vice at www.learn-how­to­draw.com.

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