Many types of value create a word

art chiaroscuro

To practice the different ways to create value scales, we used the shadowed background of a three-letter word. The positive space (words) is occupied by white letters, while the negative space (the background) is filled in pencil with three different types of value: with the pressure of the pencil, with the cross-hatch, and with the superimposition of random tangles.

To “write” the brief words, we used masking tape, in order to define the spaces that are being shaded. Once finished the value, we gently removed the tape and our white words appear out of nowhere!









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  1. Wow! I love this. Such a simple idea yet so effective.

  2. Lori Sullivan says:

    Terrific idea! What size paper did you use?

  3. What a great intro to various value techniques! What was the weight of the paper?

    • Hi Phillip! The paper is 110g/m or 220gr/m. These are the standard weights of our drawing worksheets. I suggest my students to buy paper 220gr/m because you can use it for every kind of technique. 🙂

  4. Alice Philips says:

    Hi Miriam-
    I tried it today without trying it out at home first and when the students removed the tape the paper ripped. I even used painters tape thinking it would peel off better than masking tape…do you think it was the paper? We used white construction paper. Have you every had that problem?

    • Hi Alice!
      Could be a problem with the paper… but you can ask your students to press the tape on their clothes two, three times, before put it on the paper. In that way you remove a bit of adhesive and the tape is less sticky. Let me know if you’ll be able to do it 🙂

  5. Alice Philips says:

    Thanks! But I experimented and it was the paper! That is the first time that I didn’t try it first…lesson learned! Tomorrow we will try it again with colored pencils and different tape designs and I will teach hot and cool. Your lessons are fabulous!

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