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Basic intensities of light versus shadow

Learning from Andrew Loomis' Creative Illustration

Learning the basic intensities of light versus shadow

If you followed my newsletter these past few years you may recall that I frequently post about Andrew Loomis. During his career Loomis was a highly sought after illustrator and his how-to books, revered among artists, has become the standard for art instruction to this day. In his book, "Creative illustration", Loomis goes into detail about the properties of tone. In part two of his book he discusses the four central propertiesof tone. Tone or as it is sometimes called, value tones is the degree of values between white and black- the lightness or darkness of value in relationship to other tonal values. In all that we see and wish to reproduce in painting or drawing, tonal values and our understanding of them, can arguably be the most valuable skill we can acquire. In my next e-newsletter we will go into more detail about the four central properties of tone, but I would like to recommend a black and white, tonal value exercise. In his book "creative illustration", Loomis presents a chart called, "basic intensities of light versus shadow".

In this chart there are six paint swatches showing the different intensities of light and the corresponding shadow in that particular lighting condition. In swatch number two Loomis presents a hazy sunlight condition suggesting that the light and shadow values are not that far apart. If you look at the fourth intensity swatch, or the one in the bottom left-hand corner, called strong artificial light, you will see even stronger contrasts in the shadow and light. My suggestion now is to paint all six of these charts using titanium white and ivory black to get a full understanding of the intensity of light versus shadow. After you complete this exercise I recommend you re-create these charts again using complementary colors. So by taking cadmium orange, ultramarine blue, and titanium white, you'll learn and explore the importance of tonal values and painting. By mixing a small portion of Cad orange and blue you can create a relatively dark value. By adding white in small increments you can probably get six values from dark to light with this mixture. Do this again with green and red, and then one more time using yellow and purple. Nature has a much broader scale from light to dark, something we cannot capture in physical paint, so it is our goal to adjust these values the best we can. Exploring these tonal values in their basic nature using just black and white paint, will help us to achieve a more realistic effect later when adding color to the equation.

Andrew Loomis's book is available free in PDF format at:
or you can purchase it at Amazon:
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis is an incredible value for your money and an art resource you will return to throughout your life as an artist.

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