Value Sketches

More Value Sketches
Value sketches are such a quick and easy way to plan a painting  -  lights, darks. mediums  -  there ya go, all planned out.  Maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm not making it clear enough.  Almost everyone wants to skip the sketches, or make them way too large, or way too detailed.  Someone in class that ended up with a beautiful painting said, "It took me fifteen thumbnail sketches to get that."  Good for her!  That means she could have gone through fifteen failed paintings before she did the one she was happy with.  She stuck with it and planned it out, and the thumbnail sketches really only took a few minutes.

Here's my plan  -  I'm going to hand out paper that has several two-inch squares on it and  felt tipped markers.

I do realize that the process that I find most helpful is not necessarily right for everyone.  However, I do think thumbnail sketches to plan the values and composition are important.  It's one of those things "if you don't know where you're going, you're not going to get there."  My whole life is "I don't know where I'm going" but at least I can control my thumbnail sketches.


Vicki Holdwick said...


Thanks so much for the reminder. I've been told about the value (pun intended) of these sketches more than once, but seem to jump into painting projects without remembering to use them in the planning stages.

I am going to dedicate a sketchbook to thumbnail sketches by subdividing the pages into smaller squares.

Love your work and wish I was a little closer to Petoskey (I was born there, don't you know). You are about 4 hours north of me.


Catherine said...

Vicki - I was born and grew up in the Lansing area - looks like you and I kind of flip flopped north and south locations.

I think the value sketches are fun and relaxing. There is no commitment - they are too small to be "serious", but end up being so helpful.

Cynthia Schelzig said...

I swear by value sketches and sketches for card design and sketches of ideas ....I have tons of handmade books FULL of thumbnails and tasty tidbits....I love your quote about where you are going...may I quote you on that one?

Catherine said...

Cynthia - Yes, you may quote me :) I'm sure it's really not an original thought. I find art and real life share a lot of the same reasoning. Art is a metaphor for life and life is a metaphor for art?

By the way, Cynthia - I love your sketchbook watercolor covers!

Suspinz: Dabbler in Many Things said...

A really helpful reminder...thanks! Also, there is yet another blog to follow (Cynthia's), so yet another thank you is due.

Catherine said...

Suspinz - you're welcome:) I do love to give my opinion, and right now my opinion is all about value sketches.

Yes - Cynthia's blog is great!