Am I Blue? Value Study How To

Papillon Value Study
Papillon Value Study

I’ve come up with a fun method to figure out lights and darks.  Take a clear piece of plastic – acetate, duralar, I’m using a clear bag, and place it on top of a black and white reference photo.  Then using 4 shades of gray markers, color on the plastic. Start with the darkest areas, color those dark gray.  Then the medium grays, light grays, and very light.  Pull out the reference photo and you get a value study!  It will show you how the lights and darks alone will create a 3-D picture.




Here’s the Papillon based on Jordan Fieldman’s photo at PaintMyPhoto.

Blue Papillon with background
Blue Papillon with background

Then I decided to use different colors to paint him/her.  I used Indigo for the darkest, LV2 (dark lavender) for the mid-darks and purple twilight for the mid-lights.








It was really fun and quick.  Here it is with a background.

Labradoodle portrait based on Sandy Scott's image at PMP
Labradoodle portrait based on Sandy Scott’s image at PMP




I also did the value study with warm browns for a Labradoodle. It’s a great way to get to know your reference photo.

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4 responses on "Am I Blue? Value Study How To"

  1. Thanks, Barbara. I”m always trying to find new ways to teach and simplify.

  2. You are so clever – thank you for making the left – brain tasks so simple for us !!

  3. Sue, so glad you like this new method. We all look forward to you returning to join us. The Plein Air event sounds wonderful. May your mojo return. Thanks again for the compliments. All of the students have been wonderful and engaged and supportive of each other.

  4. My pup. I may try to do him after I take this next class! I’m getting excited!


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