Landscape Watercolor Painting – Value Sketch

Watercolor Painting Blog - Value Sketch

I want to talk about linear sketch and value sketch in watercolor painting.  On the image above, the top one is a pencil sketch called a linear sketch or linear plan.  I have done  this on a relative small piece of watercolor paper about 3.25 x 6.5 inches.  The value sketch or value plan is done next after the linear sketch.  It places the value in the painting before the color is being applied.  I have done this using pencil but it can also be done using a brush where one color, usually black or sepia is being applied.  Using the pencil, I can have the whole painting broken down into three different values.  The first one is the lightest value which are areas that are void of any pencil marks on the watercolor paper.  The second value is middle grey which is represtented by hatches of the pencil in one direction.  The third one is dark value and is represented by cross hatch of the pencil on the paper.  All the other values during painting should fall in between these three.  Once I established the values, I know the lightest and the darkest areas in the watercolor painting before I even have paint on the paper.  Another important thing about doing the value sketch is knowing what the value is next to each object.   Value sketch is a good exercise to do before we paint the big painting and I would do it even before the linear sketch plan is being transfer to the final watercolor paper.  Two or more value sketch is important to know and experiement the different tonal values befeore I paint.

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