How Do I Make My Drawings Look Realistic?

Jan 24, 2023
How do I make my drawings look realistic

That's the million-dollar question I get all the time! 

Hello Fellow Artists! 🎨

Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I answer this question because the answer solves many other challenges in the artwork as well. Which means I'm always repeating the same word or phrase over and over. Sorry, students!  

If you've been to one of my Zoom demonstrations, you for sure would know the answer. (I wish I really had a million dollars to give to my students!)

Okay, so what is the answer you ask? Drumroll please...VALUES!

What is it I say all the time?

👉 Make your darks dark enough, and your lights light enough. Match to your value finder. (above) A must for your toolbox! 


Okay, so what exactly are values? 

 Values refer to the relative lightness or darkness of a color, and by manipulating these values, an artist can create the illusion of light and shadow. 🔵

In art, color values play a crucial role in creating the illusion of depth and dimension on a flat surface. 

The lights and darks in your drawing or painting create the illusion of form and depth, making it look more realistic.

Darker values recede while lighter values bring forward.

Values also create a sense of mood or atmosphere in a painting. 

For example, darker values can create a sense of mystery or drama, while lighter values create a sense of calm or serenity.

In addition to these effects, color values can create a sense of movement or direction in a painting. 

For example, by gradually transitioning from light to dark values in a specific direction, an artist can create the illusion of movement or lead the viewer's eye through the composition.

The Master of values, Leonardo da Vinci, The Mona Lisa

Color values play a critical role in the overall impact and effectiveness of a drawing or painting. Understanding how to use and manipulate values is an essential skill for any artist.

So here's to values, my friend! You'll always see me practicing values and, for sure, teaching them! 🎨

Happy drawing, fellow artists! ✍️

Molly 🌻

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about drawing and colored pencils, visit my website for more info about my Academy!

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