Good Reads: Value Studies

Every once in a while I’ll pull an art book off my shelf and re-read it. Last week I flipped through the early chapters of Painting What (You Want) to See by Charles Reid.


Like all good books, re-reading it always bring back something new. I’ve never actually worked through the early exercises of this book, so I decided to do them last week, using old photo references.

The really great thing about vintage photos is that the values are simplified already, so they’re perfect for an exercise where you’re practicing seeing big shapes. (Of course, I had to choose a subject where there’s also a whole lot of detail that overlays those shapes, because I enjoy that bit too.)



Even when I’m doing little studies, I like to use imagery that I am interested in. These old images of Indian Maharajas and Maharanis were the perfect subject for me.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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7 Responses to Good Reads: Value Studies

  1. bmweeks says:

    Thank you for reminding me one of my favorite watercolor books. I haven’t looked at it in a long time, but today’s the day!


  2. Lynn says:

    I love how for the monochrome work it appears you actually used both grays and sepias for your values. Clever girl!


  3. Mick Canning says:

    I found this particularly interesting as I decided this morning I would work up some pencil sketches from some old photographs. Now I’ll definitely have to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stu-ttg-art says:

    So, Suhita, I can’t go out and buy more books, because I’ve promised myself only 5 this year. But I get the impression you’re sellling the intriguing idea that tone studies with a limited range of tones are a good exercise. Only a few days ago I watched Matt Rota doing the same in his Craftsy protrait class (which reminds me, I need to continue studying your class too). So how often and how intense would you suggest I do tonal studies? I’m thinking like 3 times a week, or is that obsessive? Thanks in advance, your fellow blogger, Stuart


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