When you are using reference photos or even just a greyscale sketch, I find it helps to use a tonal scale to check the darkness or lightness of the colour before putting brush to canvas.
A tonal scale is the graduation of greys from white to black or lightest to darkest using 9 values.
|Free Greyscale Template|
Note: This image only is copyright free . All other images retain copyright.
|Here is the Greyscale template printed. The holes were cut first and then laminated.|
Left: Using the greyscale here to check what tonal value the rock shadow is. In real life it looks like it could be at the 8 or 9 value.
Right: Using the greyscale to check what tonal value the rock highlight is. In real life it could be at the mid range point. About a 5.
- Use the greyscale on the palette when mixing paint. Remember, a colour's value or intensity can be altered by what other colour is surrounding it. So what seems light a very bright colour on your palette, may actually be more dull then you think what you put it next to a mid tone value colour. That is why a greyscale is great for checking.
- Also, use your eyes and quint. Blurring the image helps to see the masses of shape and their tone
- I find looking at the painting through the digital camera screen really helps to 'see' too. Because you are seeing the painting differently.