My new students quite often want to dive into a painting instead of spending time on this crucial step in the painting process called a value study. Before I pick up my brush, I do some sketches – this helps me plan out how I am going to tackle the painting, in fact 85% of my thinking is done in the value study. You will determine how you want to simplify your subject matter, track the flow of your viewer’s eye and solve any compositional problems. Later you will be able to plan which brushes you will use and even color placement. Think of this as your roadmap.
You will need an Ebony Jet pencil to produce deep, rich, darks and a sheet of white paper or a small sketchbook. Here’s what you do:
• Define your space, by drawing where you painting will be
• Establish light direction in your composition
• Simplify composition with geometric shapes if necessary
• Do several sketches changing composition and light source. Find the best solution.
Finally, Keep sketch next to your painting, referring to it often.