Learn to draw by Tissa Hewavitarane:
Value and modelling
To place the highlights on any object it is important to know the
direction from which principal light comes. Light falls on an object and
runs over the shape. Depending on its intensity it will provide shadows
or highlights of varying luminosity. The valuation depends on the
correct gradation of the tones to achieve a scaled effect of grays on
A valuation is nothing more than a classification of the possible
tones that can be obtained from a colour. If in scale of tones the
differences between one tone and another are made finer until a point is
reached when it is impossible to appreciate the difference, an effect of
modelling is achieved. Starting from the basis of the volume of an
object, it can be painted according to the light that falls on it. It is
fundamental to pay a lot of attention to the images and to the
The process of watercolour painting has a method that must always be
respected: the light colours must always be reserved, the dark colours
outline the highlights and light areas cannot be painted over dark
tones. White is only contained in the colour of the paper and that it is
the darker colours which isolate it and make it stand out. These are
important factors to bear in mind.
Picture one shows a ceramic jug taken as reference. You will notice a
blue colour mixed with yellow ochre being used for the shadow area of
the jug. The background, a pale wash is applied. Wait until the
background is dry to apply the darker tones. The colours must be carried
out in one go, before the colour that has been painted on to the paper
can dry out.
The second picture shows a complete painting of a ceramic jug. The
jug is drawn and painted and the shape of the shadow is also defined so
that the effect of light can be observed more closely.
The background is painted with yellow ochre. The brush is dampened
with clean water, it is drained and then it is run along the edge of the
still fresh brush stroke. The wet brush stroke with the colour has to
follow the shape of the jug. It is dipped in water, drained and run
along the edge of the gradated area which fits the shape perfectly.
It is important to work on heavy grained paper. These effects cannot
be done on thin paper.