Hue: Value

The relative value of a color seems to be an easy concept to grasp. However, in practice it can be very difficult to work with.

There are three parts we will be working with in today’s assignment. The first is value derived from mixing black and white together.

Part One: Achromatic Greys

Create a scheme of nine (9) value range changes from black to white. Each value should be painted on a 1.5×1.5″ square “chip.” All colors should be flat with no brushwork and even in color (no streaks).

Process: Paint out a black and a white chip. These are straight out of the tube colors. Then mix a “middle grey,” a 50/50 mix of black and white paint and paint a chip. Once dry, place the three chips together. The middle grey chip should look like it fits in the middle. A trick is to look closely at the edge where the two parent colors meet the mixed color. If that edge looks sharp on both then the mix is a good one. If, as is most likely in the first mix, the edge is blurry or fuzzy then the mix is too close in value to the parent. Once a middle grey is determined mix up the middle grey between it and the black and the white and so on until you reach the nine values.

The second part of the assignment includes the addition of color. A given hue plus white is henceforth referred to as a tint. A hue plus black is a shade. You will be mixing both.

Part Two:

Process: Pick a hue, any hue (not yellow), and paint out a 1.5×1.5″ chip using your good techniques and practices. Match that hue to a value on the value scale you created in Part One. Use your best judgment in matching, think of a black and white photo being taken of the chips. If they truly match they should be the same grey, white will remain white and black will remain black.

Now using various mixtures of black with your chosen hue, mix shades to match the darker values on your Part One Value Scale. Then mix White with your hue to match tints with the lighter values from the Part One Scale. Mix only black or white with your hue, Do not mix a grey with your hue. Repeat this process with another hue with a significant value difference than the first.

Part Three: Chromatic Greys

Mixing a hue and a grey is referred to as making tones of the color. Tones are also created by mixing to compliments together. We are going to combine both methods for a third set of nine values.

Start by mixing your original hue 50/50 with its compliment. Match that color back to your greyscale. Then mix your achromatic greys to create a third set of value scales.

For clarity:

Part One: mixing black and white to create a range of achromatic greys.

Part Two: Mixing a hue plus black and white to create a range of tints and shades.

Part Three: Mixing a chromatic grey (compliment mix) plus an achromatic grey to create a range of tones.


Top: Achromatic and chromatic greys mixed

Middle: Achromatic greys

Bottom: Hue plus black and white (tints and shades)

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