Monday, September 16, 2013
MY VALUE FINDER
I am by choice a very low-tech kind of artist. Perhaps even a dinosauric artist. One of my tools is this Value Finder, created in 1980 by Binney & Smith to use with the Liquitex acrylic range of grays. (On this scale, value 1 would be black, value 10 would be white.) It's printed on a piece of stiff card stock, about 4 x 6. The card itself has yellowed over the years, but that does not reduce its usefulness for me. I lay the card over the area of art that I want to assess. Then, looking through squinted eyes, I move the peepholes over the art until the color showing through the peephole blends in with the color on the card. Presto---I have a value number. Different scales of color value can look slightly different from each other. This doesn't matter. The issue at hand is one of relativity, not absolutes. I use this gadget to help me keep my artwork---the values of all my colors---consistent throughout a book. If the darkest shadows in my key illustration have a value of 3, then I want all of the darkest shadows on every page to have the same value. If my lightest colors in that key illustration have a value of 8, then I want the lightest areas of every page to have that same value. If the costume of my main character is a nice bright red in its middle tones, then I want those middle tones to be of the same value throughout the book, no matter how small or large the character is on a particular page. Consistency from page to page in picture book illustrations is critical---and this little card enables me to achieve that with ease.