Monday, September 16, 2013


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.  


  1. Neat! How do you use this card with shades of grey for color ranges? I'm interested to read more!

    1. I thought I had explained, but I guess not clearly enough. Place the finder over the color area in question...squint as you are looking until all color becomes gray...then you can compare the gray of the color with the gray of the finder.