The Three-Value Exercise

If you want to create a highly realistic drawing, you'll have to use value. Value, also called tone, is the level of light or dark in a drawing, and a value drawing describes the figure with areas of black, white and gray, and without using any contour lines. Value drawings may use blending, rubbing and erasing to create gradients and perk up the surface, but the three-value exercise is a cooler, reductive approach, which does its job with hard-edged, flat masses of black and white, with one middle gray tone.

This technique can produce handsome drawings, and it is a good point of departure for projects in painting, design and movimaking.