Simplifying the Values

After yesterday’s influence from amazing compositions I started incorporating what I learned right away by simplifying the values into three tones.

All of my drawing on Chadwick Boseman today was carefully considered. I couldn’t just draw exactly what I saw and pick for an unlimited range of value. If the section I was working on wasn’t the darkest value or the lightest value then I made it the middle value.

I love doing this because it really showed me how little is needed to still communicate the shapes necessary. I’ve lost most of the detail in the face and all of it was superfluous. But, if I feel later on that I need more detail in an area I can always work deeper into it.

I’ve been drawing and painting for years and constantly get caught in the surface details. I forget about the importance of simplification. If the drawing doesn’t work in it’s most simplistic form, then it’s not going to work no matter how much detail you add to the surface.

From now on I think I’m going to have a similar process for all other Fandom Fitness drawings. Here is the process.

  1. Have an idea/motive. Something to communicate.
  2. Build the composition first either in Photoshop or small thumbnail drawings.
  3. Begin the drawing with focus on line only focusing on placement and proportion.
  4. Study the form though contour lines and simple planes to get a complete understanding of how it fills the space.
  5. Use the lines and form study to apply value using only 3-5 tones.
  6. Break those tones into smaller details on when necessary and only if it fits my original motive.
  7. Sell the drawing for a million dollars and retire rich. šŸ˜‰
Black Panther Drawing in Charcoal

Previous Black Panther Drawing Posts


The normal 15 minute warm-up in graphite.


Long Drapery Study

I actually started simplifying the values with my long drapery study first this morning. I’ve had lots of trouble with these drapery exercises from The Natural Way to Draw but today I was determined to stop seeing all the details and just simplify, simplify, simplify.

This drawing is going to take me at least three sessions.

Daily Composition and Sketch

After sketching a tape dispenser I’m continuing to draw from some amazing compositions and study as much as I can.

My composition study was from this spectacular drawing by Bernie Wrightson which is part of the Frankenstein book he illustrated.

The second was also from Bernie Wrightson. Look at how the drapery just pierces this guy in the back! So amazing!

daily composition and sketch

I will suggest, that if you want to study the composition of a piece without getting stuck on the details look at them in thumbnail form. I pick these compositions out from thumbnail views in their folder.

What went well, what was awesome! Celebrate It!

Some laser focus today after a great night of sleep and I’m super excited to continue simplifying the values on the black panther drawing.

What needs work? What did you learn?

Lots of distractions later today so my deep work wasn’t as deep as I would like.

How am I going to Optimize moving forward?

I’ve always had trouble with my days that have split sessions in the morning and evening. I’ll have to recognize that and make sure that I plan for it again. And stop snacking!!

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