- Lesson Details
In this lesson, instructor Bill Perkins will teach you how to establish a value Matrix within a landscape drawing. You will learn to create two and three value matrices; this will allow you to design a powerful composition in your drawings and expand your ability to simplify values and shapes.
This lesson belongs to the course Beginner’s Guide to Drawing. It is a 12-week course designed to empower new students with a structured approach for learning how to draw. Join instructors Steve Huston, Chris Legaspi, Heather Lenefsky, Bill Perkins, and Mark Westermoe as you learn the fundamentals of perspective, rendering, and composition. After completing this course, you will develop a solid foundation in drawing.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
Transcription not available.
Now, as we talk about landscape and when you get ready to do a landscape, you know,
and you want to go outside and sketch.
If you're going to go outside and sketch or sketch from a photograph,
maybe you have a maybe you can't get outside and you're using a photograph
to work from or you are, going outside and, and drawing or painting,
what do you want to do first before you just sit down and start drawing,
`of course, you're going to look at something, whether it's an image or you
sit down in front of something to draw and you're going to say, well, I like that.
You're going to find something that interests you.
What I'm going to do here is I'm going to do a little cliff with a
house above the ocean in Laguna.
So I'm going to say, okay something of interest, well, this shape and the house
out on the edge with the palm trees, it's a variety of shapes that I like.
And It's, it's a real simple pattern that I want to work with.
And so that's my starting point.
You know, it could be, well, it's my neighbor's house or whatever,
it's not, but if you wanted to do your neighbor's house or if you have
any any attachment to what you're drawing, make sure that you check that.
And what I mean by check that is if you have a personal interest
in something other than the visual design of it, I want you to pause for
a minute before you start drawing.
And I want you to start looking at that image and determining what is it in
that image that is interesting to you.
So this might be a subject.
A subject with something of interest.
I want you to look at an image or draw something that has a visual.
Why do you like it?
Okay, you need to answer this for yourself.
As we begin a landscape drawing, you're going to be starting moving
into, instead of just drawing objects, you're going to start composing your
image and breaking up the scene.
And determining, you know, elements and shapes that are dominant and subordinate.
And so you have to really start with a point of view.
You really have to develop that point of view.
So if you see something interesting, go ahead, stop, pause, look at that.
And then you can start framing it.
And what I mean by framing, you can, you can go like this and look
through, through, through a viewer.
You can go like this and you can compose a horizontal vertical, you know, you
can work with that kind of a thing.
You can do this, either - any way you want, but create a boundary around what
it is you want to draw in particular.
If you're outside, see when you're outside drawing, you can see in 360,
you can see all the way around you.
And that's really hard if you see a house or a cliff in this case
where's the boundary, you know, where's the edge of your frame?
And if you look at something and create the frame like this, or like this, or if
you have a cutout card or something, then or what I like to think of it is two Ls,
because then you're, you're freed up to do either vertical or horizontal or square.
So you have, if you have a couple Ls like this, you know, with a
paperclip, you know, you can actually put these together and create any
kind of rectangle that you want.
You aren't always stuck with the same proportion.
But first and foremost, you need to know why you like it.
What is it that interests you about that?
Now it could be the color.
It could be the, the, the shape of the mountain.
It could be anything that has to do with your visual characteristics, the visual
characteristics of what you're drawing.
That's going to be the important element and that's what you want.
That's what you want to work with.
Okay, you need to define that for yourself.
It can't just be the subject.
You can't just say, well, I like cats.
Here's a cat.
You, you have to find the visual interest and the visual reason for why you're
doing it, then what you need to do.
Is after you find an understand or state the visual interest, then
you're going to break it down into the type of composition you want.
Do you want a vertical composition?
Do you want a horizontal composition?
Where's the subject of your composition?
So in this case, what I'll do is I'll draw a rectangle and I've
just grabbed this one image.
It's a pretty simple image.
And I'm going to go ahead and do a landscape canvas, this horizontal
format's considered a landscape.
And there's a couple things that, that I want to mention as we
begin now, I selected this image.
Because of the way that it's broken up.
And I'm going to use pretty much the, the proportions that are there.
You can see that my actual image goes down about here, but I'm
making the choice to crop that off.
Now, as I lay in my composition, I know that in this case, I'm going
to also crop off a little bit of the side over here so that it puts
my my house more in the picture.
And here's why.
If I drew just what's here, I can see that my cliff side
is going to be something like this,
and this is going to be my, my silhouette.
It's going to be something like this.
And my horizon is going to be back in here somewhere like this.
Okay, what's going to happen.
And with this image, what I'll point out with this image is there's something that
happens when we look at a composition when we first start a composition there's
one thing that I want to point out is, is a lot of times people will talk
about, and you'll, you'll hear this,
maybe you've looked into it.
They might talk about a rule of thirds.
I don't call it a rule.
I'll just say thirds.
And here's why I don't call it a rule is because in this idea
of thirds in a composition,
if we divide this into even thirds, both vertical and horizontal, the
idea here with this, with the idea of thirds is that you have things
that line up on these lines and your image will be more balanced.
For instance, if we had the rocks coming out here like this and the,
the bluff coming up here and then possibly the trees coming up here,
maybe the house here and this over here, you're going to see that all of this,
it looks pretty simple and harmonized.
Now what ends up happening this is, this is a classic approach.
Okay, this doesn't mean that it's a rule.
This is where I want to create the distinction.
This is just a classic case.
Some of the, the Greek architecture, or planning artists, we're looking at
this perfect division of space and the idea of a perfect division of space.
I, I don't think there's a perfect division of space.
Because each story each subject, each image is going to mean that you're going
to balance things in different ways.
You don't necessarily want to create something that's so balanced all the time.
For instance, if you want to create a little bit of tension,
okay, let's just take a look at it through history.
In this period of, of classic architecture, where we have things
grouped in in these, in these thirds or things that make these mathematical
alignments, you will get a certain type of, of harmony in there.
But let's just say that you wanted to create a little bit more tension.
Maybe what you would do is if your thirds were like this.
Maybe, what you would do is create a little bit more tension by
not having them on the thirds, creating a higher line up in here.
Maybe bringing these, the Palm trees off of that a little bit,
bringing this up a little bit higher.
Putting the building off here and down here.
I'll make the bushes a little bit bigger or I'll make the house
a little bit bigger this way.
And then move the, wow.
So I'm not putting anything on these thirds.
Is it balanced?
Does it feel the same as this one?
This one will feel more rigid.
It would feel more harmonized.
It will feel more stable.
This one on the other hand will also have some dynamic quality to it.
Now, when we go just barely off of these thirds or what we would call this
classic approach, if it's barely off,
it can actually create a little bit more tension and tension.
Isn't a bad thing.
It's not always bad.
The type of tension that's bad is the type that you don't design.
They kind of creep up and sometimes tangents as well.
People will look at at tangents and say, never make tangents.
I, my philosophy on landscape imagery an, composition in
general is there are no rules.
There's no rules, but if you understand the consequence of your marks,
That's when you'll start growing.
So be you can be freed up to do just about anything, but you have to be
aware of the consequence of your marks.
If something's tangent that you need to recognize that, and
you can then ask yourself, is that something you want or not?
Let me do another composition that is, this is off thirds.
And I'm going to do another one that is really extreme.
And on this one, I might put the horizon way up here.
And maybe I'll put the trees long coming down here and I'll make this let's see.
Oh, let me try this one more time.
As an example, it might make a clear example.
If this is our horizon out here, let me put the building here.
Way over here at the side.
And then I'm going to make the other, the rest of the building
here, come down here and then
I'll put the trees back behind the house.
Maybe even have one go out of the frame.
And I have this foreground cliff coming down in here.
So now I put, I put even more extreme up here and I'm getting a lot of
The extreme that I go with with some of these compositions, you're going
to find that there's a point where it starts to fall apart, or maybe it's
more exciting, more, maybe more extreme.
I've got this.
Let's see, I did put those close to the thirds, but I'll go ahead and I'll go
ahead and leave that there like that.
Maybe what I'll do is I'll just crop this in to get that off of the thirds.
So this is a little bit off of center.
This is an extreme up at the top of the frame.
This happens down here, but I want to make sure that like this distance
right here and this distance and this distance, and this are all different
in this case, this is the largest.
And then this one, and then this one, and then
So the fact that you have different breakup along these horizontals,
like this, that's going to be important and also your verticals.
We have these strong divisions here.
You want to make sure that you get a difference in those.
Now it may sound like I'm, I'm, I'm getting a little bit abstract instead
of and getting away from my subject of interest and that's purpose.
I'm doing that on purpose because you have to look at it pictorially.
When you're going to do a landscape or draw something or compose a
picture, you have to think about it as what is it that you like about it?
And what do you want to say about it?
Now you might look at this and say, well, what do I want to say about it?
I just like it.
And that's, that's fine to begin with, but if you build a story, I mean,
I'll go off of the old saying that a picture's worth a thousand words.
If you create the thousand words, you will actually make a better picture.
The other reason that I'm, that I'm weighing into this so heavily is these
two things so heavily is just this: I know down the road, we're going to
just start off slow here, but down the road, once you start doing a
composition, the question's are going to come in when are you finished?
When is your composition finished?
Now the answer to that question, isn't when you run out of time and the answer is
not, when you finish rendering everything wall to wall, top to bottom, side to side.
The answer to the question is when you've said what you want to say.
So it was really important to answer, what is it you want to say about this subject?
You can say, ah, now I'm doing this, this landscape in here and I could
say, okay, it's an overcast day.
And the the sky is more active than the ground.
Well, that's going to tell me that I'm going to have a little bit more
going on up here than I am down here.
Just, it's just a literal translation, stormy sky, calm water.
If I said thundering waves then I would make a a passive sky.
So this is a little passive and this is, or excuse me, if this
is active, then this is passive.
On the other hand, if this is going to be active, then this is going to be passive.
So you have to balance these things.
The other thing is, since these are both close in value, and my hillside
there's a little bit more contrast, but not a whole lot of contrast in
your they silhouette very clearly.
That being the case, I'm going to want to look at the difference of the contrast
here and the difference of contrast here.
So the first thing that I want to do and want to think about
is that division of space.
How is everything lining up?
Is it lining up even basic on my, on thirds and having kind
of a classical approach to it?
Or am I pushing extremes a little bit and want a little bit more, a
Gothic arrangement to it or create a little more tension or drama?
You don't want to make every picture.
You make the same passive, stable lining up on thirds and stuff like that.
For, from working on movies, I realized that you can't do this from shot to shot.
And so it becomes important to pick your moments.
You want to pick the moments when you want a stable composition and
you want to pick the moments when you create tension in your composition.
So that'll only come after you ask yourself, what do you
like about this image and what do you want to say about it?
that what it is, but your next step here is your matrix. Okay,
and I'll just draw this down here.
And your matrix is the division of your canvas that's going to
be the strongest pattern of light and dark.
Okay, and this is where I want to clarify something.
Your matrix is a strongest pattern of light and dark. This
is not light and shadow. This is light and dark. That's a
different thing. Okay. So in this case, this is an overcast
day. There is not a strong directional sunlight. So my
matrix is divided up between the sky and water versus
Okay, and this isn't - I'm not going to enhance or push a
light pattern on the ground if there isn't a light pattern on
the ground because this lighting or this tonal contrast
is what makes this feel like an overcast day. So if I try to
render more light and shadow or change my matrix to be a light
and shadow pattern, what's going to end up happening is,
if I'm not clear, it's going to not look like light and shadow
and it won't look like overcast. It's going to be
something in the middle and that's going to fail. So, what
I want to do is make a clear matrix. So I'm looking for the
area or the pattern of strongest light and dark.
Okay. Now again, it may be light versus shadow and, or
may be light versus dark. In this case it's light versus
dark, or notan.
The other thing is,
Sometimes people get confused between a matrix and notan.
This drawing right here
is our matrix and this drawing I'm going to be looking at my
lights. And I get these - I'm going to bend my palm trees out
here just a little bit. Maybe, I'll, maybe I'll bend them like
Okay, put the building out here. Maybe even, maybe even
make the building, just feel a little bit longer, a little
bigger in here.
And then maybe I'll make a little bit more out of the deck
because I want to get something, something delicate, little bit
delicate in here. Compared to the bold, big cliff shapes.
And my clip is coming down here, and I'm going to go even
You see I'm lowering this down down here because I want to get
a little bit more interest in here. I'm going to make a
couple more rocks breaking into the - into the frame over
here. I'm adding these things. Why? Because I want to get a
little bit more directional movement.
It's all, it's all good. It's all okay to do.
Okay. Now I'm going to put in this medium, medium value.
I'm not going to the darkest dark. I want to go to this
medium value because I'm going to have two values in the
my, but my basic matrix
This is my matrix and I'll start each drawing with a
matrix. Now when you're sketching, when you go out to
do a landscape and you're sketching your landscape, what
I don't want you to do is this.
don't half observe, don't look at your landscape and go well,
it's something like this and here's the sketchy lines. I'm
creating this thing and the horizon some here, little
waves going on here like this. And I got this part of a cliff
coming down here and this comes up. And I've got a house up in
here. Some bushes in here, and some palm trees. Kind of, kind
of like this. Okay. Now there's bushes in here, there's tops
of this. See now what's happening is you're starting to
make decisions about
the subject but you're not looking at things pictorially.
And if you're half observing, you may not get this right at
all. So if you want to make a strong composition, what you
want to do is edit. Okay, you might have a whole lot of
detail in your - in the image that you're going to - you're
going to paint but you need to edit first and drawing a
matrix, look how clear and simple this is okay. Will we
get all the nuances? Yes, we will. But if you're going to edit the
world, to edit it down to the simple, strongest pattern of
light and dark and be deliberate about your shapes,
you're going to be very clear about your next steps. Okay?
Now, so when you're sketching, sketch matrixes, okay, just a
black and white pattern and the black and white pattern,
you know, it's really it's really like this.
Your black-and-white pattern should weave into one another
like this. Okay, where your, your darks go into your lights
and your lights go into your darks. It needs to intermingle
like that. Okay, so that's what we need to do throughout,
throughout our image. So we're looking at variety. Here's the
dark, here's the light and we have - I'll make this just a
little bit of more of a bush or tree shape. See, look at this.
I'm getting variety in this shape. I'm getting this strong
architectural shape here. I'm getting a little bit more
variety in here and kind of a little bit of a bushy shape
up here, long and narrow, a little wider. This palm hadn't been
trimmed in a while and then I get another little bit of
architecture, just little delicate bits. And then I get
this kind of simpler break up along here and then I get
broken shapes. Okay, maybe even a couple, a couple little ones
in here and these all fracture where dark over light and then
light goes into dark. You see? So I want this interweaving and
the more interweaving than I have the more interest you'll
have. Now I could do a composition where like this, if
if my matrix is screwed up, then what I'm going to end up
with is something that's more fragmented.
And this is more chaotic.
Okay. Can you do a composition? Sure, you can do a composition
like this and it's, but it's going to end up more chaotic.
And not harmonized.
Okay, because you're going to be doing things and trying to
render things and your value structure's not going to work
out so well. So when things start to break apart your
pattern, you're going to - you're going to create chaos and you
want to stay with a strong strong pattern. So I'm going to
draw this one more time.
And once I know my matrix, let me show you the next little
Now, what I want you to do is draw draw the matrix from this
image, but I want you to keep it really simple, just like
I've done in this image. I want you to do your own image here.
Okay, and but I want you to really look at how the shape
and that pattern works in your composition. Now, feel free to
move the shape around if you want, if you want to have more
more ground in here.
Okay, and let's just say that the ocean and these rocks,
I'm going to redesign these a little bit. So maybe, maybe the
rocks out here, maybe this is a bigger rock coming in here. And
this is more coastline that breaks into here.
Okay, maybe I'm creating a matrix that is more like this.
And again, I'm going to this is the pattern of my more dominant
light versus dark.
And then maybe, maybe I want to create - push this way over to
Okay, so you can play with the shapes and you can create these
different situations if you want and maybe even with the
roofline, maybe I'm going to turn the house a little bit so
it's straight all the way over to here.
And maybe that - maybe the fence is up on top here. Maybe I even
put the palm trees
I don't like the way that is. So let me make a little bit
more space over here. I didn't want to make it that close to
So, what I want you to do is you can work with this image.
If you want to work with another image, you can, but I'm
going to just using this one as an example. And before you, if
you select an image or use this one,
I want you to change up your composition. Okay, change up
your matrix, but I want it just black and white. Okay, maybe
maybe the - maybe the horizon's down here too. Okay, but I want
you to mix it up and do a number of matrixes. See how
the different, how they look differently. Maybe I'll
make the roof line like this.
Okay, so you can see things - if I change things around, I get a
different dynamic in my, in my image, but it's not broken up.
I want you to make clearmMatrix just like this and make a few
of them and design them a little differently, designed
the pattern a little differently. Like this one, I
have this positive or this light and this dark, and they
almost fit like a yin yang. Okay, this one, I pushed up a
little bit as you can see in here and there's a little light
then there is dark. Okay. So look at your light and dark
patterns, and, and adjust for those light and dark patterns.
Okay, so that if it's even you don't want it necessarily
symmetrical like this, okay, because that will flatten out.
If you have more dark than light or more light and dark,
either one, either one can work, you know, maybe even if I
did this and said, okay well there's a ship out
Okay, maybe there's - or maybe I make an island out here. I'll
do that. Maybe this is Catalina out here
from this view
and I put a little island out here.
Okay, that could be something that I also use that will move
the viewer's eye back around. Okay. So everything you do in
your composition within your little matrix is moving your
eye around the image. So take one image, I want you to
draw six matrices.
Okay, I want you to do about six of them and vary them up,
change them up. And the main thing that I want you to do
this, once you change them up, I want you to look at the
consequences of the choices you've made, okay? In the
beginning, there is no wrong decisions. Just put them down.
Now, once you put them down, you're going to see that some
images work better than others. Okay, or they feel more right.
Okay. I don't want to go just on feeling but if you work
intuitively first that's perfectly fine. Then just do, do
about six versions at least. Once you do those, then you're
going to be a little bit more open to moving things around
and trying different things. But then I want you to line
them up. Okay, look at all six, and determine which one helps
you say what you want to say about the image. Out of all six
matrices I want you to select the one that's most appropriate
to what you want to say.
Transcription not available.
We’re going to start again with a simple composition.
And I’ve selected this image of some divers.
The one thing that I want to point out—I’ll just start out with my matrix first.
This is going to be, again, this is the grouping of shapes that are predominately dark against
This is another overcast day.
We’re really dealing with a notan situation.
Notan is where the contrast between light and dark is greater.
And it’s greater than contrast of light and shadow.
This is notan, and this is chiaroscuro.
Before, I said one of the things that you need to do before you really start drawing
in your matrix is determine what it is that you want to say about your composition, how
you want to break it up or divide it on your frame.
What do you want to say about that image.
That’s going to be really important because that’s where you start leaning into determining
whether your shapes or your edges, all of those things, patterning, grouping of shapes,
where all of those things are going to be important or whether you’re doing it correctly.
And by correctly, I mean not a right or wrong way universally, but in a way that is most
telling of what you want to say.
Always draw with a goal of completing a statement.
Determining what it is you want to say about an image and then execute on that.
Don’t think you’re going to drop in a few symbols and say my impression of this
is blah, blah, blah, and expect the viewers to respond all nodding, yes, aha, I get it.
You need to provide all those things.
You need to show them without a shadow of a doubt.
You need to prove your case using your shapes, your values, your patterns.
This is what you want to say about it.
I know that sounds like a lot, but let’s just begin with this one.
Again, this is an image where there is more contrast between light and dark.
I’m going to place my horizon out here.
It’s just kind of a marker in this case where I can see, you know, for what I’m
doing here it’s kind of a demarcation and breakup.
I also see there is a little bit of a waterline and it’s above the third.
It’s right in here where there is a waterline.
There is a little bit of shadowing going down in this.
These are all directional forces dividing up my space.
This one is a little bit below the third.
This is a little bit above the third.
It’s a little bit on an angle.
Then we have these going in.
This is going to determine this kind of a ground plane immediately, these intersecting
Then, in silhouette, pretty much along this we have the beach going in here, and then
the bluff that’s coming in here.
I’m actually, I’m going to move this.
I’m going to change it just a little bit.
I’ll tell you why.
Take a look at your image.
I’m going to move it a little bit over to this side.
Now, the reason that I’m going to do that is just this.
Within my matrix, if I move this bluff over this way a little bit, I’m going to look
for an alignment now.
This is a strong vertical line.
It’s the strongest vertical line in the image right now.
Once I put the divers in, they’re going to be strong vertical lines, and the palm
trees are going to be strong vertical lines.
But if I move it from over here to over here, now I want my eye movement to move this way
around the picture.
What I’m going to do is I might see that I’ve got one guy here, and then I’ve got
another guy over here, and then another guy over here that I’m going to then—do you
see these different shapes that I’m creating.
I’m looking at the reflection shape in here of him.
I’m looking at his shape in here like this.
I’m looking at this guy’s shape, his reflection down in here.
These are going to be important.
If I have this up in here.
What I want to do is I want to move this over here so it moves your eye down here.
I can then take something like this and redirect your eye from this area to this area.
These shapes are important.
I’m kind of playing with these shapes.
It’s going to move your eye around.
From there his arm is going to come down.
We don’t see much of his head here.
The tank comes up.
When I get this directional shape from his fins or whatever he’s holding there.
So you see, I’m going to start moving my eye this way.
I’m also going to take this—he’s holding a spear gun, but instead of holding it up
this way, I’m going to have him hold it down this way.
The reason I’m going to do that is because, again, I want to move your eye around this way.
So, his head is up above these guys because he’s higher up and he’s closer to us.
So, I’ll move this.
His pack, his tank.
And then his reflection here.
I’m going to crop the reflection down here like this.
His reflection is like this.
Again, this is dark part of my matrix.
And I see some breakup, the water is breaking this up, so I’m going to go ahead and put
that breakup in.
It’s a nice transition that I’m going to use.
Same thing here.
Maybe there is another little bit in here that I can start breaking that up.
He’s standing in the water a little bit, so there is a little bit of a break in there,
so we’ll go ahead and leave that.
That’s where the light can do into the dark.
Dark goes into light.
Light goes into dark.
They weave in and out of there.
These other values in here.
I’m going to use three values here.
But the three values that I’m using, again, this design is based on notan.
The value that I’m going to add in here is a medium value.
It’s not supporting the form.
It’s a condition of the reflection.
It’s the water reflection that’s broken up in this kind of a pattern.
It’s not a shadow.
It’s the refraction of the water where the water is actually aimed away from the sky
towards us, we see through it and we see the sand through it.
That’s why it has the color that it has.
Then, this is the same thing here.
These would be these trees on the horizon or on the top of the cliffside there.
Again, I’m making this kind of a midvalue.
I see the sand back over here at kind of a midvalue too.
This is going to get the same middle value.
There is even a little building here that I’m going to go, and I like this little
building in here because it adds a vertical, another little vertical.
The rest of this is really dark.
You can see it adds a medium value, a subtle vertical in there, which, again, that’s
going to help move your eye up back into the frame.
This is a marker paper with a charcoal pencil, so it’s a smoother surface.
It’ll smudge more, but it’s a smoother surface.
Okay, so then I’m going to look at there is another building up here that’s this
medium value, more of this kind of a shape.
Then a tree that is going to be like this.
I’m going to make sure the marks in this tree are different than
the other marks that I made.
That is really important, and I’ll tell you why.
In this simple type of patterning that we’re doing here in this matrix, the variety of
marks that you put down can determine different surfaces, different elements or different
surfaces, and there is that.
Then, what I can do is I can see that I want to have a tree here.
That’s just to make sure that I have something above these reflections down here, but I can
also, so then, start looking at it and say I can have a few more.
Maybe I’ll have one here.
Maybe I’ll put a couple up in here.
I’m going to leave—I’m going to put one over here like this.
One smaller one.
I’ll tell you why I’m making these choices.
Let me get this covered in here.
Okay, now, the reason that I made these is just this.
If you notice these trees they aren’t exactly like the trees that are in the picture, but
I moved this over here, and I stopped these trees so that your eye can go in this way.
If I had this over here your eye wouldn’t go down in the frame until over here, and
then they’re covered.
I can either go around them.
If these are the guys, I can use the background to either go like this and pretty much point
down to them.
That’s one way of doing it.
Or, I can do the figure like this.
If this is the bluff up here, I can frame them.
So now they feel framed this way.
Now, you’ve seen this as I put this in here, and then I make it important that we get something
to move your eye up around in this way.
Maybe I even make this go up a little bit in the reflection to keep moving your eye
up and around.
That’s one way to do it.
The other way—I’ll go ahead and change my matrix slightly now.
Now, I’ll do this.
I’ll bring this bluff out here.
Let’s bring it beyond them a little bit.
Let me take this all the way over here.
Since you did your six matrices before, this shouldn’t be, I mean changing up and making
variation, and I have a choice here.
I have this distance here.
I can favor one.
I don’t want to end it in the middle, but I’ll go ahead and bring it a little farther like that.
Now I’ve created a situation where this vertical here frames around these guys.
So that makes a big difference in here.
That being the case, I can bring more trees out here as well.
Now, if I have one low, one higher, and one higher yet, that’s going to also reinforce
these lines. See these little?
The tree is doing down this way.
Your eye will connect the dots.
That’s called closure.
When you’re designing something you want to build a rhythm.
If I said, okay, I want to build a rhythm, and I’m going to figure out where the palms
are in-between—or where the verticals are, but I want to have this kind of a breakup.
I can make kind of an uneven breakup.
Then I can say, okay, I don’t want all my trees to be even, so I’ll put one here.
Okay, I don’t want all my trees to be even, so I’ll put one here, one here, one here,
one right next to this, one next to this.
I need to get another tree in here.
I’ll group those.
This one here.
I need to get this one different than this one.
There we go.
So, I’ve got a little bit of a gap and it’s a little bit obvious,
so why don’t a put another one here. There we go.
I want to make sure that they’re not even.
There I go.
There is my three value matrix.
I made a couple modifications and adjustments because I want your eye to move around this
image, so I moved this over.
I moved the trees over.
I determined where those will be to enhance the photograph.
The photograph is only reference for me.
Not to be a slave to it, but what I want to do is I want to use the photograph to my advantage,
and I want to make the best picture that I can.
So, when you’re composing a picture, that should be your goal.
What is you want to say and make the best picture you can.
Now, it may mean—I’ll get a little reflection of the, if I get the reflection of the hillside
over here too, it show us where the little wave is, and that’ll be nice too.
If your goal is to make a clear statement of what you like or what you want to say,
then you shouldn’t have a problem changing things up a little bit.
Now your matrix shouldn't be more than three values.
That's that's about it.
Now is there more values?
Yes, there is.
And that's what I'm going to do now is I'll break this down into multiple values.
From my matrix.
It's important to start with a matrix is the basic design of my matrix.
And I'm going to see here is my value range.
And we get subtly in here.
Now you can see on your image.
There's about four different groups.
The the sky, there's the sky, there's a mountain back here or the
distant cove or, or a coastline.
And then there's the water.
And there's like two values in the water, the water, and then
the more reflection of the sky.
So this, this water that's broken up is a little bit darker than the, then the
same value or similar value to the sky.
And then the reflection of the sky here and then where it becomes
a little bit less wet sand.
It starts to get close to the value of the water again.
So those are my areas in white, in my light zone.
So I'm going to draw those now.
I'm gonna draw my shape.
There's a building up there.
There's my building there.
And I'm going to see that maybe I want to have this go out like that.
I'm going to have my trees.
I'm going to have my waterline like this.
Now I'm just going to start with my, my lighter values and I'm going to see that
within my, my three value matrix, I'm going to start with the lightest light.
Within that three mile value matrix
I have the white of the sky, the clouds in shadow.
I have some of the water.
I have the background hillside.
And that's about it.
Then my mid value that I put in here and here I start with
the reflection in the sand
and it goes to the sand over here.
And these buildings back here.
Then I have my scuba divers and the mountain behind, and they all start
about this value and go to my black.
So these are the ranges that I'm working with.
Those are the only values I need for this image.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to actually eliminate
these mid values.
And I'll only work within my - I'll get my my guys in
here, let me just block them in.
I'm just giving us spatial indication of where they are.
So, cause I would just want to work with my light values.
So in my light values, I have the sky and I have some clouds and these
are going to be really subtle again.
I'm going to be grouping my values.
This is what I mean by grouping my values.
This area of white, the have my original matrix.
I'm only going to use these values.
You can use a stump.
You can use your fingers.
You can get a little tone in here.
Have fun with this.
Get this shape of the shadowed clouds going over here.
A little bit darker.
Still within this rang.
Is that building in the background or, excuse me, that is the mountain
in the background and the rest of the coastline in the background.
Now the water is close to that back here, and then it's kind of broken up.
We can see in here.
I want to be very careful that I don't go too dark because the
main thing that you want to do is eliminate these intermediate values.
If I can - if I can eliminate the intermediate values what's going to happen
is it's going to give clarity to my image.
Besides being able to read it more like the type of day that it is.
So this is all very subtle in here.
So that's the range in my light values.
Now, if I go to my medium values, that would be these and the
house and the sand back here.
I'm going to jump down to this value.
So I'll go ahead and put the sand in at this a little darker value,
same with the buildings, right?
And same with this.
It's important that I even don't go too dark with these.
I want to keep it separate from the other values that I put in.
Cause that's important.
Always being conscious of this is the value range that I'm
doing, that I'm putting in there.
So I'm keeping it really simple and I'm grouping these values.
And out here, there's just a couple of little elements that get down there.
There we go.
So this is that middle value that's interpreted through this range.
Now I'm going to go to my darks and I won't go to my darkest darkness
yet, but I am going to go darker.
Then I want to make sure that I get darker than that middle value that I just put in.
So I'm going to go ahead and make sure that I get clarity.
Between those values just enough to build the difference so that these
buildings don't blend into the mountain
and the sand down below.
Again, it doesn't blend into the mountain or mountain, the Jedi
or the cliff, the bluff here.
I lost part of my mountain back here.
So I'll get into that value.
I'm gonna make my mountain value here.
My bluff value.
And I'm going to make sure that I get my, my guys in here at the same,
at same darker value.
This has to really read clear and clear silhouette different than
the medium value than are laid in.
So I'm going to make sure,
make sure that happens.
And this guy leaning over.
Make sure his shape is in there clear.
And this guy's leaning over this way a little bit.
So put this up high over his vest.
That all of this is, is designed to just, you know, this approach is really
good for just keeping you focused on getting your value structure and getting
your design, making sure that all of that stays in it's right - in the right
hierarchy, you know, what's important.
What's lightest, what's darkest and, and how things are grouped.
That's really important.
Because we're talking about making it clear visual statement.
So now I've got these things that you can see.
These aren't quite as dark as these, but now I can go in and identify.
I need to get my trees in here now.
I'll get a couple of them in here again.
I'll get them scattered about just a little bit.
I'll get a couple on the end that I wanted to put out there.
There we go.
I can get a little bit of a, of a rhythm going on through there.
So I, when I designed some of these compositions, what I ended up doing
is I ended up looking at them very abstractly in terms of, I want to kind
of lose the idea of I have to render this tree or render this hillside,
or, you know, all the details on this.
I want to look at everything in relation to the total compositional design
first, so that in this case I get a hierarchy of, you know, what's grouping.
So I have my light groups, my medium value groups.
And my dark group now, now I can go in and accentuate the darkness
on the edge of this the bluff, and then some of the rocks out here.
I can go in here and emphasize, you know, anything that is see is
take is a little bit lighter and I'll darken everything around it
to make it up here a little lighter.
His tank is the lighter one.
And so I'm going to make everything around it darker again
and I can even erase back just a little bit, if I can, I don't want to do too much
cause I erased back too much because I want to make sure that I don't make this.
Anything in my darkest silhouette, I don't want to make as light as my mid value.
So you gotta be very careful that you keep your values.
that goes lighter than this.
So I'm going to need to darken that down, but for right now, I'm
going to just get it, identify it.
It's not quite in the right place, but I'll get over in
here and then I'll fix my shape.
So I'm going to keep this pretty dark
Like I said, this got as light as the mid value, so we need to
darken it down and there we go.
So I've got, I've got a little bit of range in there now.
And I need to draw a little bit more distinction around these buildings.
So I'm going to make it a little bit darker, right in here, around
the buildings and a little bit on the tree a little bit up
here to get that pretty dark.
I even have room to indicate a little bit of foliage
if I want to create a pattern, you know, on this hillside back here, but
you can see by doing it in this order.
I know exactly how much, how close in value this needs to be because I planned
it all out here first in three values.
White, black, and this gray, then I bracketed my values.
And once I set the values, so then I get clear distinction between
the darkest, dark and the mid range and the mid range and the lights,
once I established that I can move these up and down slightly, as long
as they don't get as light as anything in here and nothing in here gets as
dark as anything in here or anything in the, my, my light values zone.
Nothing can get as dark as my middle value there.
So that way I keep good clarity throughout the image.
Again, what I'd like you to do is do a do a couple more versions.
I want you to do a couple images.
The more you practice this, the better you're going to get at it.
So look at an image or go out and determine, is it two
values or is it three values?
This was a three value situation.
We'll get it in two or three values, group things.
Go squint and identify two things fall into two or three groups.
Once you put your two or three value matrix, that's it, solid values.
If you want to use markers, that's fine, but make sure that they're solid shapes
and look at, be conscious of the pattern, the arrangement and the intricacies.
And once you have that, the simple shapes to give the intricate
shapes, the rhythms of some things.
That's what I want you to think about in your patterning.
Once you do that, then I want you to do another one based on that.
And I want you to break it into your value range and bracket your range.
So you eliminate these mid values and you use the range for your
lights, this range for your middle, this range for your darks.
Transcription not available.
So again, I'm going to start off with a matrix.
And I'm looking, I'm going to look at, at at the rhythms of these
mountains, and this is just a, kind of a little saddle in a hillside here.
And then - and I'm, I'm paying attention to everything like where this even lands.
Do I put it out here?
Do I put it in here?
These are choices made.
If the reason that I put it here is because I see below it
an angle here.
If I move this into much that's going to be here and I'm going
to get a lot of dead space here.
And I want the focal point to be around in this zone.
So by moving this in, it would crunch it up in here by moving
it out it would crop it.
And this line wouldn't be, wouldn't be kind of an elegant line that comes up
here like this, and then moves back in.
And the same thing here.
Like that it wouldn't allow me to do that.
So I want to make sure that I can, I can do that then.
And then this kind of doubles, double backs here, right?
Comes down and then something like this.
I'm going to be looking at my values.
My, my most distinct groups are my light and shadow group.
So I'm going to make sure that by light and shadow, this is the shadow of a
hill that's off to the side over here.
So I'm going to make sure that I get that.
And then up the side of this and this softly goes down into shadow
here like this, and then there's a little bit along the Ridge where
it's the light along the ridge.
And this goes into shadow up along here.
Shadow comes here and down,
and again, this is how your, your light and shadow patterns weave into one another
in and out of one another and and make more of an interesting composition.
So this is the foreground bush that comes down like this and creates a shadow here.
There's another shadow here.
And then this comes up here.
So I'm going to finish off this shadow shape and then underneath
these bushes, there's another one.
Small one right now, what I'm going to do this being my matrix
it'll be a three value matrix.
Again, what I'm going to do is I'm going to, I'm going to see that this hillside
goes down like this and the shadow shape goes up here like this and like this.
So what I'm going to do is this is going to be my blackest black in my matrix.
And this shadow shape.
This shadow shape.
Soft on the left side here and hard on the right, because this is okay.
Same thing here.
Hard on the right, because that's the direction of light coming over here and
it's rolling into the shadow softly.
And we get this little gully in here?
There's a little Bush in here that maybe I want to hang on to
in the gully there, which is in light so I'll keep that in light.
This is a cast.
So it's a hard edge in there.
And then this is soft because it's a bush going into light there.
This is soft here because this is this hillside rolling into shadow, but all
of this will go into my dark matrix.
And again, this is, this is my design and this is really, really important.
This isn't really a style of drawing necessarily what it is.
This is all about editing.
You're grouping your values.
You're creating your pattern.
This is editing your, your picture.
And if you can see this complex world simply by editing it down, simply
you're going to show everybody else a view of the world that's going to
be, that's going to be this is going to be edited in a beautiful way.
So that's why it's important to pay attention to your design.
Take your time with it.
If you need.
I'm kind of racing through so that you can, you know, and I don't expect
you to follow on with me, follow along with me at this speed necessarily.
I want you to take your time and think about the marks that you're making
in the moves you're putting down.
So this is where you go - let's see.
I want to make sure that I get this section here, the way I
like it, and then this area.
There's some groupings of bushy bushes and stuff that go in here.
Now I know this looks kind of broken up.
I can make this a little bit stronger directionally.
I'll just kind of move this, make this a little bit easier to see by making
this a little bit, a little more rhythm in there can help move that.
The other thing too is this shape here is a positive shape.
And if I want the shadow to be the positive shape, I can't, I
need to change the contour of it.
It can't be this and be - this is the positive shape.
This is the negative.
So when you need to do is do this somehow.
So what I'll do is I'll bring this down, I'll bring this over and I'll
bring this up like this, that, so now it feels like a positive shape.
Yes, overall, it goes like this, but when you take a look at it,
this can be a positive shape rather than so clear round like that.
The next thing that I'm going to see is my middle value.
I'm going to drop into my middle value.
Yeah, you can use markers.
If you want to use markers for this, this, the markers work fine.
In fact, you can even get close to your, your values zone, whatever it is
with the three values of markers or0 ou know, if you have a 10 value set,
you can, you can use maybe black and, and a three and a, a six or something.
Well, I have three distinctly clear values and this doesn't need to be the
same value as, as, as the shadow shapes, but this is my three value matrix.
Okay, then again, what I want you to do, this is just kind of a
rehearsal on the same thing is you're going to look at your value range,
and this range is going to be different than the previous image.
Overall, this one's going to be medium, major, key over on medium value.
And it's going to be a high contrast.
But most of it is going to be the medium to the dark.
So in looking at it, I can see that the sky in here is a broad
range, something like this.
And then, well, actually let me make it there because I want to use this value.
And then in the mid value, it's from here.
It's a broad range.
It's like this.
Let me lighten that up just a little bit.
So we get a little bit broader range in here.
Here we go.
And then my darks are going to be down in here.
So you can see the compression in here.
This is actually black right there.
So there's not a lot here.
There's a big range of, of gray values.
This is bracketing your values again, and I'm eliminating these.
now that I planned out my, my pattern, what I'll do is I may go in and say, okay,
this is going to be my, my medium value.
So I'll go ahead and put it in my light, medium value, not, not heavy dark, but I'm
going to put in my lighter, medium value.
Alright, now I have a range in there to go with.
So, but in this case, what I'm going to do is I've got my lightest
light, my medium, I mid medium.
And I'll go ahead and put my dark in.
And again, I'm kind of keying off of this shape, going up to
the top of the mountain there.
And I'm putting in not the darkest dark, but I'm putting in a pretty dark value.
I'm going to go ahead and make this just a little bit darker, just so
that I have more, more contrast between the mid value in this.
And if I do that, it's going to give me a little bit more
latitude in my middle value.
So I want to increase that, that gap the most that I can, just so that I have more
room to play in the mid value range there.
And I'm not worried about rendering grass, rendering bushes, rendering
anything other than defining my shapes
And again, coming down here.
This, this edge up here is a cast edge that's a little bit harder
on the top up here and it's form on the bottom down here.
So it's a little bit softer down there.
So I have my three basic values laid in and now I can go in into
my light area and I can say, okay, let me get some clouds in here.
I'm going to make sure that these clouds all stay within
just the lightest value group.
I create a shape in here.
Pattern for the, for the, the clouds in shadow.
It's going a little dark.
See, it's starting to get a little close to the, my mid value range.
So I'm going to lift a little bit of it out.
Here we go.
Getting it back to that lightest value.
That's really close in there.
Then, what I'm going to do is, Oh, I need to finish my shape down here.
Oh, got it.
I ask you to finish one thing at a time and I didn't do that myself.
So in order to keep myself honest here, I'm going to have to finish this up.
Bring that out to the outside.
I see a little bit more darkness down in here, so I'm going to go
ahead and add that to my matrix.
Cause I want to get a little bit of dark on the bottom of the frame here.
That's going to help me anchor the bottom of this to the bottom of the frame.
Now I might throw out three basic values in here, but now what I can
do is I can go in and I can look for where's my - in my medium value there's
areas that are a little bit darker.
And those darker areas are some of the bushes that kind of ride along right
here, mixing into the shadow, right at the transition of, from light into shadow.
So that's that's one effect that medium value is going to
bridge there just a little bit.
And then up here, we get some of those darker values.
There are the actual local value of the bushes.
So it's a combination of local value and their position where they sit,
okay, this whole region in here is a little bit darker
than some of the other areas,
okay, this is light in here, but it's got some darker bushes.
And then the shadows in between some of those.
There's the dark shape.
I'm going to correct my dark shape in here again, but there are some, some
little bits of darks in here that I didn't get this - it just kind of break that
up and see I'm making them really dark because they merged with the shadow shape.
Some of these are backlit bushes.
So I'm going to refine this just a little bit.
Making more interest along those, but I'm clear that these are shadow shapes.
So I'm going to make sure that my darkest darks sit in there really dark.
And these, whatever shadows there are.
Remember this one is about chiaroscuro.
And that's because your light and shadow here is a greatest contrast.
So there's subtle areas in here where some of these bushes are actually darker.
A few along the top, up here.
a few in the little - along the edge of, of, or, you know, along the turn of some
of these planes, there's, there's some darker bushes in there, but you can see
now how the, the, the value of my value patterning is really going to start to
pay off because in this middle range, I know I can only go so dark or so light.
And knowing that helps me keep my values all in check, because your
values can't get out of control if you don't have a way to manage them.
And this seems to be a really good way to manage them from your
matrix on into your full value.
And when I say full value, I mean bracketed value, I don't mean
every single value, a full value image can mean the full ranges.
Multiple ranges, eliminate those others.
Eliminate those others.
Now there's some subtle shadows in here.
Some of the bushes, some of the bushes are a little darker,
but have some shadow in them.
So I can do that.
Some of them the same and they have a little shadow on them.
So I can break into some of those, something back here.
You see, so it's starting to come together.
I'm starting to get by just by building this up and staying within my values.
I can see that some of these,
some of these values or some of these bushes sit together
because they have a similar value.
And I'm starting to get a lot of more dimension out of my image because
my values are, are working in my local values are working a little bit
more clearly these bushes in the mid ground here are a little bit darker.
So I'm going to go ahead and darken these up just a little bit.
Then they get pretty light in here.
These, these values now are some of the shadow shapes, some darker
values and some shadow shapes.
These are shadow shapes here, and these are shadow shapes back
here, but they feed into these a little bit darker shapes like that.
Some of these shapes of the grass
that you can see, give, offer a little bit more variety yet.
There's more in here.
Now I'm going to go into my darkest darks and I can see behind this mountain here,
this gets into some of my darkest darks
Some of my darkest darks right in here in the foreground, these really sit dark.
So let me punch those up.
There we go.
And my darker darks over in here where this starts to turn.
Now there's a lighter plane.
It gets aimed up towards the sunlight over here.
And I see it over here too.
So I'm going to.
I'm going to just do a little subtle tone.
That's going to give me a mid value.
So it's going to feel like the sun's coming in this direction.
See, I laid it in there, reinforced it in there.
Here it is on this side over here, it's just a subtle value, but it's enough to
turn that plane around and put a little shadow behind some of these things.
Syria up here can blend a little bit more as it turns over into the shadow there.
Now there's an area in here that's a little bit lighter.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to put a little bit of a little
bit darker groupings of some of the bushes bordering this area.
And again, I'm staying within my value groups.
Some of the bushes that are sitting on the edge, actually wrapping
around, showing a little bit more of the form because it rolls over.
They roll over into shadow there.
I made these shadows.
Now I need to make the, the value of the bushes a little bit darker.
They're local value.
Just a little bit darker.
Here we go.
There we go.
And that little gully area there.
Now you can see that this approach is a real simple, basic approach to going
from a simple design, into something as far more representational, without
getting hung up on all the rendering and losing track of your values.
This is an easy way.
And and it doesn't matter if you're doing something simple,
still alive or a simple landscape
or as a complex figure complex landscape complex.
Still, it doesn't matter if you approach this the same way by identifying your
dominant, valued shapes, keeping them distinctly different, look at the
value ranges that represent them or represented in those areas and then go
back in and stay true to those value groups or those value ranges here.
Keep everything within those ranges.
You can get this whole thing locked down pretty good.
And it's not a case of, of how much rendering you've got in.
It's how you've managed those values, the design, the shape, the patterns, and
then maintaining the range of values.
And they're staying true to those.
You can get a nice, a nice composition and a nice lay in
and that's the important thing.
So you can try this on on this image.
This isn't an easy one because these middle values are so close.
I would suggest if you want to try something get a simple, still life.
Take a landscape or go outside and, and look at a landscape.
If you have a good picture that clearly breaks into three values, that's critical.
So just to recap, you want an image, select an image,
select the, like a location, or if it's a photo image
and two to three or possibly four values only.
So if you squinted an image, a landscape or whatever, see if you can't break
it into two, three or four values that will become either two values or three
values is going to be your matrix.
it's possible that you'd see a fourth, but what I want you to do is I want
you to do your best to determine is this closer to the light group,
the medium group or the dark group.
So it might be a subgroup.
But try to keep it to two, three values.
And then do your you're a more finished piece as a value study.
You want to make sure that you've separated and bracket,
Bracket your values, make sure that you have a gap in between these so that you
have distinct value ranges and value.
So that's how to break this down from a simple matrix.
And that's how, why your matrix is important.
You break it down simply there, and then you stay true to these value
groups and you can come up with any kind of a design and even strengthen it.
I want you to do some of these and do a handful of them.
Don't just stop with one or two.
The more these you do the better, the more you're going to understand
the better you're going to do this.
I had read once that Howard Pyle had his students doing these almost
daily, they had to turn these in all the time, his scholarship students.
So they were always looking at breaking the image down into just a
couple of values and be clear in the clear you can be with that image.
The more that you're going to be able to express whatever it is you want to say,
this will, if you stay on track with that, it'll keep you focused on saying what you
want to say about the piece and rather.
Rather than just render the heck out of it until you run out of time or, you know,
you'll know when it's complete is because you'll get those distinct value groups
and the simple pattern and the design.
If your design is breaking down, reinforce the shapes and make clear
distinction between the shapes, meaning make sure there's a gap when
the, when you don't have a gap and everything smudges together, that's
when it all starts to fall apart.
So take one step at a time and have fun with this.
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1. Learning Recommendation24sNow playing...
1. Introduction to Composition19m 45sNow playing...
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2. Black and White Matrices13m 53s
3. In-Class Assignment24s
4. Creating 3-Value Notan Matrix and Value Study I18m 11s
5. Creating 3-Value Notan Matrix and Value Study II18m 11s
6. In-Class Assignment24s
7. Creating 3-Value Chiaroscuro Matrix and Value Study I10m 48s
8. Creating 3-Value Chiaroscuro Matrix and Value Study II23m 13s
9. Assignment 324s