Painting Value Scale with Black and White

Value is the degree of lightness or darkness in a piece of art. Value is synonymous to tone in music.

Step 1

Make six even squares across the bottom of paper to allow space for six different values.

step 2

Wet the tempera cake to wake up
the paint.

step 3

Fill in the first square from the right with a rich layer of black. Begin by painting the edge of the box and then fill in. This box represents the darkest value.

step 4

Move to the next square. To lighten the value add a little water to the brush. Lay the paint in the box and dab it with a sponge to remove some of the color.

step 5

Adjust as you go until achieving four variations of gray. Leave the last box on the left white to show the lightest value.



step 1

Apply what was learned in value scale painting to create the illusion of a three-dimensional form. Trace a circle with a roll of tape above the value scale.

Step 2

Draw a symbol of a sun in the upper left corner to indicate where the light source is coming from.

Step 3

Begin using the darkest color on the bottom right side of the circle. Follow the curve of the ball with paint strokes to create the illusion that the ball is coming out of the page.

Step 4

Add water to the paintbrush to lighten the value as you paint closer to the top left side of the ball. This gives the illusion that light is hitting the ball. Water and a sponge will lighten areas that get too dark.

Step 5

Be sure to leave a little white directly where the “sun” would hit. This is called the hot spot.


Any form can be used for this challenge, depending on skill
level (the sphere is easier than the cylinder).

Art Making

Black tempera cake or watercolor cake
Paint brush
Jar of water
Watercolor paper (the heavier the paper the
more resistant it is to ripping when wet)