#MastoArtStudy Exercise N08

I’ve wanted to delve into composition for the next exercise, but the more I wanted to write, the more massive the subject became. It quickly became overwhelming and I decided that I’m not ready to talk about composition yet.

Instead I want to talk about something I’ve been practicing more lately, namely “value edge control”.

When you learn to control your value edges, it’s like a door opens to a whole new world. It’s that small understanding that is lacking whenever you look a beautifully rendered piece and think “how did they do that?”. The answers to that are of course numerous, but a very big answer is value edge control.

What are value edges?

Values edges are used in shading to communicate where a dark area transfers into a light area and vice versa. It is foundational for shading organic shapes such as muscles. An example of an artist with a profound understanding of shading is (Steven Zapata)[https://www.stevenzapata.com/#1], who makes quite creepy fantasy art drawn with pencils, with lots of disturbing abstract organic shapes, however he shades these shapes to an absolute mindblowing precision.

Here is a drawing that I made for this demonstration where I specifically exercised my control over value edges.

Here is a process video of how went to work. I painted from reference using the default airbrush in Krita, with a dark grey color. You don’t have to use the airbrush, you can use any brush you like. I did so just to demonstrate that a good result does not depend on what brush you use, but in how you apply your shading.

Here is a step by step explanation of what I’m doing:

I’ve done this digitally, but the techniques are applicable to pencils on paper as well.

The Exercise

I’d like you to draw this Paprika (or a pepper as its called in english I think) in greyscale and practice shading it using value edge control. Don’t worry about the table and the background, you can keep that white.

Why a paprika? Because the organic winding shapes of the vegetable are ideal for painting/drawing value edges. It is also an excellent choice for learning how to paint reflective and translucent surfaces.

If you don’t like my paprika, you are free to choose another legume that suits your preferences, but be mindful that it has lot of textures and plane changes.

When you’re done, post your image to Mastodon using the #MastoArtStudyNumber8 hashtag.


We’ll set a deadline at sunday evening the 10th of june. Good luck and I’m really looking forward to seeing your entries!

Giving and receiving constructive feedback

Now a big point of #MastoArtStudy is giving each other constructive feedback. This does not mean bashing somebody over the head with what they did wrong, but rather pointing out what the artist did right in the drawing and pointing out the area’s where the artist could improve. Now when receiving constructive feedback, don’t take it personally. The feedback is meant to help you improve. We all have to improve, that’s why we’re doing these studies. So try to refrain from making excuses or explanations for the area’s other artists point out where you should improve, listen and set goals for your next drawing based on the feedback you’ve received.

If you really don’t want to receive feedback, but you still want to share your exercise sketch using the #MastoArtStudyNumber8 hashtag, then please write No feedback in your post.