View Full Version : How to determine value WITHOUT squinting!

10-13-2006, 01:39 AM
I am a recent but enthusiastic convert to the idea of sorting my pastel box by value. The only way I know to do this involves drawing out a swatch of each pastel, and then comparing it to either a gray scale or another pastel, squinting to try to override the impact of hue and chroma.

Problem is, I've got lots to do and the squinting thing is a real headache for me, both literally and figuratively.

Is there another way?

10-13-2006, 03:36 AM
I recently did just this same thing, and I did so by just organizing all of them right in my box. It's a large box, with two foam-padded sides of about 15x20 each, but even if you don't have something like that, simply laying them out on a large sheet of white paper would probably do the trick. Then just move them around according to hue and value. With all of them right there, it's much easier to judge hue and value relative to all the other pastels.

I first intended to try to arrange them according to Munsell, but found that just didn't work for me. I eventually decided to use 12 hues (Y, YO, O, RO, R, RV, V, BV, B, BG, G, YG) and I penciled in the 12 names on one side of the box, having drawn a rough grid in pencil right on the foam lining. I then printed off samples of 6 values that I taped on the box going in the other direction. So I could use both of those to make quick judgements. It still took a while to do (and I had them loosely organized in this way to start with).

10-13-2006, 06:23 AM
I organized mine in a transparent plastic container (I bought at michaels a long time ago in a jewlry section) that comes with separators and according to the colors I separated them and put the dividers myself. For example, I put all tons of yellow together. Then, all tones of red. Then, browns, orange, greens, and so on...

Have a wonderful day and I hope I helped you.

10-13-2006, 06:35 AM
You could take a digital picture of them and switch it to black and white on your monitor. I also read somewhere here that some people use a red cellophane viewfinder when doing plein airs to sort out the values, and that might work.

10-13-2006, 08:38 AM
squinting and values has always giving me a headache.....

fellow sufferer,

10-13-2006, 10:39 AM
I should add that once they are sorted by hue, sorting into values is much easier, so squinting isn't required (at least not much). You can look at a whole tray and fairly easily see those pastels that are out of place, cause they stick out in relation to the others.

Of course there are always the problem children: what color is mars violet, anyway? It's not really violet, but it's not really anything else either, so it sticks out no matter where you put it! :lol:

10-13-2006, 11:23 AM
the red stuff is a big help, and i find it easier than squinting. and if anyone has an idea on like annie said--those sticks taht don't really fit into one certain place, i'd also be interested in that!!

i found the red stuff at a print shop, most dont 'use it anymore, so its getting hard to find. the nice thing on that is that i have a piece of it big enough that i can simply look thru with both eyes open, instead of the squinting. i also carry one piece, taped into a mat, in my plein air kit.

Kitty Wallis
10-13-2006, 11:56 AM
Red cellophane works on all colors except red. So if you use it, finish with a general squint to identify the reds that are out of place.

10-13-2006, 12:19 PM
I happen to have some red cellophane, so I will give it a try. Kitty, is it just the red reds that are a problem? Or is it also oranges and violets?

10-13-2006, 02:49 PM
The Picture Perfect Viewfinder which has a red filter and grey scale is useful for determining values.
It is sold on dakotapastels.com.