What is Color Value?

Updated: Feb 25, 2019


Hello my lovely people!

Color jargon is so hard to follow! Have you ever heard someone refer to your painting and mention something about value? It sounds like a compliment, so you politely thank them and continue your work, but that word just sticks in your mind. You are probably asking yourself, "What the heck did they mean?"

Well, I am here to tell you exactly what they mean!

Value is basically the lightness and the darkness of a color.


It is always easier to spot value when talking about black to white.

Value Plant

When we look at this image (left) it is easy to tell that it is in black and white.

The value in this image goes from the darkest black to the whitest white.

Value doesn't only apply to the gray scale though, it works with all the colors.

Have you ever seen a painting where the artist only used one color, but you could tell what you were looking at? They were using #value to make their one color more interesting and giving their work more depth.

Value Cherries

Let us focus on this image to the right, shall we?

We see a good array of color here: reds, blues, grays, greens, and browns, but I want for you to focus on just the red.

I don't know what these red things are, but we are going to call them cherries, okay?

Can we all agree that these "cherries" are considered red? If you answered yes, then we can move on to the next step. On these "cherries" there are some darker splotches of red aren't there?

If we were to try to just paint the "cherries" our pallet would look a little like this:

Red Value

Basically, if you focus on theses "cherries" we will be able to pull a #value of red. It isn't always easy, but once you train your eye you will be able to spot value in pretty much anything.

Hopefully this was helpful. I tried to make it as easy and straight forward as possible!

That is all for today, my lovely's! Keep up the hard work and stay creative!! <3

Maribel Feliciano

P.S. Question of the day:

How do you think you can apply value to your art and do you think it will improve your


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