Using the Values of Your Inks (Colors, Hues)

Once you have determined the values in your reference photos you’ve got to figure out how all of those paints you’ve got translate into value numbers.

color rings


I take each of my inks and put them on a little piece of photo paper and punch holes in them so I can arrange them by hue (color).  I have a separate ring with all of my colors by value.





For this example I laid out all of my green color chips:


Then I laidgray scale match the gray-scale sheet on top of each chip to assign a gray-scale number.  It’s not always easy, but if you do it a few times you’ll get used to it.


Here are the green color chips arranged by gray-scale value from darkest to lightest.

Greens by value

JG2 Mermaid CG4 Bottle Meadow Lettuce CG3 LG4 Lake Mist
JG3 LimeGreen RainForest Botanical Citrus

I’vechui cropped copy also experimented by painting the “correct” value and the “wrong” color.

Here’s Chui,  a cheeta, that works because the values are correct.   Let me know if you ever see one with these colors.

(click to enlarge)


3 thoughts on “Using the Values of Your Inks (Colors, Hues)

  1. Margo Merritt March 10, 2015 / 3:22 am

    Not having any teachings in any kind of painting I would like to know when you say you painted this with the correct values how do you determine the correct values?I like the colors you used for this painting but how do you come up with the correct values.Are the values all one value in each color or do they very?I know big question.I’m just try to figure the best way to learn what I need to know to better my knowledge.Don’t have the luxury of taking art lessons so I read books and do alot of yutube watching.and asking questions.Plan on taking some online art lessons but that won’t be for awhile. Thanks Margo


    • sherylwil March 10, 2015 / 12:59 pm

      Hi Margo, I’m self-taught as well. I love the videos and information on the net.
      Go to and read this post about how to find out what the values are. In a nutshell values are the lights and darks in your image. A gray scale is a tool used to assign a number to each stage of light and dark from black through gray to white. I’d be glad to post more on this subject. Let me know what’s unclear after you read the post “The Role of Values in Your Painting”


  2. Denise April 20, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Great idea!! I will definitely be doing this!!


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