How to Create a Scumbling Value Scale?

How to Create a Scumbling Value Scale
How to Create a Scumbling Value Scale

Did you know that values are very significant for all the images that you make? And one of the most remarkable ways to familiarize with values is to create a value scale. In the drawing, a value refers to how dark or light something appears. You use it to depict shadow and light. Without the two, we can't see or draw. That's the reason for the entire concept.

Anytime you create a value scale, the experiences expose you to gain more confidence, make your work better, and saves you hours of working.

The atmosphere, mood, composition, and believability of your drawing will always rely on value; therefore, if the value scale falls apart, your image does the same.

Create an excellent value scale and place it on your work to ensure you do not miss any value. It makes the drawings better. It would be best if you were consistent and ready to take risks. The pencil pressure should not put you down.


Create a value scale; a few materials are required to achieve that:

* A soft pencil

* A hard pencil

* A kneadable eraser

* A ruler

* A piece of paper

However, there are things that you should keep in mind.

* While drawing, you should not rush. Ensure your hands are clean and work carefully; to finish much faster with that.

* For the drawings, use smooth tones (free of noise /texture) to help you have a good view of every step's value.

* After you finish drawing, ensure you evenly distribute the contrast in all steps.

* Creating a value scale takes time. With this drawing, it can take three hours. However, for a higher finishing degree, it can go up to 9 hours.

Step 1:

Use a ruler to draw several boxes that are of the same size. Each box can be half an inch. You can kickstart with five value scales, but you can add more in case of retries. It would be best if you had a perfect created value scale after you complete it.

Step 2:

After you start your drawing, you need to establish the darkest and lightest values to accurately achieve your values' connections. When you start with the extremes, you'll at least have reference points to help you compare with other values in the scale. The mistake that most students make is to start from left to right. If you draw from the ends of your spectrum, the result tends to be much appealing.

Using your pencil, shade the first box. Then you can hop to the other last box black, but you shouldn't shade it dark instantly. The results will only be useful if you include more layers of the pencil to arrive at your preferred value gradually than immediately. After you complete the outer boxes, move to the second last and shade lightly. Repeat the process and ensure you make each value lighter than your previous box.

Step 3:

Time to look for the center box. After estimating the median value, you can choose where to begin and draw inwards towards the center. You might not be perfect but ensure the tone remains even.

You can as well start from the darkest value and move towards the opposite side. As you draw, avoid dragging your hands on the value. It will mess things up. You can place scrap paper under to prevent smearing the values. By now, you should have a very light value.

Lastly, continue with this process a few more times. Work from the darkest value to the lightest end of your value scale and make sure it is even enough until the results offer a sense of your overall value.


Scumbling drawing is also known as the brillo pad technique. It is more random and less controlled than using a pencil or a pen and ink to draw squiggle, random marks that build up shadow areas.

Dry Brush Technique

This painting technique requires you to apply a thin coat of paint using a dry brush and apply some paint over an existing layer. Its amount of impulsivity and looseness applied makes the texture interesting.

During scumbling, it is drawing numerous little circles, figure-eight shapes, and squiggles. Then, layer them or apply them in closer marks to make darker areas, with less overlapped, looser marks for lighter areas. The idea of scumbling is to have parts of the existing paint remain exposed.

In some cases, scumbling is done over existing dried paint. Though, you can still use it on wet paint. Yours is to be extra careful with the colors to blend in case of wet paint.

Commonly, this technique is thought of as an oil painting method. Besides, you can use it with watercolor and acrylic paints.

Regular uses of scumbling drawing:

* It adds texture to your surface.

* It creates a sense of depth and atmosphere.

* It breaks up the background area for it to be less monotonous.

* It builds up some highlights on a dark background.

* It creates some slight adjustments to the color shapes.

* It softens the change from one color to another.

* It establishes a broken color effect to take advantage of the optical color mixing.


This article has outlined the art lessons of drawing a value scale. Have you enjoyed it? To be a pro, you have to be consistent and practice from time to time. It will give you the confidence and comfortability of creating various perfect values.

Value helps you know how light or dark art is. It helps show the third dimension called a form that represents realism in the drawing. If you need realism in your picture, you should master controlling the medium and seeing values. That's all about value. For realism to show, you have to recreate and see the value. For this, building or creating the value scale is an excellent style to learn about it.

Besides, in the drawing process, you can learn about a new medium. To master the new medium, it is advisable to learn and understand how to control it. Through making the value scale, you are supposed to know several basic functionalities of the medium.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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