One way artist Deborah Secor suggests identifying pastel colors that are the same or very close in value is to lay them side by side so that the edges are touching and squint until all the color virtually disappears. Squinting will literally filter out the color and allow you to perceive the values more accurately. Colors that correspond in value will visually blend into one shape with no apparent dividing line between them.
For some reason, this effect is easiest to see in the darker colors, so begin with your darkest tones first. Draw a good-sized strip of the color that you want to match in value and select colors that you think are close. Lay down a patch of your new color so that it touches the edge, then close one eye and squint hard with the other. Do the two colors become one shape? If so, the values are equivalent. If not, they’re too disparate to be considered comparable in value.
You can find more methods for letting value lead in this download from The Pastel Journal. And there’s more where that came from—check out other $1.99 single Pastel Journal article downloads in our online shop.
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