Introducing Value Study

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Value Study, available for free on iPhone and iPad, is a tool to help people who're trying to learn to draw or paint. It works by building upon the timeless technique of value studies (such as Nōtan) in which someone will try to distill real life or colour photos into simple black and white shapes. These can be as simple or as complex as you like, but the hard part is seeing the light and shadow while ignoring the colour.

I'm no expert at this, I'm an absolute novice trying to learn to improve so I made this app to scratch my own itch I found value studies were helping me a lot but I really struggled to know if I had got it right or not... and so, like many others, I would convert a photo to black and white and try to compare.

Value Study takes it a step further, you can use photos from your photo library or take a photo and very quickly begin to see the different values. You can use the plus and minus buttons to show more or less values (ie. the amount of shades of grey to show). Quite crucially, the feature that drove my to create the app, you can then click on one of the values within the palette to show (in green) where that value is found in the image. This lets you compare different areas and switch back and forth with the colour image to really try to improve how you visualise it yourself.

I really like that with this app I was able to do something to really help myself improve at a hobby and I've no doubt other people will find it useful too.

If you want to give it a try yourself, go ahead and download it from the App Store.

Usually I write a post about my new projects and then never get around to finishing them for various reasons. It's quite nice to have done the opposite here... made something I find quite useful and made it available to others with a quick turn around! There's a little website for it (as required by the App Store's policy) over at