Evaluating Color Value for Watercolor Painting - dummies

Evaluating Color Value for Watercolor Painting

By Colette Pitcher

Part of Watercolor Painting For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A color’s value measures where it falls on a range between dark and light. Value is an important aspect of watercolor painting. You may want to determine the value of a color to create strong value patterns. However, the color itself can take your attention, making it difficult to determine the value.

To help, print the following value chart (white card stock would be a good choice), then use a hole punch to make a hole at each circle in the chart. Squint through the holes to reduce the color you’re looking at to gray and determine its value. Match the color with the same value square by seeing the color in the hole. Move the value squares up and down until the correct value matches the color through the hole.


By knowing the proper value you can mix more accurate colors, design value patterns in your work, and establish exciting focal areas by juxtaposing lightest lights against darkest darks.