Leonie’s amazing rule of 2/3 + 1/3 + a little bit..
Good design helps make the leap from mere rendering to art. There should be a dominant value (dark, middle or light). One of the basic rules I teach my students is to use the rule of 2/3 + 1/3 + a little bit. That rule applies to dark and light values as well as choice of color. In actual fact, it is such a good rule that you can apply it to everything you do.
This rule can be used for every aspect of art and life...think about a plate of food. A good idea is not to have equal portions of everything. Two thirds (2/3) of the plate should be vegetables and greens, one third (1/3) meat and a little bit of carbs.
Using this same rule in art, from design to painting technique and color usage will ensure a good painting.
Using it with Color
When we use the same ‘amount’ of different colors the painting will tend to look dull. Using this rule will help to brighten up your colors and not make it look ‘muddy’.
Using it with Notan or Gray scale
One of the greatest mistakes students make it to try and copy the color they see before them. This the worst mistake you could make in art. The best way to paint is to see the color as a ‘gray scale shape’. Before you start your panting, take a photo on your phone camera and change is to gray scale or black and white. Your picture should then be made up of High Lights (the lightest part), Base Tones (the darkest part) and the left overs should be Mid Tones. We also call this Notan.
Notan can be made up out of Two Tone and Three Tone Notan. Two Tone Notan is only Highlight and Base Tone and Three Tone is made up of High Light, Mid tone and Base Tone.
This use of light and dark translates shape and form into flat shapes on a two-dimensional surface, which will also make it easier to translate the shapes into color.
Every composition whether realistic or not, is fundamentally an arrangement of simple abstract shapes. If you wish to become a better artist, then Notan will help you to design and compose your painting and colors. Color is never considered in a Notan drawing.
The idea of using Notan is to recognize a shape and then give the shape a grey scale value.