Tone in art is one of the most important tools for the artist

Tone pictures no less important than color and black-and-white image is essential. What is the tone in the fine arts?
When we begin to learn to draw with pencil or paint, we think that is important for the artist as is the sense of color, dimension and imagination! Such as the notion of tone is often overlooked, especially beginners and those who learns to paint without a teacher. They are trying nicely to copy or draw what the drawings look like bad photos.
Tone pictures no less important than color and black-and-white image is essential. What is the tone in the visual arts?

General information

What is tone in art, in short? Tone is a concept on the brightness of the subject and color (paint). Sometimes use the term "aperture" which is equivalent to the concept "tone". picture artist usually a few items, and they are all resolved in the tone. If the artist was able to correctly convey the tonal relationships of objects, then the work will gain vivacity and will give the viewer the impression of truthfulness, will be pleasing to the eye.

Tone in art is the intensity of the light acting on the objects. Each item in the picture is more or less illuminated. Each item in the picture has its color. Color we usually easy to call and remember. Remember the tone is much more difficult. It depends on the changeable light, the shape of the object and cannot be determined as accurately as the color.

this is the complexity of such terms as tone. We used to think that the subject of the white color is brighter than the subject blue or black. Whereas in fact, the white cloth in the shade would be darker than black in the light?
For the artist to see and feel the tone is a very difficult task. Often master, good sense of color, sees worse tone, and, on the contrary, the master, feeling tone, is a talented colourist.
In a contour figure, the tone is set by the thickness of the pencil line or its texture.

the right tone at the right place

to understand what the tone of the subject, we must compare it with the next, to look at him, screwing up his eyes. The tone is well illustrated by black-and-white photographs.


To become a competent artist, you need to know and abide by the laws of tone and tonal relationships, and, of course, understand the term tone definition in art. The ability to show tonal relationships called "take the relationship", ie correctly show the lighting effect of the depicted objects.
Light shows and building form: the most convex region of the subject illuminated more than others. So the light helps the artist mold the shape, to understand it. The term "take the attitude of" follows a rule "touches" - how the objects interact. The artist should observe how the subject comes into contact with the adjacent things: it will be darker than the background, somewhere will stand out against a dark background, where the tonal relationship becomes so close that the two objects will begin to dissolve in each other. Of these rules is born painting.
right tone at the right place - it meant the secret of his success on the picturesque career of the famous artist Ilya Repin.

what is tone?

the Tone in art is a chain of components. The bright surface of the subject contains a light, partial shade and a highlight and a dark shadow and reflex. Each of the components needs to have its own tone. Blik can't be darker than light and shadow - brighter penumbra. If these rules of "relations" does not comply, subject get crumpled and incomprehensible structure. The artist must learn to see the subject whole, but at the same time to understand its design, structure and to understand how the subject is affected by other things surrounding it. A good artist will not write the subject in one color. He will need to show an influence on the subject of things nearby. And all this within tonal relations.

Rules tone

the Objects in the foreground, portrayed more of a contrast in tone. Objects located in the depths of the painting, have a similar tone. So an artist can create perspective, depth, pattern and volume.
to make fewer errors in the image tone, it is important to place my work as a canvas or sheet of paper. Too much is not desirable to light the picture in the end, all the objects will be too dark. If the work in the conditions of insufficient lighting, the work is too bright and sharp touches. It is important to observe your work "from outside". For this purpose it is necessary periodically to stop drawing and stand back, give your eyes a rest, and give yourself the opportunity to look at the work from afar.

the Tone in teaching

most of the artists-teachers pay a lot of attention to issues of tone. A proper understanding of the term "tone" is the basis of artistic literacy. Tone in art is not stroking, not glossing over the subject, not a blind imitation of dark and light places. The use of colors allows the artist to tell the viewer how light affects the subject, to make the thing live to read, show and analyze its form, structure. Blind blackening of dark spots and the brightening light does the job and gives the chaotic incompetence of the artist.

Tone helps the artist to show the construction of an object, its color (even in black-and-white image) and the texture of the surface.

How to work tone?

to work correctly tone, it is necessary to perform initial data nature. How to use tone in art (examples):
  • show where the light source relative to the viewer;
  • what is the strength and character of the lighting - strong light or diffused, etc.;
  • aerial perspective - how objects are removed from each other;
  • how is the light and shadows on a flat and/or round objects, what angle are opposite to the light source;
  • where is the center of lighting is one of the items can be dealt with more actively than others and to obey the first;
  • as the details of the subject to the center of the light.


Relationship between tone and colour, it is the darkness or lightness of a color is always subject to the laws of colors, the dark color should not darken, and we determine the tone and relations with neighboring objects. Tone in art is incredibly important. According to the artist D. N. Kardovsky, painting color, taken in the tone.