Tonal in Professional Concept Art

Video games are my go to place to see some amazing artwork. I will post a few images from digital art books I have which I feel represent tone to me.

This screenshot is from “The Art of The Last of Us” (book details at end of page), it clearly defines how tone and colour work  harmoniously together. There is not a successful colour piece that doesn’t also work well if changed to greyscale.

The image on the left is the original, the one on the right I have desaturated in photoshop. As we have been learning in class, if a piece of art works in greyscale it will work in colour.


Working in tonal also helps when trying to focus on composition/mood. As seen in the tonal example above, the composition is extremely strong. Colour, in my opinion should be one of the last stages of making an image.


Again another image above I have desaturated; taken from my digital book “Art of Remember Me”. The image clearly works well in greyscale as it does in colour. When looking at the coloured image it has a limited colour palette, the harmonious tonal range allows for this.

Thumbnail Sketching

Conánn introduced us to two useful books, one being ‘How to Draw, the other ‘Art Fundamentals’. Both of them are great. There was a part in how to draw which had a paragraph and a few pictures on the topic of thumbnail sketching. This is something I’ve always done after being first introduced to the idea through the Digital Painting, ImagineFX magazines. It allows for a broader view of what your image is communicating from a good distance.

Here is a photograph I have taken from the book and also an excerpt…


“It just feels natural to sketch environments using a bit of value. This is because one of the best ways to perceive depth is through atmospheric perspective.”  It also explains that the “progression of value contrast, with the most contrast (the brightest and darkest values)”, are in the foreground. “All of these values lessen as the amount of atmosphere increases with distance. this principle can be applied to sketches in a loose and simple way to give environments extra depth. Look at the value contrast in these thumbnail sketches, and note how it makes them feel more realistic.”



– (Excerpt taken from “How to Draw: Drawing and Sketching Objects and Environments from your Imagination” by Scott Robertson with Thomas Bertling, Design Studio Press15 Nov 2013.)

-The Art of Remember Me – 28 May 2013 by Aleksi Briclot, Published by Darkhorse

-The Art of The Last of Us – 18 June 2013 by Naughty Dog Studios, Published by Darkhorse


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