It may seem confusing when artists talk about ‘tone’ but the term means simply light and dark.
The two extremes tones or contrasting values are Black and White.
‘Hue’ refers to colour.
Successful paintings will have tonal contrast in them, or a range of values.
A painting that has a ‘high-key’ means you have created tones that are extreme and ‘low-key’ means you will have a range of low tones.
Painting with only mid tones you run the risk of your painting being dull and flat.
Using tones that have a wide range of values will make your painting exciting and interesting.
To fully understand tone, take colour out of the equation and create a Gray Scale. You do this by using only Black at one end and White at the other and create all the gradational shades of Gray in between.
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