Value design: Notan

There are two sides to dealing with value. 

1.Value as an element of rendering/realism: Chiaroscuro.

2.Value as an element of pure design: Notan. 

Nōtan (濃淡) is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark elements as they are placed next to the other in the composition of art and imagery

Notice in the following Japanese prints value is used almost exclusively as a design element and not a way to demonstrate realism.

The goal in value design is to create (approximately) 3 interlocking shape and that also form 3 interlocking values and which are set in a clear hierarchy:

A great way to improve at designing with Notan is to compose quick compositions in which you set your values in the hierarchy mentioned above and in which you completely avoid shading. 

An example of my own Notan explorations as as a student.