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Value involves light and dark in a design.  It is perhaps the only element required for a work of art.  (If there is only one value, then there is no picture.)

Value is affected by the direction and intensity of a light source.   It creates surface modeling and casts shadows. The contrast between light and dark is known as chiaroscuro.  Extreme chiaroscuro is sometimes called tenebrism.

For more about value check Visual Literacy and Chalkboard.