Pencil value drawing of a male's facial profile that appears to be wearing vintage flight headgear. In this work Aiken gives the illusion of mass to the otherwise flat figure by focusing on the contrast of light and dark tonal values within the subjects face. Aiken's illusion is interrupted by his use of a strong outer contour line, which is usually avoided in value drawing. Practicing pencil value drawings like this one would have been very beneficial to Aiken because the technique helps painters apply the principle of value and tones to their paintings, which creates more visual interest. The back of this drawing features twelve thumbnail sketches that appear to be of no relation to the composition on the reverse side.
James Aiken Collection, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution, transferred from the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.