Light and Shadow in your art
Light and shade go hand in hand and can never be separated.
Light creates shadows which clearly define shapes and allow us to see the forms of objects and their boudnaries.
An artist must observe the amount of light and a shade found in an object and translate that into graphic black and white art or as tones of gray or color.
It is good to start off thinking of five main tones:
Obviously the eye can see millions of tones and you can create them as well, however can you really wrap your mind around drawing millions of tones? Easier to start with five simple categories.
The best practice is to start drawing an egg. It has no color and forces you to see white, gray or black and more importantly to start thinking in terms of tones and values. Create different lighting conditions for your still life drawings.
You will notice that the surface getting the brightest light will be the lightest. The surface that doesn't face the light source will be the darkest.
With the egg and any curving surface there is a gradation of tone. Irregular shapes on objects will have have clearly defined edges between the different planes.
Now let's talk about light source. Normally the main light is coming form the top and it will be either the sun or a ceiling light. With that as a standard let's start thinking of light direction in 5 categories:
- Front - even light
- Back - Directly behind object creating a silhouette.
You replace bottom with top light as needed when it's the main source.
Always have one light source in your panel. in order to avoid inconsistent light sources draw a little sun in pencil with an arrow to remind yourself of the light source.
Another way to keep it consistent is to remember as one of my mentors (Bob Layton) says "The nose knows." When you place the shadow on the nose to the right then all the shadows in the panel will fall to the right.
Continue your own studies on this subject.
to be continued…
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Copyright 2016 H. Simpson
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