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Tutorial: Shadows
Light and shade are an important part of rendering a realistic object. Here are some tips and tricks that I've learned over the years - they may come in handy for your own artwork!

Posted by Jake Romano Published See Jake Romano's 7 projects »
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  • How to make a drawing. Tutorial: Jake Draws Shadows - Step 1
    Step 1

    Okidoke, here are the basics to light and shadow. I think the most important thing to remember here is how even on the dark side of the object there is a reflective shadow. Mostly everything reflects light back which makes a more realistic surface.

  • How to make a drawing. Tutorial: Jake Draws Shadows - Step 2
    Step 2

    We wouldn't have shadows without light! Here are some notes you can keep in mind. When light is stronger shadows become harsher. If your light source is the sun and it's setting or rising, then shadows will be loooooong. It's also kind of fascinating that if you stand outside on a cloudy day you will hardly see any shadow at all! That's because the clouds are absorbing the light and reflecting it around you.

  • How to make a drawing. Tutorial: Jake Draws Shadows - Step 3
    Step 3

    Shiny surfaces are tricky because they don't reflect light like normal objects. When light hits a reflective surface, the lines between values become more distinct, and there is a sharper gradation of light and dark. With typical non-reflective objects, shadows and light are somewhat softer when they transition.

  • How to make a drawing. Tutorial: Jake Draws Shadows - Step 4
    Step 4

    More objects! Each of these items react differently to light. For example, cylinders will have a smooth gradation along it's circular surface while cubes maintain sharp contrast where two surfaces meet. When shading cloth, keep in mind there are a lot of cast shadows occurring between folds and wrinkles.

  • How to make a drawing. Tutorial: Jake Draws Shadows - Step 5
    Step 5

    Shading faces can be a challenge, but if you think of a face as a collection of simpler objects it isn't such a daunting task! Now you're on your way!

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