drawing Drawing Tutorial

Basics of drawing with Dramatic Light

In this drawing tutorial you will learn how to spice your pieces up by adding strong lights and shadows. Understand the concept of having a strong light source and how to add light and shadow to your object.

Tutorial category: drawing  
Tutorial type:
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Tools used: Can be done using anything.




Step 1

Today, we will use this generic character called Bob to understand how we can pull the power of light and shadow on our side and use it for our own evil purposes. Muhahaha.

Okay, what can we achieve by controlling the light?
1) Hide or show parts of - in this case - a face, in order to lead the eye of the beholder to where we want to have it/ we want not to have.
2) Intensify the expression/ atmosphere of a character/ scene.
3) Manipulate, distort and falsify the given, basic character/ scene.

So, do you understand now how powerful and evil this tool can be?
Then read on, my apprentice.


Step 2

In order to use the light properly you need to understand the threedimensionality of the object. Light and shadow flow around the surface, so you need to have the knowledge of the object's shape.

If you are familiar with 3D-modelling software it may be easier for you to understand.
Traditional modeling with clay can be helpful as well.

Umm, having at least a basic understanding of threedimensionallity is crucial for working with light and shadow. If you have trouble with it, perhaps you should practice it a bit before continuing.



Step 3

Here we have a rather straightforward light source from the right. Although the right part of the face is hidden in the shadow, the viewer can imagine how the complete face looks without much trouble.
Unless he has some scarry scar around his right eye hidden there... Which will be shown in the next step!!


Step 4

Or not.

Well, the light source has gone quite high, so his eyes can't be seen at all. His look and expression aren't clear anymore. You can't even tell with certainty whether he is serious, sorrowfull, angry or sleeping right now!


Step 5

The same as before, however I decided to do the shadows with hatching. His facial features are more apparent now.
Oh, I forgot to shade the ear :P .
Oh well.



Step 6

Now this is evil XD !
I don't think i have to say much about this kind of good ol' light trick.


Step 7

An obstacle between the light source and the character can be used to concentrate on a specific part of it. Also, it gives off a mysterious feeling.


Step 8

Positioning the light source behind the character leaves only the silhouette. Of course, this makes only sense when the character can be identified with only the contours.
Also, its good not to use this technique more than absolutely necessary (actually this applies to most of the other techniques as well).

Some last bits of advice: always think about the idea of your scene and then use the light accordingly. Don't rely on heavy shadowing too much, don't use it because you are too lazy or unconfident to draw the details.
If you draw a comic, don't just change the light source from panel to panel because it would suite the current situation. Define the lights positions and strenght clearly.


Step 9

Ah, the final step. Here's a bw-photo-like-effect.
The trick here is simply not to draw the contours. You have to accentuate the places where the shadows are dense and just leave the parts where more light shines on.
Now go and kick some asses with this techniques, my apprentice XD !

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