Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Drawing tutorial 04 - Light and Shadow (part1)

In the previous tutorial we hinted at the various effects lights and shadows can have on volumes. (QUI la versione in italiano)
I am not planning to do yet another tutorial on shadows and the theory of shadows themselves as you can
find thousands of explanations for how directional or point lights make objects cast shadows upon themselves and onto other objects.
I would like to spend some word on the term "shadow caster", mainly because it is wrong. Shadows are not projected, light is. So, we can define shadow as merely absence of light, the space in which light rays do not reach because they have been blocked by an occluding object or the area in which they have cancelled each other out.
Complete absence of light would produce a pure black shadow, but you usually always have a maybe tiny light source in everything you want to reproduce, so shadow will tend to be more or less darkened versions of existing colors.

Sometimes you will have harder shadows, some other time you will have smoother transitions between dark and bright areas although you will not have very wide smooth transitions ranges unless you are working with curved and opaque surfaces. This is why I tend to see shades of colors are tricky to work with sometimes, it is easy to smooth them out  bait too much and ruin the whole drawing's freshness. I think that following last week's advice of sub diving the volume we want to draw into various planes is helpful if you want to avoid falling into that trap. Give each plane a different shade of grey and draw dashed lines to create various textures and define your shadow: keep adding lines on the paper and make the pattern denser and denser to block the "light" out.
I would like to end this post with the pictures from the book "Trois Ombres" by Cyril Pedrosa.

Trois Ombres in which strokes and story fuse into a unique poem: the strokes change according to each scene's atmosphere, simply sketching shapes at times and drawing fine yet detailed outlines which scatter around the sheet of paper in other occasions.

Drawing tutorial 01 - Tutorial disegno 01
Drawing tutorial 02 - Tutorial disegno 02
Drawing tutorial 03 - Tutorial disegno 03

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