OCAD Studio: Types of Lighting

Here are the six main types of lighting that you will use when making representational art. In this case I’ve focused on a portrait bust but the same principles apply with other subject matter.

Each direction of light creates a different effect, so I have explained them below. If you have any questions about selecting and setting up a light source, please let me know.

Frontal Lighting

Subjects lit from the front will not have many shadows so it can be more difficult to make them look 3D. If you want an image that looks like it is flooded with light this is a good choice.

Three-quarter Lighting

This is probably the most common type of lighting, particular for portraits. It provides enough shadows for you to make the subject look 3D without it being too dark. The light is generally placed at a slight angle to the front of the face, and low enough that there is some light shining on the eyes.

Side Lighting

Lighting from the side will split the subject into a light half and a dark half. This is dramatic but can make for a flat looking image. It is a good choice if you want a more graphic effect.

Lighting from Below

A subject lit from below will look, unnatural, dramatic and mysterious. It makes us think of ghost stories and candlelight. It looks unusual because people and objects are almost always lit from above, whether by sunlight, or artificial lights.

Lighting from Behind

A light source placed behind the subject will make it into a silhouette. There will still be some light that spills into the form from the edges though, so it pays to be observant when working from a scene that is lit in this way.

Lighting from Above

A figure lit from directly above will have deep shadows under the brow and nose. This means that it can be hard to see the eyes, which often makes it an undesirable set up for portraits. This kind of lighting is commonly seen at midday when you’re outdoors.

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

OCAD Studio: Basics of Form

What is Form?

In the context of representational drawing and painting, a form is anything that is 3D in your artwork. It could as simple as a ball, or something as complicated as a human figure.

Form drawings use a combination of light shapes and shadows shapes to create the illusion of an object being 3D. This explanation and accompanying video lesson will introduce how you can go about separating the light shapes and shadow shapes in your drawings, before adding simple halftones.

Light Shapes and Shadow Shapes:

How do you decide what is a light shape and what is a shadow shape?

Light shapes can be found anywhere that the light source is hitting directly. Everything else in your drawing is a shadow shape. There are two types of shadows; cast shadows and form shadows. These two different types of shadows happen for different reasons:

Cast shadows occur when one object in a scene blocks the light source from hitting another object. For instance, when we are standing in direct sunlight we cast a shadow of ourselves onto the ground. This happens because the light from the sun is blocked by our bodies as it travels towards the ground. Cast shadows often have sharper edges than form shadows.

Form shadows are a part of the object; like when the sun is shining on a ball and one-half of the ball is dark and the other side is light. The part of the ball that is in dark is a form shadow.

Halftones:

Halftones are grouped into the lights, so when you begin a drawing you leave them out and just focus on separating the shadows from the lights. Halftones are the in-between values that connect your shadow shapes to your lights shapes. They help to show what kind of form the object is. If a form is round like the sphere below, the halftones will change gradually, whereas a more angular form will have more abrupt halftone changes.

 

Check out the accompanying video lesson and exercise. Let me know if you have any questions.

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART