My latest course on shading explains how to create realistic lighting using Photoshop. The beautiful part is that the information taught in the course applies to any subject and any medium. The shading techniques course is more than a slick demo or a Photoshop tutorial. It’s core, fundamental principles and concepts of realistic light and shadow.
In this article, I’ll demonstrate how to apply shading techniques to a portrait. See video below for a portrait shading demonstration from a recent ‘Draw With Chris’ Livestream. Photoshop is the medium used in the video. Oil paint is used in the demo for the text version below.
For complete, step by step breakdown, read on…
Portrait Shading Process
STEP 1: Smart observation
The first step is to make careful observation of the subject. In this case we have a female model with beautiful high contrast lighting. This lighting is the best for practicing shading, rendering and edge control. For more on lighting models and choosing reference, see this article on good lighting and choosing good reference.
This image is perfect for studying and practicing shadow because of the beautiful high contrast light. The shadows are nice and dark and clearly defined.
One of the most important concepts to know and understand as a visual artist is that pictures, scenes and still images are arrangements of value; light, dark and gray shapes. It’s these light, dark and gray shapes that the human mind assembles as a cohesive picture.
Being able to see the world as shapes of value, especially colored shapes and objects, is a master skill to cultivate as a visual artist. It’s important to the artist because in order to compose and arrange shapes in our pictures, we must first see and understand their inherent grayscale value.
The most basic and abstract pattern of dark and light shapes (A) is the first ‘read’ the mind makes. This happens on a visceral, almost subconscious level. As more information is processed, like details and color, the mind can then assemble a more refined and sophisticated image (D).
How do we train our eyes to see the world in value? There are some very simple strategies we can use when we observe the world around us. The first step is to learn how to deal with color information.
To see these strategies in action, watch the video below or continue reading for the in-depth breakdown.
This is the handout from the ‘Planes of the Head’ lecture from the Live Concept Art Webinar. There’s also a critique of a student’s homework below. The assignment was to sculpt the simplified ‘Planar Model’. Thank you for all the great homework submissions. To join the live webinar or view past shows, visit the webinar page. Our next meeting will be this Tuesday, 11/13/12 @ 6:30pm.
Simplified Planar Model.
Critique of a student’s homework submission. Great job on the sculpt!
This tutorial demonstrates a rhythmical and gestural approach to laying in and drawing a head in 3/4 or side view. We will use the major thrusts, or gestures, and basic geometric shapes, like the “pie shape” to capture the head. This tutorial will show you how to add a lot of life, movement and dynamism to your head drawings.
There are 3 demonstrations in the video. The tutorial will take you through the entire head drawing process from start to finish. Topics include gesture drawing, construction and shading.
This approach is inspired by the work and teaching of Steve Huston, with a touch of Reilly Method. The static, text version of this tutorial can be found here:
A common approach to drawing the head from 3/4 or side view is to use a 2 step construction approach. The first step is to draw a ball for the cranium, followed by drawing the frontal plane and jaw. Below is an example by Andrew Loomis (Fig. 1).
This tutorial will introduce a more fluid and gestural approach to drawing the head. The focus is on the major gestures, or “thrusts” as Steve Huston refers to them, and their relationships to one another. We’re also want to keep our lay-in simple, by using geometric shapes. The first shape we will use is the “pie”.
This video is demonstrates how to construct the limbs (how the draw the limbs) during a figure quick sketch drawing. The video demonstrates basic figure construction of the arms and legs. Topics covered include gesture drawing, anatomy and landmarks. There are examples from 3 different poses. Narrated by the artist.