6 Tips on How to Improve Light and Shadow in Drawing

LightArt / March 16, 2021

With just 3 of these 6 tips on how to improve light and shadow in drawing, I was totally able to improve my drawings in a short time.

What if I told you that it is totally possible to improve the light and shadow in your drawings just by following a few tips?

Then keep reading and I will give you not only 1 but 6 tips to start applying today!

Materials

One of the first tips on how to improve light and shadow in drawing is to know what materials to use. For the study of light and shadow initially I will recommend that you have at least a 6b graded pencil on hand. With it you can go from a very light gray to total black, just by using the right pressure in your hand.

It is also important to have a sheet of paper with a weight of at least 90. If you can get one with a higher grammage, it will be even better.

Study with Simple Things

Start by studying with simple objects. Be it simple shapes like cubes, spheres, pyramids, etc… up to jars, vases, bottles, etc. This will help you better understand how light and shadow behave.

Observation Design

This is an essential study not only for light and shadow, but for everything in drawing. So my tip is that you observe the objects in your house, how light and shadow behave if placed at different angles and also with different light sources.

Understand the Concept of Light and Backlight

Learn how reflected light happens and how it works in the drawing application. So in the process I recommend that you do a good study just on this. And exercise a lot to fix it in your brain.

Use Black and White Photo References

A tip that will help you further in this study is to use black and white photos. You can also change the photo to black and white by adding a filter with a photo editor.

This helps you to better see the shade of the drawing and where you should apply it.

Make the Same Design with the Spotlight in Different Places

Let’s say you get a magic cube to do the observation study that I talked about earlier, and also remember the tip about studying with simple things.

If you have a light fixture it will be even better, so take this cube and place it somewhere so that the focus of the light comes from above the cube and take a picture from several different angles. Then change the focus of the light to the left side and do the same, then to the right, and so on… You can play a lot with this exercise, which makes it interesting and fun to do. It is also nice to do the same thing with the light from candles, lanterns, etc. Each type of light, and depending on the color, will make different shadows.

List of Tips on How to Improve Light and Shadow:

What Materials to Use
Studying with Simple Objects
Drawing from Observation
Understand the Concept of Light and Backlight
Use Black and White Photo References
Make the Same Drawing with the Spotlight in Different Places