Learning how light and shadow work to define a 3D form in a 2D space can dramatically improve the overall appearance of your artwork. Painting, drawing, photography, and even sculpting all call upon an understanding of light. Whether you draw around negative space, or erase to create highlights and different tones, a strong command of shading will lend to the ‘wow’ factor that artists strive for.
In the world of photography, many people use the Zone System to determine how much detail both the highlights and shadows will have. In the studio an artist must also understand how to light a subject in a manner that will create the lines, shapes, and tones they wish to convey in the final piece.
Photographs that do not have proper contrast from light to dark are often referred to as 'flat', ‘blown out’, or as having too much contrast. Other forms of traditional artwork begin to shift in perspective and depth if the shading is incorrect. As a general rule light and shadow should be portrayed in a semi-realistic manner. However, as with all rules of art, sometimes a piece requires a complete departure from what is generally held as standard to accomplish what the artist intends.
Various techniques are used to shade, such as hatching, cross-hatching, pointillism, and subtractive shading. Many traditional artists have become famous for their use of light and shadow, using unique means to express the subtleties of form and light that others had not utilized.
This week, Let's examine some fine examples of Shading!
Until next week, Shadows, Learn, Educate and Inspire! /HellOnAStick
Apr 23rd, 2011