Set your lighting, paint your shadows
Along with your preliminary sketches, work out your lighting source or sources before you start to paint. This step is pretty important: not only does the lighting dictate the type and direction of your shadows, but it’ll also set the mood for your piece.
January 2016 In this case I’m using a primary lighting source and a back or rim light for dramatic effect. When using more than one light source, it can be simpler to work out the shadows, shapes and highlights one light source at a time, preferably starting with your primarily light source. Although I usually paint my shadows as I go along, in Photoshop it can be helpful to create a test layer above your body’s paint layer, set it to Overlay or Multiply, and test paint (usually with a midtone olive brush) shadow shapes and appearance until you’re happy with them.