What’s the proper way of creating a leather-clad lady?
Chris Egan, Cayman Islands
Some leathers are heavily sanded down during the manufacturing process to remove imperfections, and others keep the original grain. This is one of the most important things to consider before painting, because how reflective an object is has a profound effect on the light and shadows that move across it.
Some leathers are so dull (in terms of surface texture) that light falls on them the same way it would across cotton. Others, like patent leather, are more stiff and shiny. The more glossy the finish, the less light will follow the form principle (where light appears on any surface that has no obstruction between it and the source). Instead, light will appear as distorted reflections of its source and be generally less prevalent.
Not surprisingly, painting leather is quite similar to painting skin. Feel free to start however you like, but I generally put the mid-tone down first, then paint on the deepest shadows, and lastly add in the light. Not only does this keep the painting process straightforward, but I think the result also tends to look nicer.