Please help me to paint a stack of old books Frankie Gleeson, Ireland
In this close-up of a wizard’s untidy parlour, the first thing I would suggest doing is to figure out how a stack of books reacts to light. To do this you’ll need to understand its basic structure. So think of the scene in simple terms. A stack of books is a pile of boxes, so if you light them from the upper left, the top sides would be highlighted, the front would be in light and the right-sided ones in shadow. I set up a basic scenario with some books and a couple more elements that will help to support the dusty, aged setting.
I draw the stack of books as a simple pile of boxes first, trying to get the three-point perspective right (use a grid if you need it). I don’t like all the books aligned neatly, so I slightly rotate some of them to give the image a more natural, casual look. Remember that each book may cast a shadow on to the one underneath.
Once I have the basic lighting right, I continue rendering out the details. Put some scratches close to the edges of the book covers and some stains on the pages. Some ripped and tattered edges help add to the fantasy atmosphere.
Another good tip is that old book covers tend to bend slightly at the edges, so try to avoid lines being too straight, especially when you paint the stack’s silhouette.
Realism comes from a good depiction of lighting, so the better you get at
this, the more real the stack of books will look.
Thinking of the stack as a pile of boxes may help to understand how the perspective and the lighting should be applied to the scene.