Please help me to paint a stack of old books Frankie Glee­son, Ire­land

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Na­cho replies

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.

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