How can I quickly paint dra­matic cast shad­ows?

Ques­tion

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation | Artist Q & A -

Wil­bur Hawthorn, US An­swer Tom replies

The great comic book artist, Wally Wood, once wrote, “Never draw any­thing you can copy, never copy any­thing you can trace, never trace any­thing you can cut out and paste up.” In­deed, there’s no need to make draw­ing and paint­ing any more dif­fi­cult than it al­ready is. Us­ing photo ref­er­ences, ap­ply­ing tex­tures di­rectly onto an ob­ject… th­ese are just two of the ways art soft­ware helps you to re­alise an im­age.

If I’m in any doubt as to the way shad­ows would fall in real life, I test them out with 3D pos­ing soft­ware. I mock up a quick scene from some pre­fab mod­els and prim­i­tive shapes and then I draw the fin­ished piece over the top. This keeps my shad­ows ac­cu­rate and en­ables me to fo­cus all my draw­ing at­ten­tion on the details that the reader is ac­tu­ally go­ing to see.

For this prison scene, work­ing out my light­ing in 3D saved me hours of work­ing out the lo­gis­tics of com­plex cast shad­ows. Al­though 3D tools can make cer­tain as­pects of the job eas­ier, a strong sense of com­po­si­tion and stag­ing are still re­quired for set­ting a scene.

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