Jan 14, 2016

Drawing Basics: The basics of light and shadow

Charcoal drawing of a fruit.
Drawing a realistic object begins with the understanding of how we visually perceive light and shadow and how these two work together to give us the sense of three-dimensional form. We can look at how light interacts with form and identify several distinct characteristics that appear in the scene.

It is through light and shadow that we see form or the three-dimensional representation of both the shape and volume of the object. We use this visual information created from the interplay of light and shadow on an object to understand the shape, size, and mass of that object. This is because light behaves consistently affecting every object in the same way, creating consistent patterns on the object. Our brains then interpret that pattern into a three-dimensional form.

Once we identify these characteristics we can use some basic principles as a guide to illustrate form realistically. If you understand how the light behaves then drawing a realistic object becomes easier. 

Let's look at the different elements or parts of the light patterns on the form.