UNDERSTANDING LIGHTING

An important aspect of drawing—especially when drawing people—is lighting the subject. Lighting can have a dramatic effect on the figure’s appearance, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer and setting the mood of the drawing. Subtle lighting often is associated with tranquility and can make a subject appear soft and smooth. This type of lighting tends to lighten the mood, generally lending a more cheerful feel to the composition. On the other hand, strong lighting makes it easier to see the contrasts between light and dark, which can add drama and make the subject appear more precisely formed. Longer shadows can mute the mood of a portrait, producing an air of pensiveness. Here strong shadows on the subject’s ...

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