Saturday, June 11, 2011

Highlights & Shading - Using a Light Source Template

I love this image... I used the light study guide from Marianne Walker's book to help with the placement of highlights and shadows on this image. I am teaching highlights and shadows in many Southern California stores.. check my calendar or email me for the class closest to you.

The finished project shown first is just repeating the same steps as described below for each part of the image IE: hair, jeans, shirt, dog etc...
In the first small photo, you can see the light source guide placed on top of the image. I used a light piece of removable adhesive so that I would not have to figure out the placement each time I lifted the template.
Before starting to color any image, I suggest that you study the photo to determine where you are wanting your light source to come from. Take into consideration the face or main focus of the image... normally you would want to have your highlight on the most important portion of the image. In this case, I wanted the light source to come from my upper left. If I had the light coming from behind the boy, they face of both the boy and dog would have been shaded rather than highlighted.

1. lay light source guide over image with the lines running the direction of your light source. Use a bit of removable adhesive so that the template will not shift placement when you lift to color on your image. I make sort of a hinge with the adhesive so that I can repeat lifting the template and replace it repeatedly.
2. I mark my template with a yellow marker everywhere I believe the light is going to hit first. That is where the color is going to be the lightest or have the most white. Then I used blues to determine where I am going to place my shading and shadows. Obviously the shading is going to be darkest where the light hits last or indirectly. IE: the back side of his jeans. The Cast shadow is also shown in gray. Note the cast shadow is the area where there is grayness cast onto another subject (ground) due to the image blocking the light.
3. I then color each portion of the image individually. I start with the lightest color first and try to work on a damp surface. I add my mid tone, and then add my shading color. Using less of each color as I go darker. I then blend out my colors using the lighter color. IE: b91, B93, B95 I would use B91 to blend where the B91 & B93 join, yet I would use the B93 to blend where the B93 and B95 join together.

Using a light study guide helps me keep my highlights and shading consistent rather than randomly all over the place.... LOL which I often do when I am not using a guide. I have to make myself use a guide, because using one seems like such a bother to use... LOL.. but the outcome is so worth the few minutes it takes to get started.
Image: Penny Black (love it)
Colors used:
Hair & Fur: YR31, E30, E35, E37
Denim: B91, B93, B95 B000, Blender
Shirt: YR31, Y35, Y38 and a bit of YR68
Face: E000, E11, E04
Grass: YG21, YG23, YG25, and a bit of YG63 using my dots & doodles technique.
Baseball: N1, N3, N5
Bandana, R21, R22, R27, R59
Shoes: N1, N3, N5 & a bit of N7
Sky: B000 (colored not airbrushed)

Have fun!
Colorful Hugs to Everyone!


  1. Fantastic! I am still working on this...I tend to overwork my highlights but, slow but sure it is getting better. Love your card!

  2. This is fabulous!! Thanks for the information. I am trying to learn this as well. I'll have to get the book. Your card and coloring is AMAZING!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I just received the Copic Coloring Guide and saw your card. I popped over and I am glad I did to see the usage of the grids from Shadows & Shading. This was a huge help. TFS!

  4. Fantastic colouring wish you were my next door neighbour!

  5. Gorgeous work! :) Thanks for the tutorials/tips and for joining the Copic Creations Challenge!

  6. Jennie, your Copic doodled grass enhances this image nicely. So glad to see your entry at Copic Creations. ~ Rose

  7. Hi Jennie! This looks great! So much depth and interest. I picked up the Shadows and Shading book the other day and can't wait to start applying the techniques. Love how you added texture to the grass and the dog's fur. Fabulous work! Thanks for joining the current challenge at Copic Creations! Hugz, Cheryl

  8. Thank you soooo much for this post. I purchased the Shading Book with the templates, but I wasn't clear on how to actually use them. Now I get it!

  9. love this sweet card! Am not familiar with the templates. Do they come with the copic guide? I like the YG93, 91,and 99 colors. Would love to win the book!

  10. Thanks so much for the quickie tutorial on how you use the highlighting/shading tool. I've seen it used before on YouTube, but for some reason the way you did it "clicked" in my mind. Now my questions are 1 - are you using Copics to color on the tool and 2 - if so, does it come off the tool with alcohol?

  11. Beautiful colouring and shading on the image Sue and I just love this stamp. I have one of the originals for years ago and was so pleased the re-introduced in as a slapstick.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Penny Black and More this month, good luck and hope to see you again.

    B x

  12. This is gorgeous and a great Tut.
    Thanks for sharing with us at Penny Black & More this month and hope to see you again.
    Lynn x

  13. So cute and great creation. Thanks for joining Penny Black & More @ Allsorts challenge, good luck
    Happy crafting
    Tracy x