Monday, May 20, 2013

Light and Shadows: A Simple Battery Door Design

I thought I'd have a little fun with some really simple shadows and highlights today.  So, I made this quick battery access door on my leg!  ;-)


Battery door!
The basic principles here can be applied to really every design you do. The trick to getting it to look real is really just a matter of shadow placement.  When I painted this, I was imagining the light source coming from the upper right corner.  Any edge or face that faces that corner then gets a highlight, and the opposite edges/corners get shadows.  If you are having trouble visualizing it, grab one of your kids' toys and hold it by a direct light source and look where you see highlights and shadows.  After all, real life is the best reference for realistic paintings!
Step by step
So for the door I started with just a black line.  Next I added highlights with a light flesh color, a little lighter than my skin.  Next I added the little depressed area where your finger can catch the battery lid.  This was just a half circle with a shadow on the top and highlight on the bottom. 

Note that if you flipped those, it would appear to be bumping out, not in.  This is the importance of shadow/highlight placement!  Finally, I added some white "hot spots" on some corners.

For the screws, I start with a flat gray circle.  Next, I pick up just a little Kryolan black and brush on a shadow around the bottom left side of the screw head.  3rd, I'll create the shadow that is cast by the screw onto the skin.  I use Kryolan black for this too.  To get a nice, soft, gradual shadow, I will lay down some black first.  Then I'll rinse my brush, just get it a little wet, and then carefully scrub the edge of my line to re-activate the paint and feather it out.  4th, I added a hot spot with Wolfe white, and finally, the Phillips head "x" shape with wolfe black.  Notice how slightly curving the lines, rather than a straight-on "+" sign, gives it more of an illusion of depth and roundness.

I have totally fallen in love with Wolfe black and white, and ALMOST totally replaced my Kryolan with Wolfe.  But, I keep my Kryolan black on hand still because it works great for light shadows, like I did here and on my 3-D spider.  It behaves a little more like a watercolor paint, enabling you to control the shade, whereas Wolfe seems to be consistently super duper solid black.  One of the many reasons you'll see professional painters with several blacks and whites in their kit...different brands do different things!

And speaking of different brands, I am excited to say that my first big shipment of Paradise Makeup AQ is on it's way, and should be available for purchase in the shop very soon! Stay tuned!  :-)

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