How to Shade a Still Life

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Shading a still life drawing requires you to use a very particular technique to stay true to the style of the image. Shade a still life drawing with help from an experienced graphic designer and illustrator in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Drawing & Art
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Video Transcript

Hi, everyone. My name is Gene, I'm an Illustrator and Graphic Designer. I've been working in the industry for about 15 years. And today, we're going to look at some techniques for shading a still life. So, get out those apples and candles and let's get started. Alright, so let's get into shading a still life. Now, two things that I want you to keep in mind and those are cast shadows and shade. Okay. So, cast shadows are any shadow that is specifically there in that place because there's a light directly on the other side. So, in this case, in this still life, our light source is on this side and it's a, one of those office light, so it's shining down in this direction. Okay. So, any cast shadows are going to be directly opposite that. So, cast shadows are things that, that you think of typically as, "Oh, look it's my shadow". Okay. So, in this case, the cast shadow comes down here. We're just going to draw a, a just like quick construction line from the light source directly to the object and in this case, the, the candle and the apple are close to each other. So, we have shadows, there's a little sliver of, of light right here but not much and then, this one goes out here and kind of fades out and our apple kind of looks like this. Okay. So, these are cast shadows. Now, for cast shadows, usually, the cast shadow is going to be darker than the shade. And the shade, whatever that, the shade is, whatever side of your object is against, or excuse me, on, is opposite the light is going to be darker than the side that is against the light. So, anything on this side of the apple is going to be darker than anything on that side of the apple because this is where the light is being cast. So, you can see I have a couple of construction lines here just to give you an idea of where the, the roundness of the apple sort of takes over. And I'm just going to give this a, a very simple shade on this side and one of the things to keep in mind is the further away from the light source you get with the shading of the apple, and I've, I have to apologize my pencil is kind of crapped here, but the further away you get from the light source, the darker the shading is going to be. So, in this case, I'm actually going to give myself another construction line so that I know that this area that's further away is going to be darker than the area that's closer up. And on that same note, cast shadows operate on exactly the same fashion; the further away you get from your object, the more light is dispersed around the object and the lighter it's eventually going to be. So, in this case, you can see the second ring here and I'll blend these together a little bit later, but the second ring here is a little bit lighter and I'm just going to come back in here and darken up the further side, blend the middle a little bit together. Give it a little bit of line width on the outside, just sort of just to define the apple a little bit more. And that was probably a little too much, but I, I did it a little more so you can see on the camera. Anyway, so there you go. The further away from your light source, the darker it is and the same thing with your cast shadows. The further away from your light source, or it should be, it's the opposite with the cast shadow, the further away from your light source, the lighter it is with cast shadows because there's more light dispersing around your object at that point and more light can get through. So, we're going to darken it up right around the bottom here and just sort of fade it out as we go along. Another thing you can do to give it depth is along the candle that we have here on the table, you can see that the side that is not facing your light source is a little bit in shadow, whereas the other side is more defined by it's, it's shadow causing here. And the reason that is because obviously, if I've already draw this end, the light is shining on this side of the drip. So, you're not actually going to get anything over there, what you're going to have is we're only going to have shadow on the drips that are away from the light. So, there you go, two quick little things to remember when you're shading a still life. Alright, so those are just some simple things that you have to remember when you're shading a still life. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and thanks for watching.


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