I See The Light – Light Source


Jennifer Dove’s Copic Corner
The most common mumbling I hear is “I can’t seem to get the light source right.” You are not alone in this. There are a few tools available to use if you weren’t blessed with the capability of “seeing” the light source automatically when you look at an image. Let’s start by getting our own “tool,” and then we will talk about using it. You will want three pieces of acetate or projector sheets that will go through your printer (if using a laser printer make sure it’s laser printer compatible or it will melt). Go to the right of my blog freebies and print out the templates onto clear acetate. These will be used as guides when trying to figure out coloring with light source. You can hand draw them, but this will save you time.
Now that we are all set, let’s start talking about a few different light source characteristics. Light and shade forms the dimension of an object. Without these your images would appear flat. Every object should have a part of which would be your lightest shade, darkest shade, and the medium or intermediate tint of that color in order for a smooth blend. The brightest part of your object is the part that the light falls on directly. The darkest part of the object is the one that falls opposite to the brightest part where the light would not hit. This is not the same as what would be called the drop shadow or cast shadow. The drop shadow, or cast shadow, is the shadow that is cast off from the image where the light has been blocked.
Light from the sun is not direct. You do not get a direct beam of light but more radiated light. Determine the direction the light will radiate from. Place the Arial Grid over you image. Where the grid lines first hit the image will be the brightest, lightest or highlighted area; and where it exits will be the shadow, or darkest area. When I am all finished coloring the image, I will come back and place the drop shadow. Drop shadows, or cast shadows, are not blended out. In the image, look at the entrance and exit marks. I have separated some of these sections to give you an idea of what you will look for to determine highlights and shadows on your image.
Light, such as from a lantern or a candle, usually radiates out on all sides from the source. With images such as these, you will want to use the Radiating Light Source Grid. You will use it similar to the Aerial Grid, but as you can see there are different lines to follow. You would use the straight lines the same way, but the circular ones closest to the light source show the brightest areas, and as they get farther from the image, they become more muted. Let’s look at the picture to get a better idea.
How about if we are creating an image where the light is more concentrated but radiates outwards from a single spot of origin, like a flashlight or flood light? You will use the Single Light Source Grid. Again, where the lines first hit the object will be brighter and more vivid. The further away the lines get, the colors will become more muted, or have more gray tones to it. It is similar to the radiating light except there will be very little light cast behind the light source as it is concentrated within the beam onto the image.
Experiment with light source and your blending. Over the next several months, I will be showing you ways to use this information. Here is an image using the light source techniques. Can you determine the light source direction?
I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of information!  If you share this tutorial please make sure my name is included!  I appreciate it.
Jennifer Dove
DoveArt Studios
Copic Certified Designer


4 thoughts on “I See The Light – Light Source

  1. Fantastic tutorial, I'll be coming back here every time I colour and image lol. You've made it look easy, but I'm sure I'll need to practice forever. Great cards. Hugs lin

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