I made a video on this topic years ago when I started my youtube channel, but I think it’s time for an update.
First, I’m going to give you a brief overview of what shading and highlighting is and why artists do it. All shading and highlighting is adding a darker shade of your base color, shading, and a lighter tint, highlighting, in order to make a feature stand out, give something texture, or just give something more depth. If you're working with graphite, charcoal, or watercolor, your highlight may very well just be the white of the paper.
I’m going to go over some of my paintings and give you examples of how I used shading and highlighting.
As you can see, in my painting "Little Girl In Pink Satin, I added a darker shade around the sides of her nose and a lighter tint along her cheeks and philtrum. I added shine to her lips by painting bright white highlights along them. You can see how adding such bright highlights helps create shine even more in the bottom photo, which is a close up from my painting "Woman With Cabinet".
As for where to put your shading and highlighting, I really can’t tell you that because it will change every time. You really just have to study your reference photo or model closely. Speaking of reference photo, if you want to make a detailed painting or drawing with actual depth, it’s imperative that you photo you work from not be taken with a flash as that will blow all the details out and make everything look flat. That’s probably the reason why working from photos gets such a bad rap from art teachers.
That's all for now. I'll talk you again next time.
Like what you're reading? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get all my articles from that week delivered straight to your inbox. You'll also get a 10% discount off any purchase or commission from me of $100.00 or more, excluding bulk purchases.
Painter of portraits and wildlife