Bright Lights Deep Shadows

This week’s prompt for Illustration Friday is “Shadow”.  My entry for this topic is low concept, but much more focused on execution.

I started with a more complicated premise for the picture, but the second figure wasn’t really working: neither conceptually nor compositionally: the balance was way off.

Sometimes when things are difficult, the right thing to do is work through the problem until it’s solved and you’ve gained some sort of new insight.  At other times, I’m convinced the true wisdom is in identifying when a cause is lost, cutting said losses, and moving on.  How many times have I pressed for hours on a picture that just wasn’t coming together, only to give up eventually anyway, after a lot of extra wasted time.

The second figure was removed, and attention turned to getting some good shadow effects.  Inspiration was provided by the luscious luminous coloring of the sci-fi illustrations on Seventy Percent Ethanol (please give her a visit).  She’s got a way of turning up the intensity of the shadow color near the border where the dark meets the light.  It’s just exquisite.  My first foray into this technique is a successful start toward the sublime precedent set.


Beside the intense lighting effects, attention was paid to the shapes of the color blocks and the lines.  Well, they’re a little less sketchy than my usual digital technique.

The drawing started much the same way that most of mine do: a freehand sketch using a fairly large brush setting.  After that, I whittled away at the resulting lines, trying to amplify the inherent qualities of the marks.  It results in a more deliberate looking, crisper drawing.  This doesn’t appear to have come at the expense of a spontaneous feeling.

What are your thoughts?  What lurks in the vibrant shadows of this guy’s soul?

This entry was published on November 25, 2013 at 11:06 pm. It’s filed under Bold Color, Digital Drawing, Drawings, Figures, Illustration Friday, Style, The Artistic Process and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Bright Lights Deep Shadows

  1. I like that contrasting light/shadow atmosphere. Lightning colors make me think there’s a light down the guy because of the angle on background but shadows on his body don’t show that way. So, are you trying to show up the shadows as being there by themselves?

    • I wasn’t thinking about it quite so specifically, to be honest. That said, I imagine the light source originating from slightly behind the subject’s nearer shoulder, but high up. It’s a strong, fairly focused beam of light (like a spot) that hits the boy near his shoulder, but hits the nearby wall just about midway down the boy’s back. Basically, picture a floodlight aimed down at him from a very high vantage point.

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