Learning 5 Things About Lighting Illustrations that Pros Don't Want You to Know by The Scout 4 years ago 4 min read Hey, guys! My name is Christopher Brown. I am a recent illustration graduate from Savannah College of Art and Design. I am currently working towards a career in the field of concept art and illustration. I have lately gotten into many different projects such as live action films, animations, VSFX shorts, stop-motion films and much more. I am very excited to be a part of these projects and future events that lay ahead in my career! I joined The Rookies because I believe that it is an awesome way for an upcoming artist to network, get great exposure, and obtain opportunities! My inspiration for this illustration was based on an action game that I love to play called Superfighters. It is an indie game that reminds me of the old retro games in the arcade and snes. I would like to show you my process of execution and provide tips on how to go about using color. Sketch It is always very important to come up with a decent sketch that will give you enough information to start executing the painting. Here you can see a drawing I created in my sketchbook. I did a few tries to get the sketch I wanted I mainly needed to nail the character. Masking Once I have the sketch, I bring it into Photoshop. I draw around the entire shape of the character and fill it using the lasso and magic wand tool. Afterward, I block in the local colors of the character by painting the areas with flat color. By doing this, I can easily go back and select parts of the character and paint with better edge control on a new layer. Be sure to label your layers! Whether you are working traditionally or digitally, it is a good idea to squint at your work. Lighting Before I start painting, I like to establish some lighting. I use soft light to suggest light and multiply for shadow. Using these layer types effect the local color more accurately when light or shadow is hitting the form. It is not a good Idea to set up two warm light sources if you are unsure how to light the image. After this, I selected individual portions of the character from the masking layer and started rendering. [!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_002-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_002.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_003-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_003.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_004-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_004.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_006-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_006.jpg)*click to enlarge* Color While further progressing I felt that the red light that was shining on the character was competing with the other yellow light source. It is not a good Idea to set up two warm light sources if you are unsure how to light the image. When in doubt it is better to use a warm and cool light source. I decided to go with a blue light source instead. It helped push the character further back in the space [!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_007-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_007.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_008-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_008.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_009-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_009.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_010-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/SUPERFIGHTER_010.jpg)*click to enlarge* Painting Though the rest of the process I blocked in other forms and painted inside of them using the masks. As I progressed, I kept making adjustments with the lighting to enforce an atmosphere. Finally, the finished painting! Here are some other illustrations where I have used the same process and approach to light and color. [!(/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_003-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_003.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_002-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_002.jpg)[!(/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_001-300x300.jpg)](/content/images/2016/07/example-illu_001.jpg) ## Additional Tips When painting try to think about the other light that is hitting the object you are painting. The color and tone of an object are often effected by light and color reflecting off of another surface. When choosing what colors to work with, there are many systems and rules that you can use. To make things a little simpler, any color can go well next to each other as long as the value of those colors are not exactly the same. This is what causes colors to compete and create contrast. If you are not aware of how you are applying this, it can cause unwanted or too much attention to areas in your image. Be sure to check your values often. Whether you are working traditionally or digitally, it is a good idea to squint at your work. It helps you see what is drawing your eye within the composition. If you are using Photoshop, you can also change the image to greyscale to check your values and flip your image to check proportions. Have fun with the work that you do! This is extremely important for every artist. If you are having fun with what you are working on then, you will be more inspired and try that much harder when creating your art! Thanks for reading! Read more posts by this author The Scout I'm part machine, part human, with a little sprinkle of unicorn tears thrown in to help me better understand the CG world.