Light plays an important part in the human experience. The brain can see the world around it thanks to the light that is reflected off of various objects. The artist has to understand the principles of scattering and falling light across the surfaces. Because of this, we can construct various shapes on a 2-dimensional sheet of paper.

So, let’s take a closer look at the fundamentals of shadow and light within the field of visual art.

We can distinguish in a conditional manner two kinds of light: diffused and concentrated.

Concentrated light is characterized by its directivity. Light from bright sunlight or bulbs are examples of light that is concentrated. This kind of light enhances the contrast between shadows and light and permits you to track every gradation.

The diffused light, as opposed to focused light, does not possess a strong directivity. It is, for instance, the soft light that comes from windows or the sun’s light in the sky during the day that is cloudy. This light has less contrast and easier transitions between shadow and light.

Additionally, we can claim it is natural as well as artificial lighting. Natural light comes from the sun or moon, or sunlit clouds that cover the sky. Lighting that is artificial is the illumination of candles, torch and light bulbs, and car headlights.

Natural light emits straight, direct rays on objects. This is due to the fact that the moon and the sun are located at a considerable distance. Artificial lighting is a source of rays that diverge from a source of light through hand fans. It is important to note that artificial lighting is never concentrated.

The intensity of light depends on the strength of the source of light, the distance of the subject to the source of light, and the angle of light beams. Furthermore, the perception of light of an object is based upon the space between the object and the person viewing it. That means the further you are away from an object the less striking it appears. This was discussed in our post regarding an aerial viewpoint.

When drawing, it’s important to consider what physical attributes of the object or more specifically, its capacity to reflect and absorb light. Surfaces that are glossy and matte appear different when compared to the same lightning. The tone of objects is dependent on the characteristics of their surface as well as the strength of the color.



Tone refers to the proportion of dark and light values of an image. Tone densities are a designation used to define the darkness of an object. All aspects of it directly impact how the object appears under various lighting conditions.

Every object that is illuminated has a shadow, light, cast shadow, and light. The area that is illuminated by an object is referred to as light, while the unlit surface is called the shadow. Within the light area, there are three distinct areas: highlights, full light, and halftone.


Highlights are the brightest area of an object. The highlight is the reflection of an illumination source that has formed in the area of an object, where light rays of light fall perpendicularly. The intensity of the highlight is determined by the smoothness of the surface of the object. The more polished the surface, the more bright the highlight. Highly matt or porous surfaces don’t have highlights.

Halftones are the outer surface of an object that is lit at an acute angle, and close to the shadow of the core. The area that isn’t lit on the object is known as the shadow. The shadow that is at the core is the darkest portion of the shadow. It is situated closest to the halftone. The line of separation between shadow and light is referred to as the terminator.

A shadow that is cast by an object illuminated on the surface is known as a cast shadow. Its appearance shadow is influenced by how the object’s shape as well as the form of the object. Furthermore, the location that the source of light influences its appearance. shadow. If the light source is close to the object the shadow will grow when it is moved towards the object.

Alongside direct shadows and light objects can also be observed as a reflex. In simple terms, it is reflecting light that strips the shadow of its blackness. The strength of the reflex is determined by the surface on which it is reflected. Similar to highlights, the brighter your surface is, the more powerful the reflex.

The transitions between light and shadow are based upon the form of the object. When objects are round the transitions are extremely smooth, whereas, for objects with angles, these transitions are as precise as possible.

Because the spherical objects are rounded in shape and are rounded, transitions between light and shadows are smooth. The portion closest to the shadow that is closest to the center is darker than those that move away from the edges. The shadow cast by the ball is accentuated due to the reflection of the surrounding environment. The lower half that is the shadow of the ball has been diluted in color, which softens the edges of the shadow as well as the shadow cast.


The cone is large in its base that slowly tapers towards the top. This is why the transitions between light and shadow are smooth at the base, and sharper at the top. When the cone’s surface is closer to the light source the contrast between shadow and light gets more intense.


In contrast to rounded surfaces, angular ones have the ability to intersect planes and flat surfaces. These geometric figures have the shadows of the core coincide with the edges. Pay attention to the reality that, on such geometric shapes that are angular Tonal contrast can be increased at the edges of the different tonal surfaces.


Let’s examine light and shadow with a concrete illustration. As you can see, the darkest spot of the shadow is right below the ball. This is due to the fact that light, as well as reflexes, don’t fall into closed areas. Shadows cast by casts tend to be darker in comparison with shadows cast by objects. When the shadow gets further farther away from its object it gets lighter. The shadow cast by the shadow is lighter inside than on the edges.

It is also important to keep in mind that the nearest edge of the shadow is lighter than the distant. This is because of the previously mentioned aerial perspective.

When drawing, it’s essential to remember that the intensity of light decreases with the distance between the source of light and the object to be drawn. In this way, shadows get more luminous, while the light sources become darker and the contrast diminishes. This can help highlight highlights of objects in the foreground against the background, giving certain objects greater prominence than others.

As you can see that all of these concepts can be applied to basic geometric shapes. They serve as an example to ensure that all shadows and light are easily discernible. Understanding these basic principles is a breeze to draw even the most complicated objects using correct shadows.


All of these concepts are essential for artists. After mastering the art of drawing shadows correctly, you can draw any object with the most accurate and vivid appearance.

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