How to Draw Shadows

Introduce depth and realism to your drawings with shadows. It all starts with "seeing the light."

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Up next in How to Draw for Beginners (40 videos)

Learn how to draw with the drawing lessons in this Howcast video series.

You Will Need

  • Ball
  • Light source
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Arrange ball and light source

    Place a ball on a table where it will receive direct artificial or natural light from a single direction.

  2. Mark your paper to indicate the direction of the light source to help position shadows.

  3. Step 2

    Examine light tones on the ball

    Look closely at the ball and identify the shadows, highlights, and mid-tone areas.

  4. Step 3

    Draw ball and shade

    Draw the ball and shade it gray. Look for shadow shapes on the ball and shade these areas with the darkest tones.

  5. Use the side of your pencil lead to add tones, applying or releasing pressure to control tone levels.

  6. Step 4

    Add highlights

    Create highlights on the ball by erasing to define the light areas you observe.

  7. Step 5

    Add cast shadow

    Draw the ball's cast shadow created by blocked light, and then shade it lightly. Now that you know the secret to shadowing, remember, life is not all black and white.

  8. Did you know? Shadow puppetry is an ancient performance art in which two-dimensional figures cast shadows onto a lighted screen to tell a story.

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