This blog...

...was initially for pieces done on a computer, but has since become a free-for-all. Here you'll find process work (digital and otherwise), sketch pages and studies, sometimes with commentary.

You can see the rest of my work here.

Remember kids : if you can't make pretty designs, at least make pretty lines!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Avoid Half" - shadows

The following philosophy comes courtesy of my art lead, the knowledgeable and versatile Arnold Tsang. I asked him how he plans his shadows and he said, "Basically, you want to avoid cutting the image in half." "Avoid half" has since become my mantra in many areas. You can see how, in the example below, it looks better when you give an object over to light (left) or to shadow (center) instead of something uncomfortably in between (right).

Notice, too, that doing this creates a more readable pattern when you squint. I used to think lighting choices were arbitrary, or that you had to slavishly calculate how light rays fell, but (at least for non-realist illustrators) not so! You have to make a DESIGN DECISION based on what you think will make the most pleasing pattern, and lean hard in one direction or the other. Will it be mostly light or mostly dark? You don't want your piece to resemble a yin-yang!

To a lot of artists, this is second-nature, common sense stuff, but I was happy to learn it.  Passing the savings onto you!


Also, head over to Babe Lab for a new interview with my good pal Josh Singh, as well as a nifty card trick!


Tyson Murphy said...

me likey!! great rule of thumb

Erik Ly said...

This was helpful thank you! :]

Walt Cart said...

Heh great tip!

Very helpful indeed!


Ben Lo said...

Hey Paul, thanks for the awesome tip. That's something I haven't really paid much attention to and just noticed it from my old works. Gotta try and fix that bad habbit.

Don't know if you would remember a guy name Garrett Hanna. He's the guy who recently went to Carbine as an illustrator. I actually went to school with him. And through a casual conversation we had the other day, he said he went to cafe draw with some coworkers and met an awesome guy named Paul Richardson. And because of that, a few other friends started making fun of him for not knowing the great Autodestruct guy (that's what we refer you as). And then through some more conversation, he went on and saying that you actually work with and sit next to the legendary Arnold Tsang (we refer him as the Arn-man). Who is still a legend at Sheridan college, even though he had graduated for so many years.

Anyway, to cut it short, it was hilarious and awesome to know how small the world really is. I really can't wait to see what you and the arn-man had been working on. And hopefully get to meet you some day!

Hullingen said...

Hi! :D
Ive been following the Babe Lab Blog for sum time, and i really enjoy your tutorials - working on the card trick right now!
Love your style, its sumwhere between Bruce Timm and Scott Cambell!
Keep up the good work!

Brandon said...

Great post -- it seems that you've arrived at more or less the same conclusion that I've arrived at myself. I think of it as an extrapolation of the "rule of thirds" rather than "avoiding half". I try to divide just about everything approximately into thirds, with two of the thirds combined, for a 2:1 ratio. It works for light/dark, proportions, rendering, etc.


Great note....will keep in mind for future work...