How could I draw shadows on the human face?

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Kim 5 years ago.

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    The features of the face tends to confuse me. Portruding parts of the face, such as the nose, casts shadows around it. There is also a little bit of shadows that act weird when disrupted by planes of the face. For example, say someone's face dips in around the cheek and causes a shadow. It could also go vice versa and puffs a little out to add hints of a shadow. This, for me at least, is what I struggle with the most.

    Is there a way to practice values when it comes to the face? Are there techniques that are used to practice different values that indicate planes?

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    I would recommend just practicing from photo reference at first to help introduce and help you get used to the general shape. Try to take notice on where the light sources are coming from and how that relates to the shadows.

    If you're still confused you can just Google it and countless helpful references and even video tutorials will come up.


    Thank you! I'll try to do some references to see if I can get it down. I guess my only issue is shading with pencil. It looks off and most of my values go from light to dark to fast. It looks unnatural. Does anyone have any advice for that?


    Is that shading issue something you have only with faces, or just in general?


    Well, I feel in general. It's hard to find and make the shadows look natural. It looks too dark to fast when I transition between light and dark. I study reference photos for it. I try to practice shading with a pencil, but I feel that it becomes off somewhat? It seems drawn on rather than blended in.


    You might want to look at this:

    And also this:

    Both discuss methods of better shading/blending :)

    • Kim edited this post on September 9, 2018 5:59pm. Reason: Fixing a link

    Thank you for the article, Kim! It really does help!

    On another note, one of the links lead back to this forum post? Was that intentional?


    Oh golly, no! Thanks for letting me know, I've fixed it now. I think my brain has melted a little doing so much site-launch stuff this weekend :)

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