Lighting Characters

Creating different lighting situations for characters has impactful visual effects and can also be used as a narrative tool.

82 min. video

The interaction of color and various types of light can create a broad range of color schemes.

Lighting can be a very effective means of creating a mood or atmosphere to a character as well. Draw along led by Teaching Artists Cat Huang and Jordan McCracken-Foster.

Video Walkthrough

  • Considering the color palette in relation to the character’s emotions.
  • Children are very challenging to draw, their proportions are tough.
  • Jordan using a photo of a figure skater as a reference for a hoverboard design for this character.
  • Designing accessories for a character in relation to their story.
  • How to draw the same character in multiple art styles.
  • Start small with comics.
  • Basing characters on people you know in real life.
  • Figuring out the mood of the scene and then matching colors to that.
  • Use yourself as a super quick reference when creating lighting.
  • Being part of an artist community keeps all of us motivated.
  • Strong story & characters are important regardless of the media.
  • Adjusting the color scheme with multiply, darken, etc. (settings)
  • Using complementary colors for the shadows.
  • Consider the location of the light in relation to the character, is the light from above, from below?
  • How to deal with color variation between various streams.
  • Stories and TV shows you grow up with can influence you as an artist.
  • Working with characters long term.
  • Creating lighting with unusual colors to show a mood.
  • You don’t have to follow the character’s color scheme when creating a lighting situation.
  • Seeing different art styles is great!
Character Design & Lighting, Cat Huang
Cat Huang

Prof Lieu’s Tips

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You can read all you want about art supplies, watch all the tutorials, but ultimately, everything comes down to the hands on experience that you as an individual artist have.

Figure Drawing: Charcoal

Often people want to know in advance whether a certain approach or technique is going to work.

There is only so much you can anticipate in your head. Until you actually try something, you’ll never know!

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