Drawing Shadows

For some reason, I can draw shadows. My brain is good at looking at something and imagining how the light will hit it and cast shadows across the space. It’s probably from all my film and photography training, where you really have to think about where you’re placing each light source with the knowledge of what type of light it will create.

Still, this technical way to draw shadows was interesting to learn:

  1. choose where to put the light source and the angle of the light ray.
  2. choose the angle of the ‘shadow line’
  3. from the top of each point of the object, draw a line parallel to the light ray.
  4. from the bottom of each point of the object, draw a line parallel to the shadow ray.
  5. where these lines intersect one another creates a dot-to-dot for where the shadow will fall.
  6. the tricky part is having high points in the middle of an object, in which case you have to find where the vertical base would be and draw the shadow line from that point.

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I find this method much more difficult than visualising in my brain. The problem arises because the light-ray and shadow-line exist in a 2D space, whereas the light as I imagine it can exist in 3D.

The other problem is that it creates a harsh outline, rather than the soft shadow gradient that most ambient situations will produce.

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