How to Learn to Shade Illustrations


I liked this movie, not just for the plot, but because how stylized the art is. For example it’s often got that comic strip grain, lots of motion lines, RGB shifts, glitch effects, freeze frames where the style will change and lots of other cool stylized effects.

As far as shading in the movie goes…

Some things are clearly 3D objects with proper cycles lighting, because glasses, windows have amazing reflections.

But then some thing like the characters skins are eevee shaded and then other things like small objects and walls are toon shaded.

Some elements are even drawn I think.

Some things are desaturated, like the Spiderman Noir and certain scenes, but most scenes are highly saturated, seemed to get more saturated when Miles is happier.

Some things I noticed, wherever there is light, there is more grain effect. It might be that the comic book grain is more noticeable on gradients.

Okay so basically I wanna learn to shade like this movie.

3D will come later. But for the sake of this week’s theme I wanna learn to shade characters like the movie.

Mini Project

I think I will try to make a full page doodle and shade it different styles?

Its a pretty ambitious goal given that I know nothing…

I am not gonna focus on proportions and stuff so I can just focus on the shading aspect.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still practice a bit.

I am gonna first draw a head, then copy it several times and then shine a light on it from different angles and try to shade each one.

  • Top
  • Right
  • Left
  • Bottom
  • Front
  • Back

But before I even do that, I might quickly do it on a circle, to give it a 3D look.

That was surprisingly difficult.

From this I learned that if you suck or if it gets difficult, just keep trying and also keep trying new things. I would call this the brute force method. Just keep doing it. Even if its incremental improvements each time.

Also understanding the physics behind the light was super helpful.

Face Shading

Flat Einstein, I forgot to do the ear wrinkles…

So I try to direct the light from difficult situation to understand the contours of the face.

If I had to do this again, I would choose a face without a such a rich moustache.

And I would maybe use one of these things.

But learning what not to do is part of learning.

Also I learned that ProCreate brushes are very important. Eventually I will spend the time to learn the different types of brushes and if its worth downloading other ones.

I can’t wait to do 3D modelling and lighting now.

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