Photoshop painting tips using light and shadow on character demo

Photoshop painting tips using light and shadow on character demo. In this tutorial, I will show you how to utilize light and shadow in the environment to spice up your character. The drawing below, in step 1, are the drawing from the previous drawing step by step tutorial of How to draw Surge, you can follow the link to see the full drawing tutorial.

Painting light and shadow Photoshop tips and technique

Painting light and shadow Photoshop tips and technique

The great painter, Craig Mullins said, “Decide what is in light and what is in shadow and don’t mix them up. Two values, but if they are well thought out and designed and drawn they can look totally real.”

Try to keep everything simple to begin with and focus on these three rules
1) Shapes (Composition, silhouette and/or correct drawing). Just practice a lot of drawing from life and from ref.

2) Values (Let just focus first on get the lighting correctly via monochromatic or achromatic, then you can apply some colors as you advance further in your illustration process. Trust me, this will work. For exercises and more tips on values go see -Values exercises study shade and -Colors VS Values tips and technique

3) Edges (Soft/Hard and lost) In real life most edges look soft because our eyes are constantly moving. An edge will only assume its sharpness if we specifically focus on it. Therefore, it is best to keep the edges soft in general unless you want to draw attention to a certain feature as is the case with the focal area.

Below are a video demo showing the painting process.

If you want to know more on how to utilize light and shadow in painting to make a dramatic effect, please go check out a premium tutorial illustration technique 1 to gain your knowledge of light and shadow and support the website. Trust me, you will improve and enjoy the premium tutorial. It goes into in depth on how to use light and shadow in digital painting or painting in general.

Below are step by step to look at as a companion to the video demo.

digital painting tutorial x-men character part1

digital painting tutorial x-men character part1

Photoshop painting lesson female character part2

Photoshop painting lesson female character part2

download photoshop brushes

More digital painting tutorials with videos.
-How to paint master chief Halo
-How to paint Assassin Creed Ezio Auditore
-How to paint folds and wrinkles on cloth


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About Xia Taptara

Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded ( in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Or CONTACT ME via idrawgirls Facebook page. DO NOT E-MAIL ME. Thank you. ;-)
This entry was posted in Paint characters, Painting tutorials, Tips and techniques, X-men and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Photoshop painting tips using light and shadow on character demo

  1. Alex says:

    thanks for the reply, i am a student yet. but i think sometimes take me too much time to complete a tutorial or a lesson. (two or three weeks). but after read your sugestion , i going to focus in the process and the result, without think so much in the time i spend. i guess with practice, i will improve my efficiency.

    thanks a lot.

  2. Xia Taptara says:

    Sai can achieve good result the similar to PS. Many people use them.

  3. Xia Taptara says:

    Thanks buddy. First off, do you work professionally as a concept artist or illustrator for any company?
    If not, there is no need to be concern about your speed just yet. Make it look good first, as long as it takes. Unless you are practicing speed painting then 1-2 hours.

  4. Alex says:

    Xia..for me it is a great pleasure to write and thank you for all this valuable knowledge that you share with us, i work hard every day to reach your level at some point, thanks man.

    I would like to ask how long do you think you should spend doing the tutorials, sometimes trying to get my images look like yours, it take long time to perfect them, you think that’s good or is better to perform the tutorials in short time periods?

    thank you very much again.

  5. Grape says:

    Hi :) I’m not good English and young .I used SAI before but it don’t help me better ,i want to use PTS but i don’t know how it work .Did you have some video show me how PTS work ?

  6. Xia Taptara says:

    No problem. Hope these are helpful.

  7. Ri says:

    Hey :) Thanks for putting all these tutorials up, they’re amazing, your a great artist (as everyone is saying). I thought I knew photoshop pretty well but clearly not. Are there any tutorials that you could point me to that teach photoshop tools and things like that? Also, what were you using for the shading and the lighting? Was it just low opacity brushes? And how did you keep all of the lines clear underneath the colour changes? I always loose my lines, unless they’re on another layer but then they don’t seem to connect with the charecter’s surroundings- they’ll be waaay too sharp.
    Thanks again :) These tutorials have been really helpfull :)

  8. Xia Taptara says:

    First, take your time in drawing and painting. Know what you want to achieve.
    Read all of them carefully.
    Focus on value when painting

    I use a few layers at the time then I merge them all. Focus on value (light and dark). Be honest and trust your eye because your brain will tell you otherwise. Draw what you see, not what you think the object should look like.


    Color read this:
    Using Overlay

    here is how to set it up

    3 rules of Painting

    Color vs Value
    Value Exercise

    How to improve your drawing 5 steps:

    Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, then more free videos will come

    Look around on the right column of the blog, you should be able to find some key tips you can utilize.


  9. Sam says:

    Hey, I have been doing Drawing for some time on Ps but find it hard to start putting paint down, i just don’t understand how to put the base coats and shading down well, do you have any basic tutorials for step by step painting? thank you

  10. gogo th says:

    nice art u are sharing thank……

  11. SEO says:

    In Photoshop there so many techniques and day by day new implements too. I think this really a good one which we can use it for cartoon characters.

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