How to draw using large shadow shapes and a dog – Philadelphia Fine Art

photo 1 (2) photo 4

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Here is a nice reference on how to break your picture down into what we call “Shadow Shapes.”  Shadow shapes are the big chunks of lights and darks in your drawing or painting.  Here you can see some examples I drew of shadow shapes, being modeled by the very nude and very hunky Caesar Liu.  I know that I should have labeled this nsfw but since the sketchbook is covering his private parts I just left it.  As you can see he is a really cooperative and eager model.  If he didn’t want to model, he wouldn’t have sat down on my lap that I was sketching in.

1) These look like sunglasses.  If the lighting is unidirectional from a top like angle, these are often there below the brow and above the portruding cheek.

2-3) Look how random these shapes look!

4) See how they were not random at all, but they are very abstract.  Try not to think of your drawing as “Cheeks” “Eyes” etc, think of the big shadow shapes and try to get them all the relatively correct sizes.

5) Shading the shapes.

6) Add more and more shapes

7) NOW you can work on detail!! Don’t look at it at all until NOW because otherwise you will have a very detailed incoherent picture.  Make sure your overall drawing is in first, the big shadow shapes, and that they make sense, before you move on to the ‘eyes’ ‘nose’ etc.

Here is a real life example of shadow shapes:

photo 2 (1)

Here is the easy shadow shape breakdown


This is the final drawing.  Notice I did not start with “the eye” or “the lips” because then I would get distracted by those and not look at the overall picture.  I drew in the large shapes and then moved on to the little ones.

If you like little shapes, that’s cool, but in that case, I recommend drawing out from each shape so that you don’t have some lines here, some shapes here, and a really detailed eye.  Although when I put it that way it sounds kind of cool.

Have an awesome weekend dudes!  Special thanks to my model.


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