June 26th, 2002


Your June 26th, 2002 YouCanDraw.com
every other week caricature


Howdy all!

2 things today:

We're moving again! Sheesh. Expect a short break in the action :-(

2) Caricature/lighting: is it consistent?


1) Moving

Can you believe it? We need to move again! And it seems like we just got here.
What's up? We've been having storm after storm after storm up here with record
rains. And we're up to our teeth in it...well, up to our toes at least here in the home offices.
Toes or teeth, it doesn't matter: any water around all this electrical equipment is too much.
So starting Monday the first of July through the 10th of July we'll be making the move
to the new - temporary - offices. So during this transition, you'll probably see a gap of
two issues.  (Next approximately 3 weeks from today.) If we show up sooner, awesome,
but moving is a ton of work. But we will most certainly be back and ASAP! That you can
count on. Thanks for your understanding.


2) Today's caricature is of no one in particular - a sort of fantasy shot combo cartoon
caricature. The important question I want to look at briefly is this: are the shadows

Check it out

To do this, take a quick glance at the attached picture and answer this: as you look
at the picture, where is the dominant light source? Should be fairly easy to answer.
Go ahead, check it out and come right back.

Back? Good. From what direction is the light coming? If you said "from above,
in front of the subject, and from my right" you are absolutely correct. Now
ask yourself "How did I know that? What were my clues?" Was it because
the darkest shadows were on the left side of the face? (left side of the face as
we look at it). Or was it because the highlights were on the right side of the
face? (right side as we look at the picture)

Who's in the dark?

Makes you think twice when you look at it like that, eh? So where are the darkest
shadows (the ones that tell you in the biggest way where the light comes from)?
And where are they? Go ahead and list them. Here's where I find them: just under the
left eyelid (which is the anatomic right of the subject...think of "anatomic" left and
right as if you were the subject...but we'll stick to left and right as you look at the
picture), along the left side of the nose, down the right cheek bone, and on the left

Opposites attract

Scan left and right across the picture to see if there's a complementary highlight
on the opposite side of the same feature (for example, is there a corresponding
lighter spot under the right eye lid where it's really dark on the left eye? And is it
lighter on the opposite side of the nose and chin?)

I can see the light!

And where are the brightest highlights? The most dominant two I see are along
the right side of the nose (which completely obscures the line nose - but the brain
still understands it as a nose), and then along the whole right side of the chin.
See that? There should be some kind of complementarity in a face when dealing
with light and shadow: if light is coming from one side (above, below, left, right or
a combo of those), there ought to be shadow (or less light) on the opposite side.
Yes, there's some real left brain logic to light and shadow.

Look at the "apron of the upper lip" (the area above the upper lip and below the
cheeks and nose). Note the subtle shadow / highlighting going from left to right
halves. Starting to make a little sense?

The better half

Now answer this: what half of the face, upper or lower, in this picture, give
you the most information about the direction of light? With your hand, cover
the face from the nose on down so all you're looking at is the eyes, forehead and hair.

Do they give you much information? A little yes. But when you cover up the eyes
and look at the face from the nose on down, is it as obvious? Seems to me
both halves are needed for my brain to make it really clear. The info is there
but without the whole face visible I don't get nearly as clearly.

So what's the point of this little quiz?

Simply this: differentiating tones by consciously pointing them out, pulls them
out of the subconscious recognition mode. When you can name those areas, when
you can point a finger at them, you'll find it that much easier to find them and
draw them. Or even simplify them - which makes for that much more drama in a drawing.

Getting to color

And there's a second pay off. If you want to eventually work in color, you MUST be
able to recognize and differentiate shades of grey first. Adding color is a natural step
after mastering tone and shade in gray scale, black and white. You can try to dive
directly into color but it'll be that much more difficult without a firm foundation in
black and white first. You'll more than likely end right back up trying to understand
the color blind world of grays first.

So are the shadow / highlights in this picture consistent?

For the most part yes. Two areas of minor trouble: the dark line that travels up from
the upper lip, (and is really a continuatri0n of the upper lip), to the cheekbone/dimple
on the shadow side of the face (the left side as we look at it, anatomic right side),
seems to get a little too dark as runs up a little too far into the dimple area. On the
other side of the face, the highlight side of the face, it's confusing to me if the shadow
under the cheekbone is too dark, or is a cast shadow from the hair. The picture
"works" for the most part, but in these two areas I sense a little confusion. And I
can say that since I felt confused drawing them :-).

So along with shadow and highlight shapes, keep an eye on the consistency /
complementarity of both. Light has a real logic to it.

So keep on drawing and I'll see you soon.



Jeffrey O. Kasbohm
Executive Director

(952) 920-9827
6920 Southdale Road
Minneapolis, MN  55435

"Once and for all  getting you drawing faces and caricatures"