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Lighting Tutorial (From Old Patreon) | Raineydaydoodles

Hello All! This month, I was looking for something easy and simple to share with you all. So I thought I would reshare the lighting tutorial I wrote for my failed Patreon, haha! Please note, I wrote this tutorial about a year ago, and it features old artwork of mine as examples. But I'm still fairly happy with it and wanted to share it with you all!

Here is the Tutorial, as I posted it to my Patreon a year ago. Sorry if anything is outdated, though I will be adding notes here and there to revise the old me:


Here is January 2021’s Patron Exclusive Tutorial - this month it is based on how I do lighting effects in procreate! Please note there is really no right or wrong way to do this, this is just how I do it personally! This is a Procreate specific tutorial but I’m sure these ideas could be used in other art programs as well. I made a brand new piece for this tutorial so I do show a step by step process, but I also would like to show some of my other pieces that display these effects first:

In this piece, I use lighting effects around the butterflies to make them appear as if they glow.

Here, the lighting is on the robotic leg, where I use lighting to make it appear shiny and metallic.

I wanted to make a tutorial that would show both of these aspects!

Here is the base image we will be applying the lighting effects to! This is my OC Anthony, I thought he would be a good choice for this tutorial because he has a prosthetic leg, so it was a good opportunity to include metal shines in the image. I want this image to appear as though it is taking place as the sun goes down. He will have fireflies surrounding him and an off screen porch light on the right side will illuminate the scene. Let’s begin!

This isn’t a must, but to make lighting stand out, it’s best to make a contrast with some deep shading. Above you can see I shaded Anthony. For the majority of the shading, I used a dark desaturated purple. Then I slided the transparency slider (the bottom left slider) as I shaded to produce lighter and darker shades. It is important to remember to always shade on a new layer above the color layer that is set to multiply. For the yellow of his sweater, I made the purple a slightly more pink tone, as it just compliments the yellow more nicely.

You can see here about where I like to put the color for most shading!

I do similar shading in the background, using the same purple color from before.

Then I also add shading all around the character, to help him stand out. NOTE: If I was doing this now, I would probably only outline shade one side of him, whichever side is not being hit by the light, as opposed to all around him.

This is just the base shading, as you can see, it doesn’t look like it’s night time at all. I like to color things in their natural unshaded color and then add shading on top. Let’s make it look darker.

For this purpose, I like to use the “Syrup” brush under the inking section of Procreate. It will help with the large strokes we need to make.

The biggest tip I can give you with this is to keep playing around. Don’t be afraid to keep changing and adjusting the shading and lighting to make it work - I had to go back and forth with the shading and lighting to create something I was happy with. It can be hard to predict how dark or light an area needs to be, so just keep working with it until you get something that works. Don’t forget to utilize the color sliders.

Above you can see I applied a dark area of light to the left upper corner. This is where our darkest area will be, it’s completely out of the light being cast by the offscreen porch light, which will shine in the area that is still lit now.

I extended the darkness out further and also put some towards the bottom, to make it appear that the light only shines so far. Please note this shading keeps changing as I go on and I actually add a lot more dark spots in the end. You can see the lines aren’t harsh, which is because I used the smudge tool to blend out those hard edges created by the syrup brush.

Did you know you can change the smudge tool to use the effects of any normal procreate brush? I like to keep mine set to the “Fine Nozzle” brush under spray paints. It is similar to a smooth airbrush, which I see many artists using for their smudge brush, but I personally prefer fine nozzle because it adds just a bit of extra texture. That is totally personal preference though!

Here is how the final shading turned out, this was my result AFTER playing with the lightning for a while (so the next few pictures as I explain the lightning won’t have this finished shading.). As I added the lighting, I realized what I needed to change. For me specifically, I realized I needed it to be darker overall. I added a bit of shading where the light will be shining so it will actually stand out more against the slight darkness of the background. And I adjusted the whole thing to have a slightly more pink hue so it would feel more like a sunset and not full nighttime, hopefully. Okay, so it’s time to explain the lighting! There are two important layer types to remember - Soft light, and Hard light. The difference is that soft light makes things look glowy, while hard light makes things look brighter. NOTE: I way prefer using the Add or Color Dodge layer types for lighting now. They are much more intense, but I just lower the opacity depending on how bright it should be.

To start, I want to add that off screen light coming from the right side of the image. I want to add this so I can show how I highlight a character. Currently, he is mostly shaded on the left side, where the most shadow is. I also add additional shadow directly to the character on the left side to enhance the look that he is in the shadow. I want his left side to be slightly illuminated to contrast, and it will be this off screen light that is doing so. To add lighting, I like to use the dry ink brush, it has just a little bit of texture that I think helps make it look less artificial.

For the purpose of this piece, I am using a light yellow color for the lighting.

Then, we’ll do a similar thing, on a new layer set to “Hard light”. The soft light once blended, creates a glow that will surround the real light we will create on this layer. Add big streaks again, in a slightly smaller area. I then used the perspective blur to fade it out, and here are the results:

And boom! We have a light source! Now we need to show that he is being effected BY the light source, so we will add light to the right side of him where the light is hitting him.

Again I use a soft yellow and the dry brush tool, and I have this layer set to “ Soft Light”. For this piece in particular, I wanted him to be lit, but not necessarily glowy like the robot girl drawing I showed before. If you want the lighting to be more intense, you can set the layer to hard light. Note: Use Add!! I don’t love doing this because hard light layers will color over black lines and make them look brighter, up I like the lines to stay unaffected by the lighting. So personally, I prefer to use multiple soft light layers stacked on top of each other to make the color brighter, so that it doesn’t affect the black lines. Note: If you are going to use hard light, the above statement does not have to be true. Simply move your lineart layer to the top of the layer panel, as opposed to having the lighting layers on top.. voila!

Again, the lighting is subtle here, but I did it along his right side, you can see it well on the bottom of his pant leg. I forgot to take a picture, but don’t forget to also add lighting to the background.

Let’s add fireflies! I take the dry brush in a soft yellow color, and using little swooping motions, I create circles. I don’t fill them in, but leave them like little spirals. This will be the main glow of the fireflies. I set the layer to “soft light”. On a NEW “soft light” layer, I take a lighter yellow than before and fill in behind the swirls and add a little glow around them to make them appear, well, glowy.

Finally, I set a new third layer to “hard light” and do smaller swirls inside the original ones to make it look like there is a bright light coming from them. Really, everything is just a combination of different layers on the soft light and hard light settings!

It’s time to make the leg look shiny and metallic! On a soft light layer, I take a lighter gray than the area on his leg I am highlighting, and I add strips of the color across it. Inside of the first lines, I add smaller, brighter ones... And even smaller and brighter ones! I did the last shines on a normal layer using just pure white. Here's the result:

For my personal style, I add a white outline around the character, and voila! We’re done!

Here's the piece without any shading or lighting:

And here it is Finished:


I hope this was in any way useful or beneficial to you guys!! I certainly have not done many tutorials, so i hope I was able to include all of the important information in there. If you have any questions about the tutorial, or how I do lighting differently now a year later, let me know in the comments below! If you want to see more from me, subscribe down below! And to view my artwork, follow me on my instagram @raineydaydoodles, and check out all my accounts at:

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