Airbrushing areas of light and shadow emphasizes the three-dimensional
character of the four basic shapes; cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones.
Since everything you draw is a composite of the four basic shapes,
understanding how light affects basic shapes helps your understanding how to
airbrush light and shadow on other objects.
Rendering basic cubes with an airbrush makes the three dimensions of height,
width, and depth easier to see. When airbrushing cubes, start with the
darkest plane first to serve as a value guide on which to base the other
values. Starting with the darkest plane also saves masking certain areas when
progressing to the lighter planes. Begin each plane in the darkest corner
fading to the opposite corner. When finished, there should be as much
contrast as possible between the intersections of the three planes.
To airbrush a basic cube:
Draw a sharp, dark outline of a basic cube and place a frisket over
it. Leave ample border all around.
Select which plane will be the darkest and remove the frisket from
Turn the drawing so that the darkest comer is in front of you. This
will make it appear as if your strokes diagonally cross the cube.
Apply pigment to this comer fading out as you progress to the
comer directly opposite. Allow to dry.
Remove the frisket from the middle-toned plane.
Apply pigment to the darkest comer working diagonally across the
block and fading the pigment out before reaching the opposite
comer. Allow the pigment to dry.
Remove the frisket from the third plane.
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