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Why shadows aren't gray by ArtByRiana Why shadows aren't gray by ArtByRiana
Oh man my head hurts so bad.

But doing this tutorial makes me realize how little I still now about color and I probably made things wrong and those typos and askdkasd blah. But I hope this makes you think more about how color affects other colors in your works! And maybe not use gray to shade stuff. :U;;;

Ugh I need to lay down.


Edit 8-17-12:::
HOLY MOLY where did you all come from? I just woke up with over 1K feedback messages and I'm used to seeing less than 10! Aaaa thanks so much! ;; I'm so happy so many people found it useful.

So I went in and fixed some typos, reworded some things, etc, so it's all nice. C':

ALSO for traditional artists, especially painters, the book I mentioned in the tutorial talks a lot about this stuff.

As for colored dry media: for colored pencils, I was taught in high school to use dark, cool colors along with the compliment color and dark brown as the base for shading. You'll need to experiment with this, since I haven't used it in a long time and I'm not sure how it'll turn out.

And the journey continues on!

Edit 8-21-12:::
I... got a Daily Deviation for this?! Wow!! I... I don't think I deserve it but I feel so honored! I feel bad because I wish I could've explained things better in this and cleared things up that were misunderstood... but I'm glad this helped people! That made making this tutorial worth while!

Thank you so much Tristaeza for the suggestion and Elandria for the feature!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-08-22
[Stock & Resources] The suggester states "I've always had trouble figuring out how my shading is supposed to look and every tutorial I look at seems to just say the same thing. This tutorial, however, showed me not only how, but why the shading looks like it does. Why shadows aren't gray by *RianaLD is amazing!" ( Suggested by Tristaeza and Featured by Elandria )
Novembre17 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2018
Thank you for the tutorial and the book recommendation!
Dusk-Kniade Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for making this! This explains a lot and I find it really useful ^^
aiiaka Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2017
wow! This is very interesting, thank you for this!^^
bizarreprunier Featured By Owner May 24, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Wow this is amazing but I still dont get why warm light uses cool shadows and cool colors warm shadows? Nature is weird 😶
LilyFaeTitania Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Love this! I learned so much!!
Imdraproc Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2016
Interesting, pleasant, and informative! I've been trying to practice a bit in making shading, this is a great intro to it, thank you!
Badgerhead44 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016
Fascinating! Thank you for this, from an artist who has been using greys and blacks.
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
no problem :)
Nocturnaliss Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2016   Writer
Oh my god such an amazing tutorial! The DD is more than deserved, this tutorial makes shading and the effect of colour and light so clear! Thank you for making this :heart: it is an absolutely excellent tutorial.
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
thank you!
Diemore Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2016  Student Digital Artist
I accidently read the title as ''Why shadows aren't gay''.
RainstormOfEquestria Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Freiha Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've been searching for something like this for several months now! I never know what to enter into the search engine and today I stumbled over this accidentaly.
Thank you so so so much. :huggle: :tighthug:
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad you found it! You're very welcome!
PEASGaming64 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
So, so helpful.
tinystargazer Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2016  Student General Artist
This changed my perception about shadows. I haven't really thought about reflections and time of day 'cause i usually just choose a darker color for my shadows. The effect of those factors were hugeeeee

Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful piece of info! This will help me a lot in the future!
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I'm happy it was helpful! :) Happy arting!
NocturnalRascal Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Hey I have a wood guy too! His name is Claude and he has one leg :P
phyrosite Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Hobbyist
very thorough explanation, great job :D 
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
AliaRohaluss Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Hobbyist
DragoFielder Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the tutorial!It's very helpful to me :3
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
no problem :)
AdieBee Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! This is so helpful!
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
you're welcome! :)
CombotheBeehen Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
That's perfect! :D
Tribersman-FR Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016
Mind = Blown
HairyFood Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016
DeathRoe Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Great tutorial, but I read the title "why shadows aren't gay" x'D I'm dying rn
BDTite1919 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2016  Hobbyist
BDTite GET it.
aumym Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Student Digital Artist
nice! :D
Selkra Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014
:lol:  The amazingness of this tutorial is biblical.
arkrilik2000 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
slapped some sense into me, thanks a lot this is very useful :)
ApocalypticHunter Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Well this will help me a ton. :D
LimeGreenBunny Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is great! I love how detailed it is.
shiori2525 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad I found this tutorial since I have no idea what to do with the shading, shadow, and light relationship at all. Thanks a lot for doing this.
JustToMakeComment Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013
Thank you for uncommon tips about shadows.That was really hepfull for me.I want to sure to get this things right so can you aswer a couple of questions?

1)Will outdoor shadow in autumn forest look like indor shadow in your example?
1)Will indoor shadow in room ligthed with luminescent lamps look like outdoor shadow in your example?

ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure about the first one. From the colors of this photograph,, it would seem that the shadows are almost purple (red+blue sky = purplish shadows) and the highlights still seem orangy. I would go and expirience this on my own but I live in Los Angeles and autumn forests are difficult to find and study. This is something that's definitely on my to-do list!

As for the second question, no, I don't think so, unless the lamp happens to be as blue as the sky. 
JustToMakeComment Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013
Thank you for answer.
ubegovic Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I suspected that the outside shadows are blue for sometime now, but this makes sense! :D Thanks!
seapuppy Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
A very informative piece!  I'll have to remember all of this for next time I need to do some shading.
hotIand Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This is the most incredibly helpful thing I've seen while on this site. It goes so incredibly in-depth on the case of nothing but shadows, yet its something no one ever thinks about or comments on without this clarification. All of my life I've seen shadows as gray, even when they obviously weren't. I'd think, "Oh, it's bright out, that's why its blue/yellow/any other color" I've seen this, but I haven't SEEN it. This piece has completely changed my perspective on lighting, shadows, and my own art as a whole. I can't thank you enough for bringing this clarity to the population of dA. 
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad I was able to help. :)
thegrumpybug Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Student General Artist
this is really helpful, thank you for sharing! :)
fatinkpoplover Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, I didnt know that. Thnx a buncH for this tutorial. Really2 helpful! ^^
Yevilyn Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thankyou! *salutes* yes Ma'am, I shall keep my grey shadows to a minimum from now on.
sophatizer Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I read this about two years ago I think, when I just started drawing and this was like gibberish to me. I managed to find this tutorial again and now everything makes a lot more sense. Thank you so much for sharing this, now I think I now where my impasse in improvement has been coming from. I shall definitely experiment with this immediately. Again, thank you so much for your contribution of this wonderfully enlightening tutorial, I cannot thank you enough.
ArtByRiana Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome. :) Glad it helped!
JapanYoshi Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013
Information successfully downloaded to brain drive. XD
SongOfCrow Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This steak... it makes so much more sense now. Brain is full now. Thank you!
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Submitted on
August 17, 2012
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