5 Tips To Make Your Pencil Drawing Appear 3D

Find out how to make your drawing appear 3D and stick out of the page. Tips that will improve your drawing. Bring your drawing to life following this simple guidelines.

1. Lighting

If you look closely you will notice that what makes a subject appear in three dimensions is light. The side that is perpendicular to the light source receives the most light and is therefore the brightest. When choosing to draw a subject it is better to avoid lighting it from the front as this will make it appear flat. A sideway lighting for example will cast some shadows on your subject, better defining the shapes and make it look 3D.

2. Shading and Contrast

The shading is the most important thing when trying to bring your subject to life. Although you can suggest shapes and volumes with simple lines, the drawing will still look flat or cartoon like. A great way to render realistic forms is through shades. Building your drawing from different tonal values only and not using any hard precise lines will bring a touch of realism. To make a certain part of the drawing appear lighter you must darken all other areas. Don’t be afraid to use darker tones when needed. A low contrast (small changes in tonal values) will make the drawing appear flat.

3. Background

The background can help your subject stand out or blend in. A rich textured background will draw attention while a simple one will let the viewer focus more on the subject. The color of the background is also important. When you are drawing a person you might want to use a cooler color for the background to contrast with the warmer flesh tones. The brightness also affects the way the subject is perceived. A lighter background will make it look darker and vice versa. For a maximum effect you can use a dark background. This is the most powerful way of representing a subject as it will concentrate the viewer’s attention on only the subject, making it stand out and appear 3D.

4. Color intensity

The color or tonal intensity gives the viewer a clue of how far or close the subject is. The farther away it is the less saturation the colors have. When observing a landscape or cityscape you will notice that even in a clear sunny day the distant objects will have less intense colors. The colors will have a gray or blue hint due to the atmosphere and dust.

5. Perspective

Whether drawing a close subject or a landscape you must consider the perspective. The viewing point in relation to the subject will create a certain perspective. This will inform the viewer of the shape and size of different objects. The further an object is the smaller it will be seen. The viewer’s perception can be manipulated through perspective and multiple vanishing points.


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