Light and contre-jour

Maria Yagovkina - sketcher, illustrator

https://www.instagram.com/maria.yagovkina/

Light and contre-jour

One of the very interesting options for placing the drawing object is locating it directly toward a source of light. This type of light is called backlighting or contre-jour. Being positioned this way, the light plays a very important role and creates a frame around an object or merging with its edges. When you place an object against the light, its silhouette looks sharper. The color saturation of the object lessens, while its shadows are directed forward.

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On the left, we see a sidelight of the ball: there is a clear area of light, partial shade, and shadow. This is the most common lighting setup.

On the right, there is a ball located opposite to the source of light. Thus, the ball is surrounded by the lightest area that creates a white halo around the object. The shadow of the ball falls towards the viewer.

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Let us have a look at another drawing. Here, the main object located against the light is a group of small trees. We should also note that areas around the crown of the trees and among rare leaves have a brighter and more glowing color. On the contrary, the denser foliage is darker since the light cannot pass through it.

Therefore, we can use the contre-jour technique for any objects moving from the luminous white edge to the dark center.

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In this picture, the girl is also standing against the light; it is an example of contre-jour.  Her skin is shaded and her hair glows along the contour. Photographers absolutely favor and use this technique frequently.

Light work is always very important for any theme and object. It is often one of the main means to make a drawing expressive.

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