Here are the skills of how to make your painting perfect.

By starting with a black canvas, you’re forcing yourself to paint with light only, making shadow what it should be—an area without light.

Step 1

PAINTING SKILLS
Prepare a sketch of your object.

drawing lion

Step 2

PAINTING SKILLS
Invert its colors (in Photoshop you can use the shortcut Control-I) and fill the background with black.

drawing lion inverse

Step 3

PAINTING SKILLS
Lower the Opacity of the sketch (make it almost transparent).

drawing lion transparent lines

Step 4

PAINTING SKILLS
This is where the fun begins. Define your light source, guess which areas it reaches, and paint them with white.

lion painting white light

Step 5

PAINTING SKILLS
That main light bounces off the ground, so it creates an ambient light under the object. Use it to shade the object some more, this time with a darker shade.

lion painting reflected light

Step 6

PAINTING SKILLS
That’s it! You can finish your exercise here, or go further and refine the picture. You can leave it as it is, or use this as a shadow layer (in Multiply mode) for a color layer to create a “normal” picture.