Each day this week, choose a product you can comfortably sketch in 10-15 minutes. Place that product under a strong light source, and position it so you can clearly see areas that are in the light and areas that are in shadow. Then sketch the product, paying close attention to the lighting. Since these products should be relatively easy to sketch, you’ll have plenty of time to focus on the lighting.

If you have trouble with light and shadows, focus on the major forms. Ignore the surface details and make sure the overall form looks correct. When your form is mostly a cylinder, then shade it as a simple cylinder first. After that, you can go back and add-in the details. The same goes for boxy forms, spherical forms, and just about anything else.

To make this easier, choose products with simple forms. Something that is mostly rectangular, cylindrical or spherical will be easier to figure out than something that’s complex and organic. It also helps if your product is mostly a single color. Sometimes, changes in a product’s surface color can make it difficult to see where the shadows start.

Finally, unless you’re very confident with your sketching, avoid reflective and transparent surfaces for this week’s sketches. They can do odd things when they interact with light sources. If you’re just learning how to draw light and shadow, reflective and transparent surfaces can be very frustrating, so give yourself some time to build up your skills before you tackle them.

Some simple products that would work well for this prompt:

  • Sports bottles
  • Toolboxes and other rectangular plastic storage containers
  • Flashlights
  • Spray bottles and pump bottles
  • Living-room chairs (especially overstuffed chairs that are completely covered with upholstery, like recliners)


Here’s how it works

New sketch prompts will appear every Monday. Each week will have 6 sketch prompts that focus on a theme. Pick one sketch prompt and do one 20-30 minute sketch every day, 6 days a week. Then take a day off and start again with the next weeks’ post.