There are some comics where shadows don’t really exist- like Tintin where nothing casts a shadow at all. In other comics, shadows play a huge part, like Sin City. And yet in others they are just part of the natural environment of the comic and nothing more.
All are legitimate options in a comic. However, the use of shadows can be a great ally to the artist for a wide range of functions, such as suspense building and foreshadowing, contrast and drama.
Casting long shadows on the face can indicate the character’s emotional state- depression, contemplation, regret or grief.
Shadows that completely obscure the eyes might be a sign of evil, or the character being possessed by a terrible emotion, or the character being sly or untrustworthy.
Shadows that make the character into a silhouette can be used to underline the tone or mood of the scene, highlight action or signify that something absolute or irreversible has happened.
A room that is cast in odd shadows that perhaps highlight only hints of elements in the room creates suspense and tension by manipulating the element of the unknown as the character enters the room.
Of course these are not the only uses by far! Depending on the context and the pacing and tone of your scenes, the suspenseful can become threatening or comedic; the dramatic can become grim; the sly can become tragic.
I have consciously tried to use shadows to some of these effects. What about you?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, April 1, 2017
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