Photoshop tips: next-level lighting advice

Bearded warrior with a white fur trimmed coat

Lighting is one of those things that can make or break an illustration. It can set the mood, establish a sense of photorealism, tell a story, and even guide the viewer towards certain areas in your work. To fully understand how light works, you have to study it in detail, and a great way of doing this is by creating your own lighting reference.

Because I tend to paint a lot of warriors, both for clients and personal work, I always end up having my fellow HEMA (historical European martial arts) friends pose for me. The references you see here come from those photo sessions.

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A freelance artist who’s worked on Horizon Zero dawn and Magic: the Gathering, Suzanne Helmigh is about to kickstart her first illustrated novel, entitled Caldyra.