I'd appreciate some general knowledge and advice on where to start or what shading technique might be best for a beginner. Thank you!
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Firstly, practice some observational drawings and concentrate on where the shadows and highlights fall. Try a variety of different shapes. Move the lights around the objects. If you're mainly painting figures, then get someone to pose for you or take photographs of yourself for reference.
Lighting can be very dramatic and you can study all the ways its used for years. A good resource is "Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter" by James Gurney. This book is for more realistic stuff, but it sets a good foundation where you can work from. Try researching "lighting in cinematography" online too, and you'll see a good range of things to try.
Cel shading is the "easiest" as you typically use 1-2 shades and 1-2 highlight colours. However, it can be tricky to get the correct shape of shadows...You don't want a face to look flat like paper. Again, practicing drawing figures will help you remember how shade typically falls on a face.
Lastly, not everything even needs shading. Flat colours can look very effective in the right game!
Failing everything, a little shadow beneath the nose and under the chin works well! Good luck drawing!
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Shading can be a great way to push forms forward and get a better "3D" look to your characters. For example, shading works great under the nose, the upper/bottom lip, where the head meets the neck, under the chest/breasts, to define muscle on an arm-- little places like that! You'll notice most anime/cartoon sprites have shading in these areas.
If you're doing something more anime/cartoon inspired, then cell shading will work fine for you and can help make things a bit more approachable in terms of workload. In whatever program you're using, I suggest creating a layer somewhere on top of your coloring layer (but below your lineart layer) and setting that layer to "multiply" or to a lower opacity (whatever you think fits) and then try using a light brown, light red, light blue, or even a light purple and seeing how those different types of shading effect the kind of light in your drawing. Try to avoid black if you can, it can quickly de-saturate your drawing which isn't in style right now.
Most "day-time" drawings will do fine with a tan/brown/light red color, or so I've found! Don't be afraid to experiment. Good luck~!
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