Recommended Books on Light and Shadow

There are two books that I would recommend on the topic of light and shadow, both containing valuable information that is not in the other. Because of this I recommend that you should if you are planing on learning about the subject to get both of these books.

NOTE: This list is based off of the books that I own / have read and therefore does not cover all of them. It is also based on my opinion of these books yours however may be different.

Color and Light – James Gurney


This book as the name suggests not only targets the topic of light and shadow but also color. In the book each section is broken up into small chunks of a few pages that each focus on a different area of the larger topic. For example the section on light has a few pages on each of the different types of light. There are also sections on the different types of shadows and light directions. While the first half of the book is devoted to light the second half focuses on color, although it may be more applicable to painters but that does not mean that it will not be useful for learning color theory.


How to Render – Scott Robertson with Thomas Bertling


This book follows on from the book How to Draw by the same author and is set out in much the same way and with the same technical approach to constructing shadows. Like How to Draw this book is set out like a course that will give you an understanding of how to render shadows on an object. At the start of the book simple objects are used to give you a basic understanding of how light creates shadows but as the book continues these objects become more complex, demonstrating things that you will likely encounter in your own drawings. The last third of the book shows you how to render different materials and create appearance of reflections. This book has a got layout with step by step examples making it an excellent book for learning the topic and how to apply it.


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