Theories that explain how to draw the interaction between light and glass surfaces are complex, and can take a lot of time to fully explain. For now, we’ll approach things simply, using a method that takes advantage of shortcuts.
The first shortcut is to treat all similar transparent surfaces, such as plastic, as glass. Even if these materials don’t have exactly the same reactions to light, you can generally use this trick to simplify the process.
In most cases, a designer’s sketches are not meant to be ultra-realistic, but to be simply a viable representation that is both forceful and attractive.
Chou-Tac Chung – Sony Concept earphone , 2014
Below are some concrete approaches ready to be put into practice for fast and effective results. With these you will gain confidence and be able to begin to tackle more complex subjects.
No matter how complex the object, represent the reflection of light in the most simplistic way possible. This contrast will only enhance the effect.
In drawing light on surfaces, there are multiple factors in play, such as reflection, refraction, light transmission and opacity. Some surfaces are less reflective than others.
For our exercise, we’ll assume all reflective surfaces act like very reflective glass. For this sketch, we’ll simplify the image and discard all but the essentials.
I’ve selected the four following factors to focus on:
(is it flat or curved?)
Minimize the number of factors in order to simplify and clarify the image.
1. Thickness of glass
Draw the thickness of the glass lining the edges of the object. This inner line should be very slight.
2. Surface shape
You can draw reflections with outlines that don’t exist on the object in reality. These outlines make the edges of the lit area clear, and will help you to draw around the illuminated area without breaching it.
Remember to keep your lines fluid if you’re drawing a curved object.
3. The illuminated surface
The area where light is reflected by the object will be completely white. This will create a contrast which gives the impression of reflected light.
Error: Note the presence of a curved line that cuts an area in half. That is, in fact, part of the original ellipse of the sketch. I made the mistake of beginning my sketch with overly heavy lines.
4. The background elements
This is the main secret:
While drawing, place your light reflections in a fashion that means they hide some of the visual elements placed behind them. Of course, make sure what you block out doesn’t take away from the comprehension of the drawing. If the image is symmetrical you can hide a fair amount, as the brain will automatically recreate the hidden part of the drawing.
I used three drawing utensils:
Multiple drawing utensils aren’t necessary. These three are an easy combination for creating strong contrasts.
p align=”justify”>A few mistakes have crept into the sketch, but the final result still stands strong. Be demanding with yourself, but remember to keep moving and to deal with your mistakes. This is a sketch, not a technical blueprint.
A designer draws to produce ideas, not solely to create beautiful illustrations. There is a sense of production in design work, and efficacy. If a designer aims to optimize their work and research time, the drawing too will benefit. The faster and better you draw, the more your final ideas will have the chance to become successful, and visa-versa.
This method is what I use personally in my work.
If you have your own strategies, feel free to explain them in the comments section below.