Today I’m answering a question from Angel:
When I’m composing a work and I’m using different photos, how do I make sure all my lighting and everything is correct since my source photos are all different? (ie, If I layout a windmill from one source, a person from another source and a cat from yet another source, how do I make sure they look like they belong to the same painting?)
To keep things simple, I like to choose reference photos that all share the same light source. This absolutely can be limiting I understand. Once you’ve been painting for several years you will start to have a better understanding of how light would fall on a subject so you can adjust as needed.
One little trick you can do is to make a still life of sorts with items that will be similar to what will be in your painting. I have a little metal bird that I do this with when painting chickadees. I can use this bird figurine in a set up with the light source wherever I want. Say I’m putting him in a tree and the light is coming slightly from the back and to the right, then I will set up my little figurine with that same light source so that I can see how the light would fall on him.
You can do this with anything. If you paint windmills, collect a few windmill figurines so that you can see how the light would fall with various light sources.
Another option is to learn how to sculpt. You don’t have to get the whole set up, something as simple as sculpy clay can work for you. If you can sculpt your subject, this will give you a much more accurate view of how the light will fall in various positions on your painting or drawing.