Saturday, November 5

Day 5 - Adding Shadows (Tutorial)

Today I'd like to show you a relatively easy way to add dimension to your paper crafting without having to fussy cut and pop images up with foam tape.  This technique works by fooling the eye into thinking there is a shadow, and therefore, what it's looking at is a three dimensional object.

YOUR TURN:  Use the tutorial to create a card.
Upload a photo of your creation HERE.

Start by colouring your image.  As you can see in the photo above, I've marked the light source in the top left hand corner, which means that the light is coming from that direction and therefore all the objects facing that direction will be highlighted.  Hence, I coloured my leaves and berries with the lightest areas on the top left hand side and the darkest areas on the bottom right hand side.

Now choose your shadow colours.  I generally gravitate toward grey, but you could also use blue or purple if you wanted to.  Three shades is generally enough, but you want the lightest one to be as light as possible so that you can fade the colour out.  I used Copic markers for this tutorial, but the principles remain the same regardless of the medium you choose.

We're attempting to "lift" the image up from the background.  To do that, we must apply the shadow onto the background, directly opposite our light source.  We know the light is coming from the top left-hand side, therefore all the shadows will be on the bottom right-hand side of the objects.  I've started by applying a line of the darkest colour (C5 in my case) to the right-hand side and bottom of these two leaves.

I've walked the colour out a bit by applying C3 and C1 over the top of the first line. You don't have to soften the shadow if you don't want to.  A harsh line will give the illusion of very bright light, such as you'd find at midday.

In the photo above, you can see that I have applied shadows to a quarter of the image.  The image is starting to look like it has some dimension.

Once the shadowing is complete, the image looks like it has a lot more dimension. Surprisingly, the shadows become almost invisible as the eye is drawn to the lighter parts of  the image.


Image: Beccy's Place - Build A Wreath Set
Sentiment: Kaisercraft

All photos and written instructions are copyright Beccy Muir.
All rights reserved.


  1. A great tutorial and a gorgeous card. Marlene

  2. very clever, I always forget this technique and do fist fussy cut and then use the foam tape = time-consuming process ...

  3. Oh I will just drool over your coloring. just beautiful.

  4. Thank you for this tutorial Beccy - love how you have 'shaeded' the shadow.

  5. Wonderful card and great pic directions, thanks!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial! The pictures really help explain it.

  7. Amazing ideas to add the texture and 3 dimensional images. Very clever. I always love learning new things and enjoy your tutorials! Thanks.

  8. I'm always struggling with the light source, but I think this clear tutorial will surely help me and I find the addttion of the shadow great! Thanks for the nice explanation!
    xxx Margreet

  9. BEAUTIFUL card!!!
    The shadows really do add dimension!!!
    THANK YOU for sharing your tutorial ... this is something I look forward to trying :)

  10. Gosh what a difference!! it looks amazing thank you for the tutorial l will be following this xx

  11. amazing the difference with or without shadows! Thanks for the tuto!

  12. Gorgeous card Beccy! It's a great technique if you want to create a CAS card or a One Layer card.
    Xoxo Olga

  13. Great card and tutorial. Also, I just looked at the cards entered and everone is doing a wonderful job on them. Such a fun challenge! I must get going on mine!

  14. Great difference between the two wreaths! Love this technique!!

  15. Thanks for the great tutorial. I used to just add a pale blue line all the way around the image. Thanks for shedding some light on this subject.

  16. Beautiful wreath card...the shadow is a nice touch to the wreath....tfs

  17. Beccy, what a beautiful card, and I love the shading you've added! It makes all the difference and really gives it such dimension and lifts it right off the page! Stunning! Hugs!

  18. Fab tutorial - the shadows are beautiful - nice job on the shading!