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Drop Shadow for Lettering – A How-To

A drop shadow is a visual effect consisting of a drawing element that looks like the shadow of an object, giving the impression that the object is raised above the objects behind it. In this post, Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting shows you how he created this effect.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

DETERMINE A LIGHT SOURCE

STEP 1 – DETERMINE A LIGHT SOURCE: Introduce the angle of the “light source.” The drop shadow will fall on the opposite side of the letter.  It is important to stay consistent with the angle of the light source. 

2

CHOOSE A COLOR

STEP 2 – CHOOSE A COLOR: The drop shadow is usually a much darker color than the letter, in order to create a contrast. However, if the letters are dark, a lighter color can be used for contrast.

3

DETERMINE THICKNESS

STEP 3 – DETERMINE THICKNESS: The thickness of the drop shadow depends on the artist’s desired effect.  A thick drop shadow would be used to create the illusion of a very thick letter, or a light source that comes from a dramatic angle.

4

CREATE A POUNCE PATTERN

STEP 4 – CREATE A POUNCE PATTERN: Use a pounce pattern to create the border of the drop shadow.

5

PAINT THE DROP SHADOW

STEP 5 – PAINT THE DROP SHADOW: Use the right tools and brushes to paint the drop shadow. Use a Striping Edge and Striping Brush to quickly and accurately block in the straight shadows.   Use a Lettering Brush for the curves and flat edges.

COMPLETED FINISH

This is the completed drop shadow used while lettering.

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