Which lighting?

A lamp is something everybody has, right? So lighting isn‘t something somebody thinks of when he or she is starting out painting.

Still it is so important.

The wrong light source can have a huge impact on the final result of your art piece. Wrongly positioned light sources can make the process of painting a lot harder: It can cast a shadow of your own hand on the exact spot where you want to paint or when you are recording your artwork like I do, the light source might do the perfect light for you to work, but it still could cause reflections into the the lense of the recording camera.

So I will split this post into two sections: Light source and light position

Light source:

First you have to ask yourself: Natural light or use a lamp?

Whenever you can use natural light – use it! It is the best light you can get. Just take into consideration that it might be changing due to clouds or tilt it's own angle since the sun is moving. Natural diffuse light (when it shines through clouds) is good since it is lighting your whole area and does not create core shadows.

A table lamp is the cheapest way of having a steady light. Its not diffuse and therefore creates dark shadows. Table lamps are also not illuminating the whole area evenly. The bigger the paper the bigger this problem. So that’s another trade off. And depending on the bulb it also changes how you see the color on the paper – so please at least use white LED if you want to use a table lamp.

A Softbox Lighting kit creates white diffuse light and lights the whole area.

I posted several photos of the same artpiece under a different light source so you can see the differences:

Table lamp: Here you clearly see how the light is changing how you see the colors. This effect is more intense the closer you get to the bulb. You get a warm yellow influence here.

LED light: It has a strong source of focused white LED-light. It is not changing the colors on the paper like the yellow table lamp and it is less dispersing than the Softbox Lighting Kit (this is the reason why you see a reflection on the wooden table plate – I will talk more about reflections later in this article).

Soft box lighting:

The whole area is flooded with a diffuse light.

Light position:

Next important point is the positioning of the light. You already read, that the table lamp changes how you see the colors. This effect is stronger or weaker depending on how close you are to the bulb – so the position matters – but there is more to it: Reflections.

Specific light sources create more reflections than others. Lights sources with diffuse light create less reflections. A table lamp (with a white LED source) for example creates a strong reflection. And you are going to see them, when the light source is positioned in a way like in the following picture:

Additionally when you are recording your paintings you might not see a reflection but still a reflection appears in your video and the result won't be satisfactory. This happens when you position it as follows:

So you need to pay attention on reflections. Another disadvantage of light sources which are close to your artpiece is, that they are in your way. They disturb when you want to find a nice angle for your cam or they are blocking your own sight on the paper.

Pro Tip: Don't always position your cam 100% above the paper. It gives your recording an interesting edge when you record it from the side.

So all in all my recommendation is the Soft Box Lighting Kit:

- Diffuse – so no reflections

- Not blocking your sight

- Lighting the whole area

- Not changing the color on paper

- Not too pricy

You can find it on Amazon. Here you find a link (no paid advertisement):