Art Journaling 102: Technique Focus – Lighting (with Tutorial and Links)

by Julie Ann Shahin, Studio Tangie Social Media Team

light·ing [lahy-ting]


1. the act of igniting or illuminating: the lighting of many candles; the annual lighting of the Christmas tree.

2. the arrangement of lights to achieve particular effects: to work out the lighting for one’s living room.

3. an effect achieved by the arrangement of lights: Several critics praised the lighting of the play.
4. the science, theory, or method of achieving particular effects by the use of lights.

5. the way light falls upon a face, object, etc., especially in a picture.


The Science of  Light and Color

When I was studying at Michigan State University, I had to take a science class to graduate, so I chose the Science of Light and Color, as being an artsy person I thought this would be most interesting to me. Twenty years later, don’t ask me to re-iterate what I learned in that class. 

Although, working on this blog post, a few tidbits might come back to me.

You might think in Art Journaling that you only need to worry about light and lighting when you are shadowing an object, or creating sun rays, etc. However, just like in my University class, light mixes with color to produce dramatic results. “Although Aristotle and other ancient scientists had already written on the nature of light and color vision, it was not until Newton that light was identified as the source of the color sensation.” (Wikipedia)

“When sunlight shines through a prism, you can see all the colors of the rainbow (or visible spectrum). In fact, daylight is a mix of all colors. All the colors of nature come from light.” (Discover Lighting)


How do we apply this light theory to our designs?

One of the important design basics is contrast, which can be achieved through lighting. 

“Lighting can be described as being “soft” or “hard”.  Diffused light is soft. It minimizes shadows and provides a more relaxing and less visually compelling atmosphere.  When used alone, however, the effect can be lacking in interest, like an outdoor scene on an overcast day.

The artful use of hard light can provide highlights and shadows that emphasize texture and add beauty to form, as with direct sunlight.  Small unshielded sources such as a bare lamp or a candle flame can add an effect of brilliance or sparkle.”

Tangie has several products in her shoppe for applying light (and shadow) to your pages. Also you will find many of her kits have a lighting element or two as well. I will name some of these as well as give you links to tutorials for lighting effects in Photoshop below.


Art Journal Caravan 2011 Provisions {Parcel 33} Apprentice Art Box Edition
Art Journal Caravan 2011 Provisions {Parcel 42} Apprentice Art Box Edition

Additional Kits that have several lighting elements included:

{Steampunk Laboratory Collab} MEGA BUNDLE by Tangie

Up, Up & Away by Tangie

Luminescence by Tangie


Inspiration for Technique Focus: Lighting with Steps

Julie Ann

Here is the final image that I will walk you through the steps in which I applied lighting. I go from this…

to this with the lighting effects applied!


Step 1. Open page in Photoshop/ Elements




Step 2. Add wavy highlight with lines from AJC11 Parcel 42 by Tangie Lighting Effects. Go to Layer –> New Adjustment Layer –> Gradient Map. Click ok twice. Go to Layer –> Group with Previous.

Now go back and pick the color of the gradient map. To do so, double click on the “layer thumbnail” of the gradient map. Click on the drop-down menu to open Gradient Color Picker, click on double arrows for more options, click on color harmonies.

Click ok.


Step 3. Add the solid wavy highlight from AJC11 Parcel 42 by Tangie Lighting Effects. Set the blending mode to Saturation, Opacity 84%. This gives a nice shadow contrast.


Step 4. Add a wavy shadow lighting effect fromAJC11 Parcel 42 by Tangie Lighting Effects. Change the blending mode to Overlay, Opacity 68%.


Step 5. Add light element from Up, Up, & Away by Tangie. Position part of the light behind the “o” in “worth.”


Step 6. Add another light element from Up, Up, & Away by Tangie. This goes in the lower left part of the heart.


Step 7. Add a glowy light effect. Apply the style Tangie Galaxy Glows from the SUPER HERO BUNDLE by Tangie.


Step 8. Add the orange light from Up, Up, & Away by Tangie behind “feelings” in the upper right area of the heart for the finishing touch!!! The page is complete.


Page by Julie Ann Shahin

Journaling: Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. – Virginia Satir

Credits: (all by Tangie Baxter)

Lighting: Up Up Away,AJC11 Parcel 42
Silhouettes: Silhouette Family Tree Collab with Molly Decrow
Paper: Enchanted Art Box Add On with Sherriejd

Fonts: Tangie AJFtweedleDeeALT, Tangie AJFmerryunbirthday, jamaistevie, Janda Apple Cobbler


Tutorials for Technique Focus: Lighting


Now it’s Your Turn!

Link up your page here (copy and paste the url) in the comments section of this post. Join our fun, lots of members are jumping in!

Julie Ann Shahin is a New York-based art journaler, scrapbooker, mixed media craftster who specializes in hybrid and altered art techniques. She will be blogging regularly for on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You may contact Julie Ann directly at julieann dot shahin at gmail dot com

If you liked this post, you’ll also love:

My Vision for 2012 Prompts Archive

Art Journaling Techniques Archive

“I Don’t Know What to Write” Myth-Buster Prompts Archive

Art Journaling 102 Archive


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