I recently purchased "Framed Ink" by M. Mestre and learned quite a lot. It teaches the strategy of harnessing light composition within a panel to showcase the relationship of story characters. For example, to portray two conflicting characters cast one in bright light and the other in deep shadow. Showing a disconnect between characters is possible by putting them in separate blocks within a panel, such as framing them with two different windows or a border or boundaries in the background. To suggest characters are falling in love, block them in together in bright light and darken the setting around them. In all cases, dialogue blocks are best set in darkness, away from the lighting of the characters whenever possible.

Another thing to consider is how the reading interprets the panel and telling the progression of a story that will unfold as the reader comfortably scans the page. I use a left-to-right format, so if I wanted to tell a story of a "good" character being swindled by a "bad" character, perhaps I would have my "good" character on the left side of the panel in bright light, and the "bad" character on the right side in the darkness. Alternatively if I wanted to show a "bad" character deciding to work together with a "good character" or leaving their dark tendencies behind, I would put by "bad"/shaded block on the left side of the page and the "good"/light panel on the right. If I was drawing a superhero scaling a building to escape baddies, perhaps the top of the panel would be light with high contrast to show action, and the dark block at the bottom. To increase terror of a monster chasing someone who was doomed, the victim would be in the front perspective cast in darkness, and the monster in a brighter, high contrast back scene to bring attention to it. Or if I wanted a sneaky scare, casting the monster in darkness comparable to the background and illuminating just the eyes would be effective.

How do you approach lighting in your illustrations? Do you consciously use lighting to compliment action and dialogue or is it an afterthought/not a thought?