Drawings And Shadings Pencil Sketch

May 21, 2019 8:27 am by theundertown
How to draw a bird with pencil drawing shading
Peacock picture in pencil shades drawing and coloring for kids
Drawings And Shadings Pencil Sketch

Circulism is my second favorite shading technique. It’s great for creating realistic skin textures. The idea is to draw many circles that overlap each other, building tone with each added layer.

A ‘soft edge’ is more flowing or fluid and tends to be more low contrast. Soft edges suggest the idea of roundness and a gradual transition.

What are some easy things to draw for beginners learning to shade?

Use an overhand grip on your pencil paired with movement from your elbow and shoulder to create longer and straighter lines. This will give you a much wider range of motion compared to using just your wrist or finger joints. To shade darker, press your index finger down on the pencil’s tip.

Some easy things to draw as a beginner would include normal everyday objects like spoons, plates, bowls, and fruit. Easy objects like that will give you a simple idea of all the concepts if you so choose to include them.

Move up to animals and then humans if you like the process.

2.a) Draw a series of wide to narrow boxes. Shade each one using vertical strokes. Follow this pattern using one or multiple pencils: Shadow, Mid-tone, Highlight, Mid-tone, Shadow.

The more textured the paper, the more white dots you will get across your drawing. This can make your drawing look very grainy.

Now I swap to a softer pencil (a 6B) and begin to shade in the majority of the cast shadow. Notice how the angle of the shading is the same as when I hatched the cast shadow in the shadow mapping drawing using a pen.

To get a smooth shade, you’ll want thick strokes which are close together. Move your hand high up on the pencil and away from the tip. The more you angle the side of your lead towards the paper, the thicker your strokes will be. The thicker, the better! These strokes can be easily blended.

The range of values can vary greatly from one portrait to another due to lighting or skin color. The 2 faces below have very different highlights, mid-tones and shadows.

Your pencil grip and wrist movement should be generally loose, except when shading the darkest values and doing detailing work. Use light to medium pressure and switch to a softer pencil when the one you are using cannot go any darker.

Soft pencils produce dull and dark lines which are easy to blend. Soft pencils deposit more graphite with less effort, making it easy to fill in space, blend, shade and add texture to your drawing. They are the best pencils for shading and drawing portraits!

It can be ‘right clicked’ and ‘Save image as’, so you can use it as a reference for your drawing.

3b.) Make up your own shapes and add contour lines to them. Once you’re done, decide where the light is coming from and shade them in.

The side facing the light consists of the core light, highlight and mid-tones.

High, softer diffused lighting from a single light source Softbox

Is your shading incorrectly representing the form you intended to draw?

Shadow Lining is a great way to plan out your shading without having your outlines show through in your final drawing.

So now I have three tones, the lights, the form shadows and the cast shadows.

  • …will add more soon!
  • How to Shade a Face
  • How to Shade an Eyeball

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Tip: You can find the direction of the light source in a scene if you trace the edges of the cast shadow against the form it is cast from.

In photography, lighting can often be called hard light or soft light. Hard light is harsh light so creates strong shadows and harder edges.

3c.) Select 3 very different faces from a magazine and draw vertical and horizontal contour lines across each face.

When shading with a variety of pencil grades, each pencil should only cover a small range of values.

Tip: When drawing wrinkly or rough skin, avoid blending your graphite.

The addition of these values are subtle, but do their job in transforming a flat surface into a more shapely one. Also take a close look at the right forehead plane. The shading is even more subtle, but still does not come across as flat.

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Before you blend, make sure that your strokes are tight, the shading is even and there aren’t too many white and black dots. Blending smooths out your shading, but it’s not a miracle solution for lazy people. If your shading is sloppy to begin with, blending isn’t going to help.

Tip: If you re-positioned your hand on the pencil for any reason while shading, scribble on a scrap piece of paper until you regain the same stroke thickness before you continue with your drawing in case you catch a sharp edge.

Whether you download and use the reference image or set up your own study, just take it a step at a time, look out for the soft transitions and I hope you get some fantastic results!

For the face on the left, I would shade my drawing with an HB for outlines and eye-whites, a 4B for the rest of the face and maybe a 6B for the pupils.

Drawing pencils are preferred, but regular pencils can work. Mechanical pencils should not be used, however, as the point is too sharp to properly draw lighter shades.

However, working with pencil, subtleties can get added into the scene (that are there) too early on and the simple distinction between light and dark gets lost.

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1.f) Layering: Use an HB pencil to shade an even layer of graphite across the page. Split the area into 4 spaces labeling them 3, 2 and 1. Add a darker layer of graphite over your first layer from left to right and ease up on the pressure as you approach 1. Do the same thing except this time stopping at 2. Then the same thing for 3.

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One of the biggest mistakes beginners make in drawing, is keeping all of the edges the same – most commonly, all of the edges are kept sharp and crisp.

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In the image below, I used all of the realistic shading techniques above to convey wrinkly skin. For the first few layers, I used circulism, then I used the other three shading techniques to achieve various textures found in wrinkly skin.

Use cross-hatching to shade quickly. Cross-hatching builds onto hatch marks by adding a second layer of lines going at an opposite direction. For example, first, make parallel horizontal lines and then layer vertical lines on top of them.

This method of shading allows you to make areas darker quicker than basic hatching.[2]

Use blending for a smooth appearance. Blending your shading gives your drawing a smooth and realistic finish and requires the most time and technique to do correctly. Shade with the side of a soft graphite pencil and increase the amount of pressure you apply to the paper to make transitions between light and dark values.

[4]

To shade drawings, start by deciding where the light is coming from in your drawing so you know where the shadows and highlights will fall. Then, lightly shade in your entire drawing to create a base layer of shading. Next, go back and heavily shade the parts of your drawing that are hidden from the light so they’re the darkest. Finally, erase the parts of your drawing that the light is directly shining on to create white highlights. To learn different shading techniques you can use, like cross-hatching, keep reading!

Yes Press down firm on darker parts and sometimes use chalk for the highlights, since it can also blend with the charcoal to add a gray for multiple tones of shading.

If your tool belt currently consists of a single HB pencil, your portraits are probably lacking depth.

  • Use the same type of paper your drawing is on. Different papers have different textures and affect how the shades look.
  • Only use the values in your scale as you shade in your drawing.
  • Aim to have smooth transitions between each of the squares rather than having drastic changes in value. The square next to your lightest shade shouldn’t be too dark.

Practice shading simple forms like spheres, cylinders, and boxes. These forms are the main shapes used for shading people.

The Softbox gives us the fall of light we’re after, yet slightly softer edges on the shadows.

Is there a way to shade on drawing apps that don’t use layers?

When shading, you are essentially reproducing the value of light as it interacts with a form. Understanding light is crucial in order to create a convincing portrait.

Create a pointy end on your kneaded eraser to dab each of the dots away. Dab lightly! It’s tedious but well worth it.

If you want to convey a round edge, avoid abrupt shading transitions. The more gradual your shading is, the more smooth your edge becomes.

Again, if you’re using a highly textured paper, you might get some black dots across your drawing. If you’re shading skin, these dots can look like stubble (it’s even worse when paired with white dots). If you’re going to use a blending tool on your drawing, remove the dots first!

4B: Mid-tones, light shadows, detailing, hair, first layer of shading for clothes, background.

Does the overall shading of your portrait lack balance? Make sure your lighting is consistent across the entire portrait by keeping track of how dark you shade each area of the portrait. You can do this by referencing back to one main value. For me, the main value is the darkest or lightest value already established in the portrait.

During this exercise, you have to make a clear distinction between light and dark because you are using a pen – helping to prevent the separation becoming muddled.

Soft light is very diffused, creating softer shadows and softer edges. So if you wanted to photograph somebody in the most flattering light, you would have soft light. If you want to increase the dramatic quality of the scene you would use a hard light.

Find a circular object to draw lightly around, this helps to give you a starting point so we can easily put into practice the theory of the sphere from last week. I’m using to 2B pencil (Staedtler Mars Lumograph)

Don’t underestimate its importance because of its simplicity.

If you prefer to use only one pencil, I suggest using a 2B, 3B or 4B. They’re flexible enough to reach both ends of the value scale without much effort. If your drawings are usually light, go for a 2B. My favorite is 4B.

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And once I’m confident with the general shapes and shadow patterns, I work with a thicker pen (this is a Staedler whiteboard marker) to indicate the very darkest cast shadows within the drawing.

Part 1: Understanding Pencil Grades ⦁ Intro to Graphite Pencils ⦁ Shading with One Pencil ⦁ Shading with a Variety of Pencils ⦁ Black and White Part 2: Pencil Shading Techniques ⦁ Hatching ⦁ Cross Hatching ⦁ Circulism ⦁ Contour Shading Part 3: Pencil Shading Tips & Tricks ⦁ How to Shade Smoothly ⦁ Increase your Range of Motion ⦁ Use the Right Amount of Pressure ⦁ Value Consistency Part 4: Understanding Light ⦁ The Light and Dark Side ⦁ Cast Shadow and Occlusion Shadow Part 5: Intro to Planes Part 6: Representing Form ⦁ Abrupt vs Gradual Shading Transitions ⦁ Is Your Drawing Too Flat? ⦁ Bumps and Ridges Part 7: Shading Practice ⦁ Shading Exercises and Printable Worksheets

The curved line below the shadow line indicates a band where the form shadow core falls within. This will be the darkest area of the apple.

Using multiple pencil grades makes the job easy because there is less effort required to achieve a lighter or darker shade. For example, it would have been difficult to shade the background using an HB and even more difficult to shade highlights using a 6B.

If you’re shading into a lighter area, though, it helps to reduce the amount of pressure at the end of the stroke so you get a nice gradient instead of an abrupt change in value.

  • You can also use a sharp pencil to carefully fill in large or weirdly shaped dots to improve the texture of your shading.
  • Or you can blend the graphite using a blending tool of your choice.
  • Shading in many layers. You’ll notice that with each added layer, the dots reduce in size and number.
  • QuestionHow do I shade on drawing apps?wikiHow ContributorUsually drawing apps have layers. You can create a new layer and use it for shading, using paintbrush with dark colors like gray.
  • QuestionWhat are some easy things to draw for beginners learning to shade?wikiHow ContributorSome easy things to draw as a beginner would include normal everyday objects like spoons, plates, bowls, and fruit. Easy objects like that will give you a simple idea of all the concepts if you so choose to include them. Move up to animals and then humans if you like the process.
  • QuestionShading fur is difficult for me, what can I do to shade fur easier?wikiHow ContributorTry using the hatching method, putting more lines where you want the fur to look darker. Keep practicing and trying different things.
  • QuestionCan I use charcoal to shade drawings?wikiHow ContributorYes Press down firm on darker parts and sometimes use chalk for the highlights, since it can also blend with the charcoal to add a gray for multiple tones of shading.
  • QuestionCan I use other branded pencils if I do not have drawing pencils?wikiHow ContributorDrawing pencils are preferred, but regular pencils can work. Mechanical pencils should not be used, however, as the point is too sharp to properly draw lighter shades.
  • QuestionIs there a way to shade on drawing apps that don’t use layers?wikiHow Staff EditorYou can shade drawings all on the same layer, but it will also affect the line drawing you’ve made.
  • QuestionDo I need different pencils for shading?Anirudh MuraliIt’s good to have a set of different shading pencils in order to give your sketch a good depth. Having said that, a single pencil can work fine too if you can adjust your strokes, with or without the help of your shade card.
  • QuestionDo you use the same method for showing depth in people?wikiHow Staff EditorPractice shading simple forms like spheres, cylinders, and boxes. These forms are the main shapes used for shading people.
  • QuestionHow do I protect my drawings from smudging?wikiHow ContributorStart by using good quality sketch paper. Be careful. Think about the softness of your lead, because if it’s softer, that provokes smudging. An easier way for you to not worry about this is to permanently “fix” your drawings. In other words, outline it with a good, thin permanent marker, and color it if you wish.
  • QuestionWhat is a blending stump?wikiHow ContributorA blending stump is a white stick of paper with a pointed end on each side. You use it to rub the graphite from your pencil into the paper once you have added shade. It makes your shading look smoother, but it might remove some texture from the drawing. Once the point gets blackened, you usually sand it to get more stump.

Blend your marks with a smudge stick if you want a smooth finish. Mix your values together, working from the darkest part of your drawing to the lightest. Use the side of the smudge stick to make smooth transitions between different values.[10]

  • Pencils with soft graphite (HB or lower)
  • Paper
  • Smudge stick (optional)
  • Eraser

Usually drawing apps have layers. You can create a new layer and use it for shading, using paintbrush with dark colors like gray.

Add drop shadows for a realistic look. If you want your object to look three-dimensional, a drop shadow will make it look like your drawing exists in deeper space. Your drop shadow will mimic the shape of the object casting it.

Determine the surface where the shadow would land, and use the side of your pencil to shade in the drop shadow.[11]

A blending stump is a white stick of paper with a pointed end on each side. You use it to rub the graphite from your pencil into the paper once you have added shade. It makes your shading look smoother, but it might remove some texture from the drawing.

Once the point gets blackened, you usually sand it to get more stump.

Start with hatching for a basic shading technique. Hatching is making a series of parallel lines to simulate shadows in your drawing. You can space the lines closer together to make darker shadows or the lines can be spaced further apart to make the area seem brighter.

Pull hatching lines in one long stroke to keep them uniform.[1]

I fill in the form shadow, working over the first, form shadow core band.

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Home Learn How to Draw How to shade & pencil shading techniques

Now I feel confident to go heavier on the form shadow core as I have both the dark cast shadow and the dark stalk to judge against.

I can then indicate the shadow side by hatching lines with the pen.

The side facing away from the light consists of the core shadow and reflected light.

Lightly work across the whole of the light side to indicate the half tone.

Holding the pencil lightly, I gently indicate the softer, lighter tail of the cast shadow.

This week we’re going to put pencil to paper and see how the theory works in a simple pencil drawing of an apple…

Apply light pressure with your pencil to create a base layer of shading. Use a soft pencil, like a 4B hardness, to create the middle shade. Move your arm back and forth rather than your wrist to maintain a smooth range of motion.[7]

In the image on the right, the light source is coming from the top left. The area facing the light is the light side and the area facing away from the light is the shadow side.

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In this Article:Article SummaryChoosing a Shading MethodAdding Value to Your DrawingCommunity Q&A11 References

1.e) Pick out a few different pencil grades such as HB, 2B, 4B and 6B. Shade in order from hardest to softest pencil and go from left to right. Your goal is to blend the values together seamlessly so you get something that looks like image 1.a).

You can tell how hard or soft a pencil is by looking at the combination of letters and numbers printed on the end of each pencil.

Click here for a full step by step tutorial on how to shade a face

A cast shadow appears when a form blocks light from reaching the surface of another form. The edges of a cast shadow can appear soft or hard depending on the intensity and distance of the light source. In direct sunlight the edges will appear hard, while in diffused light such as a cloudy day, edges will be soft.

For the face on the right, I would use an HB for outlines and highlights, 4B for my first layer of shading, 5B for the second layer and light shadows, 6B for darker shadows and eye detailing, and finally a 9B for the darkest shadows.

There are a few factors involved in achieving a smooth pencil shade.

6a.) Shade the 2 shapes using an overhand grip while moving your elbow and shoulder. Make sure to scribble on a separate sheet of paper before you begin to increase the thickness of your lines. Make sure that each stroke you make reaches the full length of each shape. Only lift your pencil once you get from one end to the other.

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Avoid holding your pencil like you would if you were writing, especially if you just sharpened your pencil. The lines are more difficult to blend and it requires more time and effort to keep your strokes tight, not to mention cover more ground. A drawing shaded like this will look very scratchy.

It’s common for beginners to leave large areas of their portraits (such as cheeks) white. Areas that remain white or are shaded with a solid tone indicate that they are facing the same direction. Have a look at the center forehead plane in the three images below.

5b.) Find 3 faces in a magazine and use a pen to outline major planes.

An opaque bulb will give you a light source in between the two examples above. O.k – you won’t have a diffuser to mimic a Softbox – but it won’t be as hard as direct sunlight either.

In this light and shadow series we look at the theory, drawing and painting of a simple form focusing on shadow, light and edges.

Pro tip: Working with a permanent marker pen is the best method I’ve found for practicing this technique. It forces you to make a clean decision in your mind before committing pen to paper.

  • Instead of dots make short lines that overlap to make shading in a more Impressionist style.
  • Stippling works great for shading with a thicker marker.

Click here for my extensive tutorial on how to shade a face!

Darken the areas that are furthest from the light source. Press slightly harder with your pencil to make darker values on the opposite side of your light source. Build up layers of shading, working towards the darkest part of the drawing.[8]

  • Work from real life or a photograph to understand how light affects the object you’re drawing. Move lights if you can to play with different shadow angles.
  • People looking at your drawing will be drawn to the lightest areas of the drawing. Determine the area that you want viewers to focus on and make it the brightest.

  • White paper, either regular computer paper or cartridge paper
  • Eraser – I use a putty eraser
  • 2B & 6B pencil – I use Staedtler Mars Lumograph
  • A tortillion – I use a paper stump which is very similar to compressed paper.
  • A round object to draw around (approx 7cm wide)

If you enjoyed the tutorial, share it with all your friends using the share buttons below!

You guys asked for it, so here it is: the most requested tutorial to date: How to Shade + Shading Techniques! 🙂

Using a putty eraser I take back any of the shape that has gone slightly out.

This sketch is based on the Cézanne painting from last week. I’m using a black, fine line gel pen. This one is 0.5 mm from Muji.

You can also hold your pencil with a regular grip which would give you more precision, but it’s not as good for shading large spaces where you need the shading to be smooth.

If you need help selecting the best pencil grades for a portrait, create a value scale using your own graphite pencils, compare the values to your reference image directly and select the range of pencils that closely match the values you need.

The HB pencil (aka #2 pencil) is absolutely great for drawing preliminary outlines and shading light areas because it doesn’t require much effort to produce faint lines. However, you’ll need to apply a lot of pressure when it comes to shading dark shadows. All this effort can damage your paper, resulting in a drawing that doesn’t translate well from multiple viewing angles. Not to mention, it will be impossible to erase.

Shading is the process of applying varying levels of darkness to create the illusion of form and depth.

If you want your line drawings to pop off the page and simulate a three-dimensional look, add value and shading to your drawing. Shading adds depth, contrast, and helps direct the viewer’s eyes to the focal point of your art. After you choose a method for shading, you can start in your drawing and bring it to life!

  • Your darkest shadow is called the core shadow.
  • Rounded shapes will have reflected shadows on the opposite side of the light source. These shadows are lighter than the core shadow but darker than the highlights.

Before we get started on the main event, here’s a really quick way of practicing looking for the shadow line.

It’s often the first sketch that is the most effective at conveying the sense of form rather than an overworked, detailed drawing.

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Erase areas that have bright highlights. The areas closest to your light source will be the brightest parts of your drawings. Work gently with your eraser to lighten the areas in layers to develop a smooth transition from light to dark.[9]

Start by using good quality sketch paper. Be careful. Think about the softness of your lead, because if it’s softer, that provokes smudging. An easier way for you to not worry about this is to permanently “fix” your drawings.

In other words, outline it with a good, thin permanent marker, and color it if you wish.

I then shade a mid-tone along this form shadow core. Even though it’s going to be darker than this eventually, it will help you to judge the different tones within the drawing.

If you can learn to alter the weight of line and to incorporate more soft edges in your drawings, it will make a massive difference to the realism and style of your work.

You can click on the links below to quickly jump to any section of the tutorial. However, I highly suggest you read all the way through!

To achieve a realistic drawing that communicates form and depth, your drawing will need to have a wide range of values. Invest in a set of high quality pencils with a range of grades that fit your specific drawing needs.

I then draw in any darker accents on the bottom of the objects.

The surface of a cube is much easier for someone to shade realistically compared to a sphere because you can clearly see which sides of the object are facing the light and which ones are facing away. These flat surfaces are called planes.

This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 11 references. wikiHow’s Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article meets our high standards.

Aside from practicing proper shading and blending techniques, a good understanding of light, planes and contours are crucial for turning a flat line drawing into a realistic portrait that conveys the illusion of form, bringing your drawing to life.

The hardest part of shading hands down is being able to add the right amount of value in the right spots.

Or it could be an area of high contrast (light and dark) to draw the viewer’s attention.

I’m keeping the lines evenly spaced and changing the direction of them, depending on the direction of the form. Notice how all of the cast shadows on the table are hatched in the same direction.

  • Charcoal and graphite are the easiest media to work with if you’re trying to get a smooth blended finish. Pens, markers, and ink are best shaded with a form of hatching.
  • Start working on shading simple shapes like cones, cubes, cylinders, and spheres. These shapes are the building blocks of every other shape you’ll need to shade.

Continue the shade over the edge of the apple, this is called combining the shadow shapes.

When using this technique to draw skin with fine wrinkles, use a sharp tip. For smooth skin, angle your pencil more so you get slightly blunt circles which are much easier to blend, giving the skin a softer appearance.

At this point, you may notice some inconsistencies. Make corrections by adding a few more layers where needed.

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White: You may have seen artists use correctional fluid (whiteout), paint or white pencil crayon to bring out strong highlights in their drawing. This gives the drawing a very impactful look and can enhance the level realism. Here’s an example.

This is my longest tutorial to date, consisting of more than 3,400 words! I tried to cover as much as I could in this tutorial. If there’s something you’d like me to add, please let me know!

HB: Preliminary outlines, some highlights, first layer of shading, eye-whites.

This one piece of information that can drastically alter your drawings and paintings.

Before you shade anything, analyze your subject until you understand it’s contours instead of trying to figure it out as you draw. It really helps to observe your subject from multiple angles. Once you familiarize yourself with your subject, decide on how you will shade before you actually shade.

Download the printable worksheets below and follow the instructions carefully. If you don’t have a printer, that’s okay. Follow along using your sketchbook!

5a.) Select any 3 objects around you and simplify them using geometric shapes. Shade them once you’re done.

So now your eyes are tuned in, let’s get on with the form drawing using a pencil.

Are you frustrated by inconsistent, short, choppy strokes? Improve the quality of your strokes and increase your stroke length by harnessing the power of your elbow and shoulder.

This is my favorite and most used technique, especially for speed drawings! It’s a huge time saver.

6B: Darkest shadows, hair, clothes, dark areas of background, pupils, inside the mouth and nostrils.

For example: If I’m shading a face using the circulism method, I will also use circulism to outline shadows and highlights on the face. If you don’t outline your shadows or highlights, then this method may not apply to you (It’s very effective for drawing hairlines though).

Try using the hatching method, putting more lines where you want the fur to look darker. Keep practicing and trying different things.

The pencil grades I use the most for portrait drawing are: HB, 4B, 6B and 8B from Derwent. You can click here to check it out on Amazon.

Shading fur is difficult for me, what can I do to shade fur easier?

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The wikiHow Video Team also followed the article’s instructions and validated that they work. Learn more…

It’s good to have a set of different shading pencils in order to give your sketch a good depth. Having said that, a single pencil can work fine too if you can adjust your strokes, with or without the help of your shade card.

Also, see how you can judge the angle of the sun via the length of the cast shadow and the bright highlight.

This has just given me a really good idea of the shadow patterns within the scene. It can be a great exercise to do if you’re out in bright sunlight as you can get really distinct shadow shapes.

This set up demonstrates each distinct area to be aware of, exaggerating the widest tonal range and when you’re a beginner it’s the simplest way to see the difference between the tones.

It’s at this point I swap back to the 2B and draw the hard, sharp line at the base of the cast shadow.

Here’s an example from my face shading tutorial using the hatching technique.

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I sketch out the outline of the object and then put in both the cast shadow and the shadow line.

This shading technique consists of a series of lines that go in one general direction. You can increase the value by applying more pressure and or using a softer grade of pencil.

Next time we’ll be back in the studio where we’ll develop this apple study into a simple contemporary painting.

1.d) Shade a solid tone from one end of your sketchbook to the other. Lift your pencil every now and then and rotate it slightly before you continue shading. Don’t forget to scribble on a scrap piece of paper to test your pencil’s sharpness before you continue! Your goal is to make it look as though you never lifted the pencil at all.

Sometimes, we may have the tendency to over represent or exaggerate subtle forms such as eye bags, pimples and smile lines. Instead of defining a form using an outline or line, practice representing these forms using gradients.

  • Add white pencil or pastel to make solid white areas that pop. Use this sparingly so it isn’t too overwhelming.
  • Certain materials will reflect light in different ways. Objects with metallic finishes will have a brighter highlight while objects with a matte finish will look duller.
  • Draw the cross-hatching lines close together to make a densely shaded area on your drawing or spread them apart to make it lighter.
  • Use hatch marks without a second layer to make a lighter shadow.

Planes angled towards the light directly are the lightest. As the planes start angling away from the light, they receive less and less light, hence appearing darker.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before and while you shade:

Before shading a portrait, it’s good practice to simplify what you see by breaking areas of the face into planes so your brain can process the information better. This allows you to find patterns of light more easily and can also improve your overall drawing accuracy.

The different characteristics of the light hitting an object can completely change its appearance.

Can I use other branded pencils if I do not have drawing pencils?

The cross hatching technique consists of overlapping lines coming from multiple directions.

Work with stippling for a stylized look. Stippling is a time-intensive process of lifting your pencil up and down from the paper to make a series of dots on your drawing. Make an area of your drawing darker by keeping the dots close to one another.

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Lightly draw an ellipse shape to indicate the cast shadow. Notice how the ellipse cuts through the shape of the circle.

This technique is similar to hatching or cross hatching, except you’re curving the lines to follow the contour of the form you are shading. Contour lines can be drawn vertically, horizontally and even diagonally. This is a great shading technique to practice giving form to your line drawings. With a sharp pencil tip, it’s great for shading fine wrinkles.

A typical full set of pencils will range from 9H (hardest) to 9B (softest). Having a full set is not necessary for portrait drawing. The range you need depends on the type of drawings you do.

5c.) Draw planar faces and shade them by coming up with as many lighting arrangements as you can think of.

The center plane in the first image is shaded with a solid tone, making it appear flat. The following two images introduce a range of very subtle tones, giving the surface slight bumps.

Below are a few portrait pencil shading techniques for beginners and experienced artists alike.

Notice how when you shade with the paper stump, it slightly darkens the tone.

Click the following link and hit the download button beside the printer icon to download the PDF: RapidFireArt Tutorials – How to Shade Pencil Shading Techniques

If you’d like to learn more about sfumato and drawing techniques you should have a look at the How to draw light & shadow online drawing course

  • The hardness of the edge of your drop shadow depends on the strength of your light source. Brighter lights will cause a harder edge while dim lights make the edges softer.
  • Look at a photograph or a still-life to see how your light angle affects the drop shadow.

This position can, however work very well for shading areas of the skin with fine lines/wrinkles.

  • Hatching lines can be horizontal, vertical, or at an angle.
  • Follow the angles and curves of objects with the shapes of your line to simulate a three-dimensional form. For example, shade a round object with curved lines rather than straight lines.
  • Practice shading on simple polygon forms, like cubes and spheres before jumping in to shade your drawing.
  • Art pencils have varying degrees of hardness and are labeled with a number and either the letter B or H. Soft graphite is labeled with the letter B and gets softer with a higher number. Hard graphite is labeled with the letter H and is more difficult to use for smooth transitions the higher the number goes. A standard number 2 pencil has an HB hardness, which is a medium between hard and soft graphite.
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You can shade drawings all on the same layer, but it will also affect the line drawing you’ve made.

Hard pencils produce clean, sharp and light lines which are great for sketching, architectural drawings, product sketches, etc. The harder the pencil, the more difficult it is to blend or smudge.

  • Smudge sticks can be purchased at any art supply store or online.
  • Don’t use your finger to blend values. Your finger gives you less control than a smudge stick and the oils from your skin could affect your drawing over time.

When using this technique, always angle your pencil more towards the paper so your strokes are nice and thick. This allows you to minimize gaps, making it easier to blend.

The term a ‘hard edge’ can describe two very hard surfaces, such as a tabletop with a metal cube on top of it or most commonly in drawing, we talk about the hard edge being an area that has a sharpness to it or a focal point of the drawing.

Using our secret weapon, our paper stump I start to blend the tones together to achieve the soft transition between the light side and the shadow side.

I use this technique to convey wrinkled or highly textured skin as well as some types of fabrics.

Reinforce the cast shadow shape noticing – the darkest part that sits directly under the apple, the mid tone that makes up the majority of the cast shadow shape whilst keeping a lighter line as you get towards the lightest, softest tail of the cast shadow.

If you want to practice shading on simple objects, grab a bright lamp, a set of geometric shapes and set up a scene!

Be careful when shading or outlining with sharp, hard pencils because they can leave deep indents in your paper which are very difficult to cover up.

This is a method I came up with a while back where I only use a specific shading technique to outline areas of light and shadow before I shade. I don’t want to explain it using 3 paragraphs every time I refer to it, so I’m going to call it shadow lining from now on. I think it’s a car detailing term but it fits, so I’ll just use it.

Create a value scale to use for cross referencing if needed.

I’m going to use a sphere with one main light source as an example because the light is more predictable.

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I now use a hard line and add slight angles to the circle, to represent more accurately the shape of the apple.

1.g) Select a few different pencil grades and shade a series of rectangles. Use only your pencil to blend each of the values together.

The first one used direct sunlight because it’s not diffused it has created a harder, more solid shadow line and cast shadow.

The image above is the final reference image I’ll use for this demonstration.

For the exercises below, try to implement the shading tips and techniques mentioned in Part 2 of the tutorial. You can apply different shading techniques to the exercises too (cross hatching, circulism, etc).

The second one used a slightly higher lighting position with a softer light creating a softer cast shadow edge.

A small table lamp without a shade is a good choice for setting up your still life at home, if you want to work from life, rather than the photograph above.

One of the key lessons from this demonstration I want you to come away with is to understand the importance of soft edges in your drawings.

4.a) Determine the direction of the light and shade vertically along each jagged line. Around sharp edges, tighten your terminator and loosen it around smoother edges. If you really want a challenge, give each image cast shadows as well.

Black: With graphite pencils, you won’t get a deep black. However, you can achieve it with charcoal. They are actually very commonly used together with amazing results.

For this demonstration, I’ve created a lighting set up using one single light source which gives us a predictable fall of light.

Determine the direction of your light source. Your light source will determine where the darkest shadows and the brightest highlights appear on your drawing. Shadows will be on the opposite side of your light source while highlights will appear where your light source is pointing.

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So, it could be a crisp line to indicate changes in shape or angularity.

So as we go through the next demo, I’ll indicate the areas to keep soft and the areas to keep sharper.

The longer a cast shadow gets, the lighter and softer it becomes due to reflected light from the environment around it.

Shade the apple stalk as dark as you can get it, it’s practically black on the reference image and it doesn’t need to blend into any other tones – so we can afford to go as dark as possible.

Make a value scale from light to dark on a separate piece of paper. Draw a long rectangle and separate it with lines into 10 equal pieces. Shade the square on one side of the rectangle with your darkest value.

Start to add value to the adjacent square so it is lighter than the darkest value. Work on each square, making them progressively lighter, until you reach the other end of the rectangle. Leave the last square empty so that it is brightest value.

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The area immediately below the sphere is called an occlusion shadow and is usually the darkest area as it is least affected by reflected light.

Below are two photographs to illustrate the subtle differences in the shadow strengths when I altered the lighting slightly.

1.a)  Without lifting your pencil or taking any breaks, draw tight lines back and forth from one end of your sketch book to the other. Gradually increase your pressure as you go. Your goal is to get a smooth gradient.

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Below is a breakdown of what you can expect to learn from this shading tutorial.

I continue to work between softening and sharpening and blending.

Using the softer 6B pencil, I reinforce the cast shadow depth of tone.

I then make a mark indicating the furthest point of the cast shadow.

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