Shading is an important skill for every artist to develop.
Shading requires certain tools and steps to be developed in
order to master.
The ability to shade is determined on how well you can see value
relationships, along with a basic understanding of how light
works. Value, or how light or dark something is, is relative.
Like many things artists experience, no single value can exist
by itself. Our eye will automatically lighten or darken. A
medium grey will look almost white next to black and very dark
next to white. When determining value, it is important to squint
or open your eyes very wide. This keeps you from focusing in on
a single value and look at all of the value relationships
together as a whole. Without doing this our eye will play a
trick on us. For example, if we focus in on a shadow area of our
subject, our eye will adjust to that specific value field and
give us a false reading. We will have a tendency to start
averaging our values, making our lights to dark and our darks to
light, failing to see the over all relationships.
Your sensitive touch to the pencil is very important in shading.
Shading can range from blacks, dark grays, middle grays, lights,
all the way to whites. Each of these tones is usually
represented in your drawings. Your pencil and the pressure
applied to it, is another key to shading. It is important that
as an artist you understand pressure and pay attention to how it
affects your drawings.
Blending is also a skill in shading. Blending graphite can be
done easily with the correct method. Laying pencil on smoothly
with the strokes close together (so much so that it’s hard to
tell one stroke from another) is essential and necessary to good
shading. A controlled stroke laid carefully with even pressure
is important. I also recommend using the end of a kneaded eraser
to help you blend.
Again, practice is the most important advice I can give any
artist. Passion and practice will overcome any lack of talent.
If you have questions, feel free to contact