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10 tips about drawing #3 - Shading

Journal Entry: Thu Sep 27, 2012, 7:03 PM

Third round of 10 simple and effective tips about drawing, this time a bit more spesific, time to delve into shading, the one area I feel I have progressed the most.

**This is my own personal take and oppinion about shading, take it with a grain of salt :D **

1. Shade and blend An extremely common way to shade, but not only overused but more often than not used incorrectly.
You lay down a value pref. with an HB or softer pencil and blend it into the paper from the dark to the light, but the thing here to remember is to not go too hard in blending at first, if you do it is very tricky to manipulate the values after.
Think of the tooth of the paper like grass, don´t just stomp them down on the first go, gently grace the paper with a blending stump/tissue/q-tip etc and once you start to approach the desired value you can go a little harder.

2. Directional blending Much as 1. but directional blending means you always blend following the curve of what you are drawing,
You do not blend straight across a drawing of an apple, you follow the roundness of the apple and curve your blending as you go, more so here it is important to go soft,
If you blend to hard this way you will get overlapping lines in between the blending that can ruin a drawing.
When I blend like this I blend as if I am drawing a 9 value with pencil, my blending stump is barely touching the paper, but enough so to feather out the value I have layed down.

3. Hatching and crossshatching Normal hatching is often used to give a drawing a stylized look, a good example for hatching is drawing elongiated lines to indicate heavy rain.
Crosshatching you do the same except add another layer or more in different directions from the first.
Hatching is more used for fast and/or stylized work, it quickly tells the viewer where the shadow shapes are and besides it looks really cool when done correct, I especially like using it when Im doing 5-10 min drawings.
Crosshatching can be as simple as looking like a grid pattern or as complicated as where you do not see the lines at all, and if you draw with a pen you really have to rely on good crosshatching to make the drawing stand out.
Dark crosshatching is lines that are tighter and with more layers, light is more space between the lines and less layers, it is important to stay true to your line value when crosshatching, otherwise the drawing might loose the uniform feel to it.

4. Squirlies and swirlies. Simple and easy, just move the pencil around however you like, draw figure 8s, circles, anything random basicly.
A good example and its an easy practice too, draw a circle, shade the inside of it using this method and you will quickly notice that it looks like a cotton ball.
This type of shading gives a non solid feel to things, can be used to draw anything from textured clothing like a nitted sweather to leafs on a tree, it leaves a lot up to the viewer, it is quite ambigious and can leave people staring at an artwork and get different meanings from it every time.

5. Stippling. Dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot...... Well that is basicly how stippling goes, you use the point of the pencil/pen and dot away on a paper, more dots for darker areas and less for lighter.
It is nothing short of extremely time consuming and its monotonic nature can just about bore anyone, this is a way of shading for the really patient ones, but the special look you get from this type of shading can really be worth it, if you google stippling and check out some of the images there you quickly get an idea for its use and worth.

6. Layering My favourite kind of shading, it is quite slow and timeconsuming but it looks really good when done properly.
If you put a layered artwork next to a blended one the layered will have pretty much the same soft qualities as a blended one but it will look way more sharp and crisp compared.
It works by using the values of different pencils starting from harder lighter pencils to as soft a pencil you would need to reach the desired value ( 2h - hb - 2b - 4b - 6b etc ),
More so here it is important to keep a somewhat light touch as you progress through the pencils so that when you get to the softer pencils there is still some tooth left in the paper to absorb the extra graphite, and also have the consistancy and patience to keep it up through all the areas needed to have the consistant look.
This is not to say that this is the best way of shading, it is just my preference, you can combine any type of shading you feel like in a drawing to create whatever effect you like, that is the power of shading, anything goes as long as it creates the desired effect.

7. Getting blacks. Graphite shine ( the reflections you get from graphite on paper when using darker pencils and pressing down hard ), can make or break a drawing.
Getting a truly black value that stays true isnt just taking your 8b and stabbing it into the paper, Ive read about artist that has used up to 80 layers to get a really really black value on paper.
When talking about drawing and not painting you can´t get away from using charcoal for getting in those extreme dark values, and it is time consuming to get really richs darks.
You layer your area with charcoal, turn the drawing paper upside down and tap the back to get rid of those loose particles, then you spray the area with fixative and let it dry, this way you can continue to build and build and build ontop until you reach that super dark you want.
There is however a pencil that delivers almost charcoal type blacks, the Generals Kimberly 525 9xxb, it is really dark and has almost no shine due to the fact that there is carbon in it, its not as black as the darkest charcoal but it does the job for any pencil enthusiast.
Fixative also helps on a pure pencil drawing to get rid of a lot of the graphite shine in it, but it won´t get rid of it all.

8. Continuous line You can shade by using continous lines, it is however a pretty hefty dexterity check to do so.
Instead of lifting up the pencil to make new lines for shading, you keep the pencil on the paper and move it around following the curves and contour of what you are drawing, if you keep a soft touch doing this it isnt really that hard to shade this way.
It might not be a way of shading for everyone, but it is a really good way to start out a drawing, as you are in contact with the paper all the time and it keeps you focused.
One I know to really fav. this type of shading and drawing is Matthew over at www.drawing-tutorials-online.c… , so if you like continous lines his site got all you need drawn this way.

9. zig zag I call this "The impatients way of shading", cause this was certainly a thing I did when I started out and wanted "amazing" results in just 30 minutes :D. Its just zig zagging your pencil fast over an area you want shaded, its fast and delivers really quick results, however it does not look so good as you get darker values on the edges of your pencil motion than the center.
You can combine this with blending and many do, however I would advice to try not to use it too much, it can look quite ugly and can easily ruin a drawing.

10. Different pencils and paper. I have not drawn for long enough to have gone through a bunch of pencils, so my basis for comparison is my own personal oppinion and take on this.
But I use different types of pencil when I shade, for instance I feel that the Blick Studio H type pencils is richer and smoother than any other I have tested, the Blick 4h vs the 2h has way more difference than say the Staedtler mars lumograph 4h vs 2h, and I use the Derwent hb and 2b cause I feel those are richer at those values than the other I use, but for softer than those I go to the Staedtler ones, so I use 4b-8b from staedtler, and then the Kimberly 9xxb as mentioned above for rich darks.
I don´t feel I have to stay trued to any brand of pencils, I feel that those that produces the better pencils at the values I need is the one better suited for the job, now the example above is differet ofc depending on the paper you use, but it is very good to experiment a little to find what suits your needs.
Ever drawn a drawing and felt midway that this isnt the right paper for the job ?
Well I certainly have, and there is no question that the choice of paper is vital to a good drawing as well as what pencil and technique you use.
Finding the right equipment, technioque and style to use for what type of drawing you want to do takes time and experimenting, I for one am starting to figure out more how to use equipment to my advantage more and more but yet have a lot to learn.
So all in all, don´t just settle with simple copy paper and the cheap pencils you got at a local store, try a little with different things ( that doesnt mean you have to buy 100s of dollars worth of equipment ), if you are in an artstore, ask to try out a pencil on some paper ( they often have some testing paper laying around ) get a feel for something, and if you are not sure about something, dont buy a whole set, settle with 1 or 2 pencils to test it out first to see if you like it, personal taste matters more imo.

Thats all for now, have a great day. :)

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JimmiGilbi Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome Tommy. A nice little remind and helpful to those that don't know. I appreciate the effort that took to write. Thanks Mate
Trichardsen Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Professional Photographer
you are mucho welcome. :)
susanjo Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012
Thanks for the tips!!
Trichardsen Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Professional Photographer
My pleasure. :)
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