This Article is About
shading techniques
natural instinct
smooth tone
distinct difference
good art
skill level
Shading Techniques Part 2
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Shading Techniques Part 2

Shading is all about technique. Is it better to shade from lightest to medium to darkest or from darkest to medium to lightest? That is the question. Which technique stems from fact and which stems from guesswork?

You KNOW when you have darkest because there is no paper showing through the shaded area. If you can see the paper showing through your shading, you do not have darkest -- that's a fact. There is no need to ask anyone, or to wonder if you have darkest. If no paper is showing through the shaded area, you have darkest.

Now, continue to circle number two and shade it starting with darkest, then going to medium, then to lightest. Your goal should be a smooth-tone-blend. No harsh outstanding lines, just a smooth tone blend from darkest to medium to lightest. You might want to practice this technique on a separate paper first.

Is there a difference between the circles? Your skill level will determine whether there is a distinct difference between the two circles. Shading is great fun and, like everything, it gets better with practice. I hope you enjoyed this little experiment and that you have learned something about shading you didn’t know.

A note about shading -- drawing students have a tendency to take the index finger and apply it to the shaded area to get the smooth tone blend. It is almost a natural instinct to do this, but it is damaging to your artwork. It doesn’t help with blending and is considered one of the great taboos of shading.

Why can’t I use my finger? -- What’s wrong with that? I get these questions from students all the time. The problem with using your index finger to shade is that the oils from your finger blend with the lead of the pencil and become a smudge. You are no longer shading but smudging. It is not good art technique.

So, keep that finger under wraps and let the pencil do all the art work. Practice shading from darkest to medium to lightest and your shaded drawings will be outstanding.

If you, as an art student, feel a need to use your index finger for shading then use this alternative instead ...

Take small pieces of paper and roll them into a cone-like shape, with a pointy tip. The piece of paper should only be an inch or so. Use the tip of the paper cone to do the work your finger would have done. Do not use the same paper cone twice.

Happy shading!

Street Talk

Good article, Lewis

  about 9 years ago

Thank you!

  about 9 years ago
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