Shading Methods

Your pencils can help you create many varied lines and textures: thick or thin lines, hard or soft lines, and any manner of shading. The methods you use to achieve them are called technique. With work and time, these techniques evolve into your own style. Try the following methods of shading with different papers and pencils. The key is to experiment; remember that mistakes help us to learn.

Circular Shading

As seen in the illustration (above right), this method starts at the right side with small, circular shapes. As you continue shading toward the left, the circles merge and disappear into a beautiful, rich tone. I use this type of shading to render intricate studies like the drawing below. It is a type of eye exercise that can help you see the landscape as shapes of lights and darks.

Yesterday, SVi"x 8", carbon pencil on Whatman paper.

Angular Buildup

These sketches of a tree and fence show two ways of rendering a subject with angular lines. In the sketch at left, the pencil is held in the position for sketching outdoors. As you build the tone, the preliminary lines disappear, and your darks and lights emerge —an excellent method for outdoor sketching. The righthand sketch is a more decorative type of angular rendering, but one must be careful not to let the line pattern distract from the picture.

The drawing below was created using the angular buildup. Not much was added to the preliminary shading in the background tree. You can see that the shading was carried further to build up the darks of the bark in the tree in front.

Shading Drawings Nature
Angular Buildup

Tentacles, 23"x31", charcoal. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. George Schiele.

This drawing was executed with a '/t-inch charcoal stick in a mechanical pencil. The pine needles were rendered with a B charcoal pencil.

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Human Skull Sketch Angular Shading Methods Drawing
Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

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