Search The Web

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Practice Shading

Practice gives quality to your shading. You get a better grip and control as you practice daily and I am confident that you will see progress each time. Quality art works are executed with quality strokes. One must labor with patience and love to achieve it. Do not throw what you have accomplished - keep it, compile it, collect it or have it framed to preserve it. Be it drawn in cheap materials, it does not really matter! Let your peers appreciate your piece.

For a time, I was out of touch from something I love doing the most due to a lot of things. But my love for the arts is truly, once again, finding its way back to my passion. I am sure that you would feel the same way once you get hooked to this.

Are you ready to practice something interesting today? Let me show you what I have been doing the past days

Title: Chillies
Medium: Charcoal/ Colored Pencils on Paper
Artiest: Yet  Diago

That's a lot of shading to practice. By the time you finish the whole lot, you would have a better control on your strokes. Enjoy every stroke. Do not rush. Take your time. It is going to be fun.

Materials I used:

  • Canson Sketch Pad
  • Charcoal pencil (light grade)
  • Chinese brush for blending
  • Colored Pencils

Step 1: I started from the center (and worked around towards the edges of the paper). I did this to avoid touching the shaded surface and prevent the drawing from unwanted smudges. I shaded the area lightly and evenly with color red. I repeated the process on the surface that should have a pure color which would be the midtone. 

Step 2: I combined a darker shade of color red with brown to shade the areas that should be in shadows. I repeated the process slowly and carefully, building a depth to the shading; adjusting irregular strokes to keep the tonal changes as smooth as possible until I achieved the intensity of the tone I want.

Step 3In step 1, I started shading the object from light color to dark. But here on this step, I would start from dark shading to light. Reason for this was the soft lead of the charcoal pencil which can be easily applied. 

Step 4I shaded the dark areas repeatedly and slowly until the tones build up and worked gradually easing the pressure on the pencil towards the light until no marks can be seen. I used the tip of a chinese brush to blend the transition of the graduated tone smoothly. (Repeat the process if needed.)

Step 4: Do the same on the others as you progress with the drawing and shading.

Step 5: Focus on the details and refine your strokes; adjust shading.

So there, another piece done. If you feel you need to practice more, just do so and try other subjects. Please feel free to email me your drawing/s so I can provide you a feedback/s on your progress. This will help you improve your shading skill.

Come back for the next lesson.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shading with Colored Pencils


Pretty much in colored pencil rendering we use the same methods that of with pencil shading. The only difference is that we shade subjects  in rich colors. We have additional technique called burnishing. Layers of colored pencil are applied in strong pressure.  

Title: Bamboo
Medium: Colored Pencils  on Paper
Artist: Yet Diago

You already have the basic knowledge in different methods of shading. You can spend time experimenting these techniques with colored pencils as another medium.. You can blend colors to create different effects. However, the quality of paper is one thing you need to consider as cheap ones cannot hold layers and layers of application. Though colored pencil is a dry medium, it is easy to mix and blend colors that come close to the exact hue and value you want. Rough papers can take many colors to blend. It can also give texture to your drawing and make them look artistic. Use a soft lead colored pencils; when applied in layers they look like paint in appearance. Do not be afraid to try different things with your colored pencil art as this medium is greatly flexible and easy to manage.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shading Methods and Showing Contrast


Hatching: A method that uses multiple fine lines to give an effect of shading.Cross-hatching further darken areas in shadows. The closer the lines are the darker the area will look.

Stippling: Also called Pointillism is a method that uses multiple dots in shading. The more dense the dots are the darker the area will look. This method is time consuming but very rewarding indeed.

Scribbling: This method is similar to hatching but less uniform. This is a different approach to loosen up and have a unique experience with your medium.

Blending: This is the most popular among artists. Often done with the use of a shading stick, cotton swab, finger etc. This can give a special smooth polished effect. I don't personally smudge but I sometimes use it to selected areas for a smooth blend.

The illustration below shows a variety of methods I used to complete this.

Title: Sunset
Medium: Pencil on  Paper
Artist: Yet Diago

The darkest areas were shaded repeatedly with an ordinary pencil until I achieved the darkest tone in the scale. The farthest mountain were done in hatching and the others in scribbling. I used a cotton swab to blend and smoothen a bit of its surface. A cotton swab was likewise used on the water area to give it a more dramatic effect. The tree was executed in repeated stippling until the darkest of shade in the scale was achieved.

How this was drawn.

Step 1: Outline the drawing.

Step 2: Shade darkest area.

Step 3: Move to midtones; compare to other tones.

Step 4: Work on the foreground.

Step 5: Refine with finishing touches. The water and the sky were refined with a cotton swab.


A poor contrast would show a poor value in drawing. Light and shadow create depths; without it, your drawing will look flat. With the correct contrast, your drawing will appear to jump off the paper by depicting the foreground from the background. Providing the image a dynamic lighting gives a dramatic appearance and optical illusion on your drawing.

Shading - Working Around with Backgrounds

Title: Hot Air Balloon
Medium: Pencil / Colored  Pencil on Paper

Artist: Yet Diago

The materials I used on the illustration above is an ordinary drawing pencil, a cheap sketchpad and colored pencils. Though pencil drawing is the most basic and inexpensive medium, you can still create realistic drawings using a variety of techniques. Basically, shading is a skill that anybody can learn. Understanding how the light works and learning how to control your pencil will bring life and depth to your drawings.

To help you understand how I created this hot air balloon drawing, let me give you a step by step illustration. First, I outlined  the subject and worked on the dark areas. I marked all areas that should be in shadows and started shading them. 

To help me decide how dark is dark on the subject, I moved towards the background. I worked around these areas repeatedly until I achieved the desired tone.

The next illustration shows that I worked my way around the sketchpad and marked other areas that I would touch later. A great deal of drawing is all about comparison. Do not focus much yet on the main subject but also give equal attention to other areas for comparison. It is much easier to correct them as you go along.

Once satisfied with what you have in your sketchpad, you can start shading all of them from dark to light. By improving your shading, you can greatly improve the quality of your drawings.

On the final stage and as a finishing, I decided to shade some areas with colored pencils; blending the colors with the shade of  the ordinary pencil.

For those who are focused and determined, shading is not really difficult to learn. At a glance, you may say that a person who is devoid of  talent and skill cannot accomplish so much but if only you would allow yourself, drawing and shading only requires a lot of practice and tons of patience.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shading Spherical Subjects

In drawing, you always need to consider your light source. A basic understanding is needed so you can decide the varying tones of your shading from shadows, midtones and highlights.

As previously discussed, anything that is against the light will be in shadow. The area where the light hit is the highlight and anything in between is the medium tone. Since there are no hard edges in spheres your shading must transition gradually.

Here is a basic shading of a ball that would show three dimensional look instead of a flat circle

Now you know how a flat circle comes to life with shading. Get a ball or any rounded object and place it on top of a table. Get a lamp and place it somewhere near your subject. Position yourself at a distance and observe the ball's highlights, midtones and dark tones. Work your eye on the table top where the ball sits. Identify the reflection and where the shadow falls. Focus on every detail. Shift the location of the lamp and notice that the shadows follow a different direction. Shading a ball does not necessarily follow the same gradual tones as shown in the sample drawing. This should vary depending on the light source.

I would suggest that you draw your circle in freehand rather than using a mechanical device. Don't pressure yourself with a perfect circle. It will get easier as you practice. I will not spoon feed you with the regular step by step hows as I want you to work on your imagination and personal style. Apt yourself with details and try to experiment. Do not make yourself be stuck in one idea but be open to flexibility.

Same principle applies to other spherical objects such as a cylinder, cone and other objects that does not have hard edges. See sample sketches below.


Controlling the pressure of your pencil is an important factor to achieve a smooth shading. Keep your strokes even and regular. You can only achieve this if you hold your pencil at an angle and not directly pointing the tip on the surface of your sketchpad. Also, you need to keep your pencil strokes going in the same direction. For shading the shadows, you may apply pressure but not to the extend that it would leave marks on the paper.

Do not feel frustrated if you do not achieve your desired results. You cannot learn all the techniques over night. Again, practice makes perfect and top it with patience too.

I really want to make my tutorial interactive. Feel free to email me your art work so I can give individual tips depending on your progress.

Monday, March 21, 2011


If you did the exercises seriously then you are ready to move on to the next lesson - Shading. Shading plays an integral part in your drawing as this gives a three dimensional effect on a flat surface thus giving life to your subject.

Notice how dull the cube below looks like without any shading applied. It is flat and uninteresting. I will show you a variety of ways on how to give personality on the subject.

With the exercises you did in the previous lesson, I believe, that you now have a better control with your pencil. Let us shade the cube with those line exercises I taught you in the previous lesson. See below how the lines were applied on the surface of the cube.

So there. Take note that the lines followed the structure of each side of the cube. Now, we need to decide where the source of light should be coming from. In this drawing, we would want to imagine that the source of light is on the upper left hand side; somewhere higher than the cube. Considering the light source, the side of the cube that is against the light should have the darkest shade and the side facing left should have a medium tone.

Let us now apply more lines on both sides. The top appears to be lighter after the second layer of lines were applied.

Diagonal lines were added on both sides to minimize the white background of the paper. The contrast is now heightened because both sides are more darker in shade .

If you feel that you already achieved the desired contrast between the light to medium shade, you are now ready to work on the side that is against the light. Therefore, this side should have the darkest shade.

 I would like to stress that even pressure application on your drawing gives you a fine even stroke. Be extra careful in shading your subject to avoid showing scruffy lines. There are a variety of ways to give  that three dimensional effect on your drawing. It is all up to you on how to create your own style. 

See how shading can give life to a very flat object. Some artists would use ball points to fill in the space like the picture below. 

Tips on Pencil Drawing:

  • You can use a variety of lines. Make sure that the strokes are even.
  • You can do a side to side shading motion; working back and forth on the same area.
  • You can give texture by doing circular motion.
  • You can also use a shading stick or a brush with soft bristles.
  • Make sure your hands are clean to avoid smudges.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bring out that talent in you.

Do you love to draw? Are you fascinated with art works? Do you ever dream of being an artist? Then step into the world of arts. You can do it anytime, anywhere! If you are bored and looking for something to make use of your idle time, say on a weekend, holiday, vacation and what not; and you have what it takes to be an artist, you can start learning now and create a portfolio of your own. Tap that hidden talent and enjoy what your creative mind tells you and let that hand of yours execute your expression.

The interest got you here. The strong desire would definitely lead you somewhere. Practice would make you better each day. Patience will drive you to achieve something you thought you never would. How does holding an exhibit appeal to you?  Making your home a gallery of your creation? Earning extra cash from your art works? You can always start with your friends, family and colleagues. But before cramping yourself with all these, free your mind of distracting thoughts. Do not over crowd your mind with ideas. Take one step at a time. Relax, enjoy and get the feel of what your hands can create. Set your goals, focus and have an eye for details.

Getting Started

Let us get into the basics and get that fingers all worked out. This is very important as we would want to focus on your grip with a pencil and practice control with even pressure on each line.

Draw a series of lines on 2" x 3 1/2" space on your sketch pad. Focus on your grip controlling it with even pressure as you run your pencil from end to end. Keep on practicing until you see the lines even and straight.

Draw a series of lines on a 2" x 3 1/2" space on your sketchpad and practice on vertical lines. Again, just keep your sketch pad steady; let your hand do the flexing and do not adjust your sketch pad for the convenience of it.

Draw a series of lines on a 2" x 3 1/2" space on your sketchpad and practice on diagonal lines from left going up to the right.

Draw a series of lines on a 2" x 3 1/2" space on your sketchpad and practice on diagonal lines again but this time from a different direction.

Practice these exercises everyday until you get comfortable drawing the lines in different angles. You may combine exercises 1 and 2; exercises 3 and 4 or you can combine all of them. Practice over time makes you perfect.

Next posting will focus on freehand drawing. Be sure to come back for the next lesson.