Need help with shading

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  03 March 2013
Need help with shading

I know that these two drawings are horrible. I have a huge problem with shading and using blending stumps to smudge the graphite and carbon pencil marks I use. What I want to know is how I can make my future ones 100 times better. Also, what would I have to do to make a drawing look something like the images below?

Concept Art Sketchbook
  03 March 2013
First, don't draw so heavily with hard-lead pencils that carves grooves into your paper. As you can see in your own drawings, whenever you do that, they leave unsightly marks that cannot be filled in anymore--just pale lines that stick out in the drawing.

Use soft-lead pencils (for example, 6B instead of 2H)--there's a whole range of different hardness, and you can try them out at the local art store and see which ones feel right.

Draw very lightly when you are blocking in the major shapes--just barely visible. Only make darker marks when you are already sure you have the right proportions down with light marks already.

Shade with the side of the lead (the flat side, not the tip), and shade in uniform strokes (you can see this clearly in the nude man drawing).

Stop rubbing with stomps and tissues and whatever else. That is not necessary in order to achieve a good drawing. The nude man drawing obviously doesn't use any of those additional tools--it's just straightforward drawing. The only reason people use them is because they want a very smooth finish--almost photorealistic, and that's not what you're aiming for. What you want is an expressive drawing, not something that looks like a photo.

Learn how to manage your values. You need to understand how to manage the tonal composition of your drawings. Break the value range of the entire scene down to a simplified management system of about 5 distinct values. Then make sure your entire image has these 5 distinct values used in a way that creates the most aesthetically interesting arrangement in your drawing--a good balance of the darkest value, the lightest value, the middle value, and two interval values between the middle value and the darkest/lightest. If you squint your eyes and look at your drawings, you'll see that most of your values just blend together and appears flat, lacking any dimensionality in how the forms are described in the scene.

Learn about form shadows, cast shadows, light sources, qualities of light, surface properties of various materials, etc. Metal, wood, plastic, skin, silk, cotton, leather, etc all reflect light differently with different textures and specularity--you need to be able to depict them correctly.
  03 March 2013
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