Someone asked me how I shade my pictures so I have thought that I could show you how I work. But be aware I’am just beginner so I don’t claim that all my methods are right and that its olny way how to do it. There is a lot of methods how to achive these results and all artists have their own preferences so you may try it and use what works for you best.
At first what tools I use. Notning special. You may check photo below (ohh and sorry for crappy quality but my camera is very old and its just crap). As you can see I have set of ordinary Kooh-I-Noor graphite pencils. This set is from 2H to 8B. For these of you who are not familiar with this there is a little explanation
Pencils are divided into categories whole range is below
10H, 9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, 1H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B (9B - this should be pure graphite)
Categories with H are considered as Hard and are good for technical drawing.
Categories with B are considered as soft and are good for art.
In practise this shows how much graphite each pencil contains. Hard pencils contains a little graphite and more of another substances. They aren’t very good for drawing because you can’t get very dark tones and they are also hard to erase. Kategories with bigger number and H contains less graphite than these with higher number.
Same applies for kategories with B - these with higher number contains more graphite and it gives you darker values and thats very important for art drawing because without dark tones you won’t be able to achieve higher contrast and your drawings will be flat and uninterestering.
All artists have their own preferences. I use only 3 pencils. HB, 1B, 4B.
HB - its the yellow pencil below, I use it only for sketching. Its good for sketching because its not too dark and its easy to erase.
4B - I use this one for shading. So basically all shading is done just with this one pencil. As I said for shading you should really use 4B or softer (6B seems to be quite popular too but I’am fine with 4B) otherwise you won’t be able to draw darker values. (the green pencil below)
1B - I don’t use this one very often, only sometimes for small details because softer pencils may not be that good for small details. (btw its the red pencil on the picture below)
Ok so now you know something about pencils. Another important thing is how you hold your pencil. I have noticed that a lot of starting artists hold their pencils near the tip. Its not very good for shading because its quite difficult (especially for starting artist) to maintain constant presure. The result is that your shading is very inconsistent and looks very messy. Because you have a little control over your pressure and somewhere its dark and somewhere light and its not consistent.
When I do shading I always hold pencil at the end (see the picture bellow) Its much easier to control your presure and shading is consistant. I usually put very little pressure on the pencil. Sometimes I just let the weight of the pencil to draw. When I need darker values I put more presure on the pencil with my thumb (see the picture bellow).
I don’t try to get all shading done at the first try. At first I shade it lightly and when I need darker values and shade that place over and over (lightly) and it gets darker. It takes more time but you have more control over it so if you make some mistakes its not a problem because its not final value yet you just shade whole picture lightly, than you compare all values and you see where you need to darken it more and where is already dark enough. If you shade your picture at first try its difficult to get all values right because not all parts of picture are complete yet and you have nothing to compare it with.
When I need to draw details I hold my pencil closer to the tip or in the middle (see the picture bellow). Its better becase when you draw small details you need firm hand and thats not the case when you hold it at the end.
Ok so now you know what pencil to choose and how to hold it. Now something about shading itself. When you shade object you need to pay very good attention to shadows and highlights thats what it is all about. If you are just a beginner its good idea to take some time and just look at the object you are about to draw - analyze it. Pay very good attention to all shadows and highlights. When you think you know your object well you may begin wite shading. When I shade I always start from dark and continue to light (see the picture bellow). If you put your pencil on the paper it automatically creates dark spot and when you lift it from paper it automatically creates brighter values so it make sence to shade from dark to light. It would be difficult to do it the other way around. Because if you would want to to achive constant shading from dark to light it would be very difficult to start from light.
Another thing you should consider is that all your strokes should copy the shape of the object you want to draw (see the picture bellow). Its not necessary because values creates depth so what is really iportant are values but if you copy shape of the object it helps to read the form better. But you should definitely choose one direction and you should not change it every five seconds because than it looks prety messy.
Another interesting technique is smearing. You don’t have to do it but it may give you interesting results. There is a lot of ways how you can smear. Lets see same examples.
On the picture bellow you can see same examples.
On the left are unsmeared value ranges and on the right side are results after smearing
For this on I have used for smmearing my fingers. You have probably tryed it yourself. Its prety common technique. I usually don’t use my fingers for smearing because it not very precise. Fingers are quite thick and its difficult to smear small areas because you usually smear everything around. Also your fingers are covered in graphite and it may be prety messy bacause when you touch something you will leave there some graphite you have on your fingers, its very easy to make your picture dirty. Also your fingers are oily and this helps grahite to hold on paper better. It may be hard to erase it.
This one was smeared with smearing stick. Its made of hard paper and you can buy it in art stores (see the first picture its that white stick). This is better for smudging because it has a tip and you can buy it in various sizes so it can be very good even for very precise shading. Also be aware that after some smearing it gets dirty and its full of graphite so it actually draws so when you shade with it your values usually gets darker. You may clean it but I just let it as it is I don’t mind.
Thats what I usually use - regular bristle brushes (see on the first picture) when I’am finished with shading I just smear it with brushes. You can use various sizes of brushes I use number 2 and 4. These are just regular flat bristle brushes. It may take little more time to smear it really well but you have more control over it and you can achieve very subtle smearing. As you can see on the picture tips of the brushes are black because they are full of graphite so you can actually draw with it but its very subtle so be aware when you shade some highlights. But its easy to clean them if you want it I just leave them as they are.
OK now little demonstration.
At first I just draw sketch with HB pencil.
Then I use my 4B pencil for shading. At first I just shade whole picture lightly.
When first shading is finished I use it as a guide for my final shading. I slowly built up my picture and I constanly compare all values.
After that I use bristle brushes for smearing
And thats it
I Hope its at least little bit usefull
btw sorry for my english … if you want I may post more examples later