Today I’m going to tell you how to shade with a pencil and why it’s so important. I will also show you how to correct hatching mistakes, which are common to almost everyone. So why is proper hatching so important? The answer is simple. Our eye perceives lines as shapes. That is, if straight, parallel lines are flat, then lines “shaped” appear to be a volume. The power of lines can also be found in the fashion world, where everyone knows that the vertical stripe slimmer and the horizontal, on the contrary. Although in fact, the figure does not change.
Here is an example. In the first one we shaded the horizontal plane horizontally and the vertical plane vertically. In the second one we shaded it the other way around. Where we have chosen the right stroke direction there is no doubt that the egg is standing on a horizontal surface and that the egg is vertical behind it. In the picture below, however, it looks as if the egg is not standing on a plane, but is stuck into something. And behind it is not a vertical plane, but in the distance.
The right stroke is important for drawing simple objects as well as for drawing a portrait. If an egg is a simple shape, then we can think of a portrait as a collection of many simple shapes. For example, the large shape is the head, and other small shapes are placed on top of it.
It is very important to remember that each part of the face has its own shape and, accordingly, its own direction of the stroke on each of its ways!
In the following drawings, you see the details of the “title” portrait. Consider the direction of the stroke on each part of the face. And try to analyze why the direction is the way it is. Also at this moment and at the moment of drawing the portrait touch your face, so you will more quickly become aware of this or that shape (part) of the face, and you will understand where the protruding volume, and where the hollows. Where the bone protrudes and where the soft flesh is. Plus it’s very useful for learning facial anatomy.
Consider the first fragment in pic. 3. First of all, I want to draw your attention to the zygomatic bone. It is because of the rounded shading that we can see that it is a round shape.
Next we see the eye, it does not look like a “fish” but like a round eye in the eye socket. Why? Because:
- The eyelids have a thickness, a shape, a luminosity.
- The eye is a ball. And it’s shaded with a circular shading.
- The eye socket was drawn first, and then the eye itself was built into it.
There’s a simple way to determine the directions of the shading from the shape of drawing a portrait. Just imagine how the drops of water would drip down your face.
The stroke can also make the person depicted look thinner or fatter. The more we round out the stroke, the rounder the shape seems.
In pic. 6 you can see that, having a more elongated head in silhouette, the left portrait is still a thicker face. Because we have rounded the stroke. And in the right portrait, we see a gaunt face, since the stroke is concave.
When you shade without thinking about shape, you risk shading in the wrong and opposite direction. Also, if you don’t shade at all, but just make a dark spot, it will never become a shape.
It is worth noting that each form has at least two directions. And the artist is free to choose his own preferred one. For example, the round apple. It is round in all directions, as shown in pic. 7. And you can hatch it both parallel to the contour with a rounded stroke, and across.
Next I advise to draw a glossy object, it can be glass or metal, or both, such as in pic. 7-4 shows a glass vessel for spirits with decorative leaves of metal.
This concludes the explanation of the importance of the shade, and I will proceed directly to explaining how to shade with a pencil correctly and what exercises to do to do so.
How to shade with a pencil correctly
Knowing the correct hatching technique will help you understand how to shade with a pencil.
The stroke should be as dense as possible in the middle and sort of dissolve at the beginning and end. pic. 8. The maximum pressure on the pencil should be in the middle of the stroke.
In pic. 9 you see the wrong stroke and how not to do it. This is the first of three mistakes most beginners make. To correct it, try to relax your hand more and not apply pressure at the beginning of the stroke. Also try to stroke the surface quickly, if you stroke by slowly applying each stroke, there will be more mistakes.
In pic.10, you can see what the angle of the next hatch layer should be. This is very important, because with this angle, with each layer, your hatch will be smoother and more uniform.
In pic. 11, the options for how not to need not be.
Pic. 12 shows the second hatch error. On the left is how it should be done. Each next level, it should not climb on top of the top level. On the contrary, it should be slightly off. If the lower level of the hatch goes on top of the upper level, as in the right side of pic. 12, then you have two layers of hatch at the junction and one across the rest of the surface. Accordingly, with each new layer, the joint will be more and more visible.
In pic. 13 on the right, the third error. When the next layer of the stroke is superimposed along the same boundaries as the first. Thus, with each new layer, the contours of each tier of the stroke will become more and more obvious, especially if errors two and one are also present.
The correct way to do this is to apply the next hatch layer so that the seam of the bottom hatch layer is roughly in the middle, as shown in the left side of pic. 13.
In pic. 14 on the left, you can see how evenly the three layers of hatching look when done correctly. And in the same figure on the right, we can see how noticeable the hatch joints are with the same three layers if the hatch is not done correctly.
It is very important to stroke with a well sharpened pencil! In pic. 15 you can see the difference in the stroke of the same 2B pencil. The one on the left is blunt, the one on the right is sharp.
Pic. 16 shows a field with an incorrect hatch, and the left side of it is corrected.
If you feel you’ve overdarkened, which is very often the case with lights. You don’t have to erase everything. Just lighten it by hatching with an eraser. And yes, you can really hatch with an eraser! An example is in pic. 17.
How to shade with an eraser
It is not enough to know how to shade with a pencil, it is important to know how to use an eraser.
You can also use the eraser to correct a smudge or one harsh stroke. Apply the point to it, and it will lighten. Make a blotting motion several times until the tone evens out.
If you need to lighten the outline of a drawing, place the eraser flat on the sheet (pic. 19), and, without pressing it, erase as if you were erasing. Your drawing will be lightened but not erased.
If you need to lighten a large area of the picture or the entire picture, do not use a “gag”, as it leaves spots and is not able to evenly lighten, for example, backgrounds. It is better to use bread for this purpose. Yes, bread! The pulp of white bread will work perfectly, as it has a dense and uniform structure. Just crumble it to work and run a circular motion of the palms of your hands over it. It will absorb the graphite. And that way you can control the degree and location of the highlighting, and it will be even.
How to shade with a pencil (Length and curvature of the stroke)
Knowing the length and curvature of the stroke is also necessary in order to know how to shade with a pencil.
I also want to note that if you have a large area to hatch, never try to hatch from beginning to end. You can hatch with any length you feel comfortable with. Pic. 20 and pic. 21.
If you need to make a circular stroke, you have the choice of either making one longer rounded stroke or making it up from shorter straight strokes. Both will be correct. Pic. 22.
It is also important that the module (size) of the hatching does not affect the quality and artistic value of the work. But its correctness directly affects it. That is, it is purely a matter of taste and not a measure of skill. Some people like their strokes almost invisible and small, while others like large strokes.
But, of course, we should keep in mind that the smaller the object we draw, the shallower the stroke should be. If you’re shading the backgrounds of a meter-sized drawing, of course there will be a much larger stroke than if you were shading a cherry tree.
How to Shade with a Pencil (Stipple Drawing)
Another aspect through which you will learn how to shade with a pencil is the stipple in drawing.
There are two ways to stipple a drawing:
- When you kind of stroke without taking your pencil off the paper. This is the most convenient method for quickly stroking in the same direction as the shading, i.e. in the same direction as the shading, that is, in the same shape. An example is shown in pic. 23.
- In circular motions more finely, without giving any direction. Such stroking should be very homogeneous. It can also be against the shape, but again, this should not be seen at the expense of uniformity. Pic. 24.
Pic. 25 shows an example of a single stroke on the left side and a combination of of the hatch on the right side.
If you’ve made mistakes in the stroke on the first layer, such as different spacing between strokes or some strokes are brighter than others… Never stop and try to correct them. Don’t stop and try to correct them, because most of them will be corrected by themselves when you apply subsequent layers. Pic. 26.
And the last rule of hatching. The more layers of hatching, the more even and beautiful it is. If, of course, it is correct. If it has many mistakes, it is still better to make more layers, then there will be more opportunities to correct mistakes.
I hope my lessons helped you learn how to shade with a pencil.
What’s your favorite shading style?