What Are Some Shading Techniques?

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Various shading techniques used when creating art can be simplistic or complex. The method chosen may be reliant on the subject matter and the artist's skill level. The two basic types are solid shading and pattern shading, but there are many ways to create these two effects.

The most common shading technique is simple gradation, which is just a progression of light to dark color. The technique is best achieved with an array of different grade pencils, ranging from 9B to 9H. "B" stands for bold, which gives the richer, darker color typical of the softer lead found in this grade. "H" stands for hard, with lighter tones and lead that is much tougher. These tones are harder to see on paper. With this technique, blending is crucial. Use a chamois cloth, a good eraser or a blending stick to ensure the tones flow and blend well together. Creating a gradation guide on a strip of paper is also a good idea.

Another shading technique is crosshatching, which involves layering straight lines over each other with varying spacing in between to create more concentrated areas for darker tones and less concentrated areas to show more light. Stippling is another option for shading. It is similar to crosshatching in the way that it creates areas of concentrated pigment, but instead of lines, the areas are filled with small dots. This is a more tedious and time-consuming option, but can provide amazing results. Make sure the shading corresponds to the light source so the drawing keeps its realism and does not cause visual conflicts to make the viewer think something is wrong with the picture.