Shading is a traditional technique in graphic design. It is used in illustrating levels of darkness on paper by applying the medium more thickly or with a darker shade for darker areas or more thinly or with a lighter shade for lighter areas. Shading techniques creates gradation to make drawing more realistic and believable.
How we see the things around us matters when we draw them. Drawings are representations of seeing. What we draw is not reality. It is an image that is in our brain, an interpretation of the signals caught by our eyes. How we see the world is only an interpretation of reality. It is not perfect nor genuine.
When objects have light and shaded areas, they create the illusion of depth on paper. We can change the mood of a picture with proper shading. The basic truth is, without light there is nothing that you can paint.
Various Techniques of Shading
- Hatching is a set of curved or straight lines, drawn beside each other to give the illusion of a value. You can make the individual lines in hatching sets close together or far apart, depending on the shading effect you want to create. When close together, hatching sets create a solid tone.
- Crosshatching is a shading technique where one set of lines overlaps another set. When crosshatching lines are far apart they have a lot of white spaces. When close together they create a solid tone.
- Squirkling is a shading technique where you cross squiggles and scribbles in circles. They are used to draw fuzzy fabrics and curly hair. They work efficiently for shading various textures. When draw close together they also result to a solid tone and are great for skin tones when drawing people.
Some Tips for Shading
- Play with your different pencils. Take note of the different values each pencil can produce.
- Practice the three techniques of shading.
- Vary the density of your shading lines. Place them close together or far apart and see the difference.
- Vary the pressure applied to the paper by your pencils.
- Use different grades of pencils. Hard pencils produce light values while soft pencils produce darker values. Use different grades of pencils so that you can draw value scales easily.
- Let your pencils do some of the work. You don’t have to press your pencil to achieve dark values. You can control it when creating lighter values.