How Do You Get Good At Shading (6 Tips For Better Shading)

One can get good at shading drawings by understanding this concept and following the techniques properly. In fact, shading is a process to add value to a drawing by creating an illusion of space, form, depth, and light by applying darkness at various levels.

Shading can produce a credible 3-dimensional image if done correctly. Shading is very important while drawing an image that shows its volume. To be good at shading one must not only practice blending and shading techniques properly but also have a good understanding of planes, contours, and light.

It can help in converting a plane drawing into a realistic picture and bring your drawing to life by showing the illusion of form. 

Best Ways To Shade A Drawing

To shade a drawing you will have to understand and follow the techniques of shading a drawing discussed here under. 

Techniques for shading a drawing

Various types of techniques are used while shading an object in a drawing. A different feel and texture can be produced in the drawing by using each of these techniques. To determine which technique you should apply to a drawing depends upon the means used to draw it. 

The shading techniques most frequently used these days include: 

Hatching Technique In Your Drawings

In this shading technique, lines are drawn in one direction only. These lines create darker values when they are drawn close to each other. But if you leave more gaps between the lines then they will create lighter values. However, in the case of round matters, the lines can slightly curve around the shape of the matter by following its contours.

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In this technique of shading, the lines are drawn across each other. The values produced by these lines depend upon the density of the lines crossing each other.  


You can use a blending tool like a blending stump or adjust the quantity of pressure you are applying to the medium to produce smooth shades of values. 

Rendering With An Eraser

Rendering is a shading technique in which an eraser is used to create lighter values by removing the medium. Normally the technique of rendering is used along with the blending technique to create values appropriately.

Random Lines Can Be An Effective Technique

When crossing lies are loosely applied then it is known as the shading technique of random lines. The value produced by these lines can be determined on the basis of the regularity in which these lines cross each other.


When unlimited small dots are applied to a drawing to create darker values then it is known as the stippling technique of shading. The value produced by these dots depends on their density. 

To get good at shading you should also understand the illusion of light along with the techniques of shading. 

What is the illusion of light In A Drawing?

When shading tells us about the light in a scene it is known as the illusion of light as it shows how you see light in a scene. Thus the technique of shading allows you to see an object otherwise it can lose sight. You can understand light in a scene by using contrast and value. 

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Contrast And Value

Contrast is the difference produced when a difference occurs between elements like color, size, value, or texture of the shading. Contrast can be extreme or slight. While shading an object we mostly focus on the contrast produce by changes in value, dark or light. 

The lightness or darkness of a color is known as its value. Dark values are known as shades whereas light values are known as tints.  

A range of contrasting value is produced when a subject is hit by light. The contrast of values can be determined by the intensity of light falling on the subject. Normally, the contrast can be high if the light is strong.

The direction of light from the source

The intensity and location of the source or sources of light can help in arranging values on the subject. To make it easier to understand the behavior of light on a subject and the objects surrounding it you will have to understand the effect of the light falling on a smooth surface from only one source. 

Location Of Shadows

The viewer of a drawing can know about the location of the source of light and its behavior on the subject by considering the value of each area of the subject. You can know about the form and texture of the subject by knowing how light is reflected or assessing the behavior of light. 

Locations Of Value

You must understand locations of value to be good at shading. These locations of value include:

  • Highlight: When the reflection of light on the subject is extremely intense then the location of value will be known as a highlight. Normally highlights are shown by using colors with very light values like white in some cases. 
  • Mid Tone: In the areas where some light is hitting the subject but the intensity of light is less than the intensity of light in highlight then it is a mid-tone value. This mid-tone in many cases can be the value of the subject or the actual local color of the subject.
  • Core Shadow: When the light is prevented to hit the subject and produce a shadow then this area is known as the area of core shadow. The values of the local color are darker in core shadows. 
  • Cast Shadow: The locations of darker value surrounding the surfaces or objects are known as cast shadows. These shadows are created when the light is completely restricted to reach those areas because the light is reflected away by some other object and some light is reflected back by the surfaces and objects.
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This light produces the area of lighter value by bouncing back on the object. This area is also known as reflected highlight due to its slightly lighter value.

Thus by understanding and practicing the techniques of shading as well as the ways to create the illusion of light one can easily become good at shading a drawing

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