One of my unhappiest memories of making art is drawing a
really 70s-looking still life that my art teacher set up for us in the sixth
grade. I remember being soooo bored and not interested at all in what we were
doing until my teacher gave us a challenge to use any of the different shading
techniques we knew for each object in the composition. It got us thinking
creatively about how to apply gradations to objects, and to see what types of
shading were best suited to what objects.
|Seated Boy, Nude by Georges Seurat, 1883,
conte crayon on paper, 12 1/2 x 9 3/4.
For objects with a pitted or gritty surface or one that is
porous, stippling was a good choice. Though my hand always took awhile to
adjust to this pointillist motion, it definitely gives a texture to drawn
objects that wouldn't be there otherwise. Using stippling with other shading
techniques can also give a sense of uneven or imprinted surfaces.
I think of tumbleweeds when I think of shading art with
accent lines, how merely varying the thickness or thinness of curving hatch
lines can give the illusion of turning an object. I've heard instructors
discuss these as the opposite of highlights, and that has helped me think of
them as less on the surface of an
object like an incision and more of
the surface, much like tonal shading works.
|Melancholy by Odilon Redon, pastel drawing
with charcoal and gouache, 1876.
Blending was always the hardest way of drawing light and
shadow for me because I could never get a broad expanse of blending to look
consistent. Or, if I did get it consistent, it seemed flat. Shading with blending
changed for me, however, when I started focusing on small passages and rubbing
them out with a tissue or fingertip.
Shading is one aspect of drawing, and an important one to be
sure, but Drawing: The Complete Course
gives you a bird's eye view of everything that drawing can be, from specific
artist processes to the universal language of draftsmanship. It is a feast for
the eyes because of all the incredible drawings shown, plus it is also a
teaching tool that will never dull over time. The instruction you will find is
as relevant for an artist now as it was when it was first
developed by some of the greatest artists of the past. Enjoy!