All About Shading: Drawing Shadows for Beginners


Creating a convincing representational image of an object or figure in a drawing or painting is usually a matter of shading the form, using gradations of light and shadow to give the illusion of volume and dimensionality. With drawing, this is often done by hatching and cross-hatching with your pencil or chosen implement. In painting, visual depth is most often created by changing the color tone of the depicted object or form.

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Pencil shading techniques

Shading drawing is not as difficult as it may seem when you find the technique that suits your work best. Techniques like drawing hatching are a perfect place to familiarize yourself with drawing shadows, but once you’ve master that, there’s much more.

Portrait shading

Correct tones are essential to any portrait drawing, but even more so when the portrait at hand is in black and white. One way to practice is to perfect the art of drawing a sphere or an ovoid. Practicing these shapes will allow you to correctly render the same shapes when sketching the human body.

Pencil shading art.
Pencil shading art.


Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.