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Thread: Pencil Shading

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    864

    Pencil Shading

    I was wondering if there is a right and wrong way to shade pencil drawings.
    Name:  Shades.jpg
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    Is it customary to shade all the lines away as in A?
    Or is it normal to shade some lines slightly as in B
    Or just do all of the shading using only lines as in C.
    Personally I think A looks dead and has no character. C isn't bad but I'm partial to B. I used the knife to shade these and I understand that we can't do that in real life but I know there are similar ways, as burnishing with a tortillion so I think the question is still valid.
    OR, is it like a lot of things, a matter of personal preference or what works best for the drawing?
    PS: Overlook the mistakes, I only made these for this example.

    The last time I kept an open mind,
    my brain fell out and the dog grabbed it.
    Now it's full of dirt, toothmarks, and dog slobber.
    No more open minds or dogs for me.www.gms9810.com/

  2. #2
    I think a lot of it is personal preference as to how you blend and also what the object is. Say glass would be smoother than a cylinder of wood with bark on it. All three are fine sketches and examples of different styles of pencil work. What I would suggest for you to help your question is to consider more gradient on your shadows.

    Currently what I see is a set of cylinder shapes that have a bright light on one side and near black on the other. If you want to even them out, use more subtle gradients to achieve this. If this is hard to imagine, perhaps even consider getting a plain white cylinder of paper wrap it around something solid and stick a light source on one side and keep the other side of the room dark. This way you have a visual right there in front of you. (Also don't stick it too close to the light, otherwise you'll be drawing fire. LOL )

    You'll notice that the gradients of grey start a lot sooner than half way, but they are super subtle until you get all the way to the darker side. Other things that may help is looking at old black and white photography, newsprint, and even old black and white movies.

    Keep it up though, I'm interested in seeing your progress!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    71
    I love sketching and have just recently got an intuos 5. I think a mixture of all three depending on the situation. Look at where the light is falling. I used the same tool in shading the picture of my dog and the picture of the lady I copied off the internet (posted here)...Im just a beginner so take what I say with a pinch of salt LoL...Stuart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    701
    Hey there Stuart,
    Another convention that you can really see in the old master drawings like Rembrandt and Leonardo is to have the lines follow the contours, particularly the curved ones. It helps describe the form. So in the case of the cylinders perhaps try elliptical lines going round the shape? This really comes into play on more complex shapes such as you encounter when trying to portray the human form, but can be useful in just about any drawing.
    Nick Harris Artwork
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    22,517
    Any way you can make a mark is potentially legit. Having said that, it then becomes a thing where you're looking at style and personal preference. If one looks lifeless to you, it's a good thing because it eliminates one of the gazillion choices and hones in on what you do prefer. (Be prepared that a technique you don't like now may later on begin to appeal to you. But it just means it's not on your immediate path. Go for what you like looking at.)

    Sometimes the art process is not just invention where you add to your bag of tricks, but it's reductive where you clean out what you don't like.

    I've seen renderings using Example A which can go anywhere from tonal to photographic to atmospheric to precise detailed explorations. You can also use smooth tone in conjunction with outline of whatever sensitivity.

    As you drew it, I can see why you wouldn't like it. It's sloppy and detracts from what you're wanting to show. (Not meaning to sound insulting, cause I know you were attempting to quickly illustrate a concept and didn't put a lot of work into it. But more care would mean you would see the value in it. Think black and white airbrush illustrations, which when consistently applied throughout the picture give a very clean representation in a stylized way. It creates a look. In the real world of drawing one can be sitting in a life drawing class with conte crayon or charcoal or pastels and you can make lines, but you can also make a powder with sand paper and use a cotton ball to swipe in tone that has the ability to gradate or be gestural as a compliment to the line.)

    As to your selection of how to make marks, it might be easier until you have more familiarity with the range of tools, to think of the possibilities in terms of musical styles and the guitar. It can range anywhere from finger picking fiddly staccato bluegrass all the way to the bendy tonal soundscapes of Pink Floyd.

    They all have their place. And each is a universe unto itself.

    Since you're asking the question, you clearly are aware of the choice and want to know if you head in a particular direction, will it be worth the journey, as opposed to choosing a different way. And there's no answer, EXCEPT to say that there's a world of examples out there. And rather than look at the dry techniques for technique sake, that you look at pictures done in a way that appeals to you and head for that as an endpoint. And then pick up the technique as a means to an end. It will help you focus. And you will have something of a dialog going with that artist, because their picture will be very revealing and informative.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    864
    OK, all of that is pretty much what I hoped it would be. As for the examples I used, I didn't try to really make them look good, they were just meant to be rough examples. Anyway, my pencils and tortillions are on their way and I'm strangely excited.

    The last time I kept an open mind,
    my brain fell out and the dog grabbed it.
    Now it's full of dirt, toothmarks, and dog slobber.
    No more open minds or dogs for me.www.gms9810.com/

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