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Top 5 Ways To Shade

Shading is a fundamental part of learning how to draw and the good thing is, there are so many ways to do it! As an artist, one of the fundamental things we need to do is to be able to shade, and it's up to you how you do it. I've created a list of the top 5 ways to shade using an avocado (it's way more fun than a ball like you usually see). So let's go through them.


Practise shading with these 5 different ways to learn how to shade
5 Different Ways To Shade

Try these 5 different ways to shade and let me know which ones you're favourite!


  1. Smooth shading

  2. Cross Hatching

  3. One Direction

  4. Stippling

  5. Scribbling


Let's look at them in finer detail:


1️⃣ Shading: Master the art of shading to create realistic highlights and shadows, bringing your drawings to life with depth and realism. This technique uses the flat side of the pencil and keeps the lines close together to get a smooth, classical finish.




2️⃣ Cross Hatching: Explore the intricate world of cross-hatching, where lines intersect to form dynamic textures and tones, perfect for adding drama and detail. The more directions you layer up, the darker and denser it will become. You can also play around with the distance between the lines too!



3️⃣ One Direction: Keep it simple yet striking with the one-direction technique, using deliberate strokes in a single direction to create clean lines and bold contrasts. You can adjust the pressure, or the distance between the lines again. One-directional shading can also travel in the direction of the object to help us visualise the curvature of the shape.



4️⃣ Stippling: Get ready to dot your way to brilliance with stippling! This technique involves using tiny dots to build up tones and textures, resulting in beautifully detailed and nuanced artwork. Disclaimer though, it takes a looonnnngggg time and you have to make sure your pencil is always vertical to keep the dots clean! Fun, but time-consuming.



5️⃣ Scribbling: Embrace the chaos and unleash your creativity (or frustrations) with scribbling! It may seem messy at first, but with a bit of practice, you can harness the power of controlled chaos to add energy and spontaneity to your drawings. Make the scribbles denser for darker tones and bigger for lighter ones.





Each of these drawing techniques offers its own unique set of advantages and challenges. If you aren't sure how to achieve these looks, watch this quick 5-minute video to show you how!





Shading, with its classical appeal and ability to create realistic depth, is favoured by many artists for its timeless elegance. However, it often requires patience and precision as achieving the desired level of realism can be time-consuming. Cross-hatching, on the other hand, excels in adding texture and detail to drawings but may require careful planning to avoid overwhelming the composition. One-directional strokes offer simplicity and boldness, perfect for quick sketches or emphasizing specific elements, yet they may lack the subtlety of other techniques.


Stippling and scribbling, while unconventional, provide opportunities for creativity and spontaneity, but can also demand considerable time and effort to achieve desired effects. As for personal preference, classical shading stands out for me as a favourite, not only for its aesthetic and ability to create lifelike imagery but also for the meditative process it offers, allowing for immersion in the art form. Ultimately, the best technique is the one that resonates most with each individual artist's style and vision, offering a diverse array of options to explore and experiment with on their creative journey.


So what's your favourite? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!




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