Basic Pencil Shading – Getting Started

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Art, Tips N Tricks
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After the line drawing is done, it’s always gratifying to add realistic shading to it. Shading makes the subject look three dimensional and solid. Here’s an easy technique with instructions and a practice lesson to help you learn it.

how to hold a pencilBefore you Start – How to Hold the Pencil

Use an overhand grip for these exercises. (Shown in the photo to the right.) Fill a sheet of scrap paper with broad marks made with the side of the lead until you’re comfortable working with a pencil held this way.


B or HB Pencil
Drawing Paper
I used a Derwent B Drawing Pencil and Canson drawing paper. Here they are at Dick Blick:

shading made with the side of the pencil

Shading Made With the Side of the Pencil

Make this kind of shading with the side of the lead held at a low angle. A back and forth motion creates a textured shading that’s easy to control.

Practice this technique until you’re able to make a graduated hatch like the one above.

  • Using light pressure, make short back and forth motions with your pencil. Make the hatch marks in the same direction but vary their length so that they’ll blend well as you add more. (Make them between a 1/2 and 3/4 inches long.)
  • Instead of pressing harder to create a darker value, go over the area several times until it darkens.

Ball and Shadow Model

Practice Lesson – Shade a Simple Ball

This type of shading can be used to add value to just about any subject, but it’s a good idea to learn how on a simple shape first.

Use this ball as a practice model. Save it and print it, or open the next page of the lesson in a different browser window so you can look at this ball as you draw the steps in part two.


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