Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Art Lesson: Shading Choices

Hello, friends.

How does a person make artwork look realistic?

Once the sketch is made on the page and the proportions are correct,
shading is an important part of bringing a picture to life.

With pencil drawing, shading is achieved through darker pencil marks in the areas that are shaded.
(Using lines drawn in the correct direction, thickness, and length is essential as well).

Shading a picture of color can be achieved through a few different methods.

Using different colors can give the shaded look, as in this colored pencil drawing below.

Layering color is also a good way to create shading.

Layering works especially well with acrylic paints, as with the hand in the duckling picture below.

As I have worked with watercolors, I have found that layering has a different response with watercolors.

Colors in watercolor tend to wash up when too much play is done to the paint on the paper.

This means that one has to see the different shades of color in the picture and apply them carefully.

The black keys of this piano were made without black paint, but with a mixture of blue, yellow, and red.  They were painted with three or four layers until they were dark enough.  As I applied each layer, I did so with minimal strokes, just enough to set the paint on the keys, and move it around to cover the keys.

To get more distinctiveness in the painting,
I decided to used mixed media in it.

Here are the keys with just the watercolor paint.

 Here are the keys as I started to add colored pencil to the dried painting.

 To give the wood more of a grain look, the pencil was used on it as well.

 Areas that needed even darker shading are easier to manipulate with the colored pencil.

 These are just a few ideas of different ways to approach shading in art.

If you have any helpful tips or ideas, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I love reading your posts! Your work is beautiful!

  2. What nice work and so sweet of you to share these son has just been resisting my efforts to push him into some painting (he does great in drawing and wants to stick w/ pencil as his medium....trying to expand his outlook!:) Maybe this will help him........he has such a great eye. Thank you. Gentle Joy

  3. Lovely work! I found a great drawing book last night and tried to convince my son that he should try it....he wants to stick with his cartoon instruction gentlejoy I am trying to expand my son's outlook! :D I will have to show him your work!

  4. What a wonderful gift it is to be able to paint! (I wouldn't know! lol) Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


Thanks for your thoughts! If you have a question, I'll try to answer it.