Shading and Blending Techniques

So one of the hardest but important aspects of drawing is shading. It took me a while to understand how lighting works and where to shade.  There are different types of shading and different ways to blend your colors.

Shading Types:

Tonal shading is where you have different levels of light and dark. The darker areas are where the light hits the object the least and the lighter areas would be where the light would his the object more.

Scumble shading is like a basic sketch for shading. You just put a light coat of whatever material you’re using to shade with.

Smudge shading is, well, where you smudge your shading to blend it together. I’ll go more into this one and different tools to smudge and blend with later in this post.

Hatching is where you draw strokes in one direction. The more lines you put, the darker the area will be. This is like tonal shading in a sense you put in lighter areas and darker areas. The way you make the areas darker is by putting more lines and the lighter ares have fewer lines.

Cross hatching is a lot like hatching expect you have lines going in two directions instead of just one. This is the technique most comic book artists use. I love this method of shading but for some reason I can’t really seem to get it. haha

Accent lines are used to do basic shading also.


Tools of the Trade:

Here are some things I’ve used to smudge and blend my lines together. Each has a different effect and you use them depending on what kind of look you want to go for.

Tortillions are tools used by artists to smudge and blend. They’re basically rolled up pieces of paper and you use the tip to smudge with but I tried making my own and it’s just not the same as using store bought! haha you can try rolling up a piece of paper and using it as a tortillion but it doesn’t work for me personally haha They come in different sizes. They’re not really use to blend out into large areas but for smaller areas or if you just want to soften some lines. You can get a lot of good detail work done with the fine point tortillions. They blend smoothly but you can also get some harder lines out of them if you know how to use them.
You can use Q tips to blend as well. This will get you a very smooth service, not very ideal if you want to have texture. I wouldn’t use a Q tip to blend skin tone.

Kleenex tissues are really good to get smooth services too but these I would use to more broader areas and not so much detailed work.

The easiest and cheapest way to blend is to use your finger! Your finger won’t get you very smooth blending because fingers have lines on them haha but they’re good if you don’t mind getting messy and want some texture in your work.

I’ve also heard people using paint brushes for blending but I haven’t personally used this technique  but I imagine you can get a wide range of smooth and rough textures depending on the type of brush you use. =) I’ll try this out sometime and let you know how it goes haha


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