Drawing Tips: Shading and Blending

Posted: July 4, 2012 in Pencil Drawing Tips
Tags: , , ,

“Color Shapers” – are rubber tipped and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Color shapers
The type of shadows that are in the reference photo, obviously determine how dark you will be drawing. I usually start
around the eyes, just after I do the first layer of the eyebrows. I take my pencil of choice & hold it lightly and sideways (over-hand grip) so that the side of the tip is rubbing the paper, NOT the point. This makes for a larger coverage area, and can also be used to create certain effects of the skin. “Hard Shadows” are the toughest I think? I never draw the shadow or darkest part, AS DARK as it will later become. It’s something I build into, in case I need to erase.
I am now convinced that a quality drawing is ALL IN THE BLENDING!!! There are Blending Stumps (see photo on right), Tortillions, Torchillons, Paper towels, and sometimes Q-tips and make-up sponges. I prefer the solid blending stumps, because they last longer, and I can remove the built up graphite with a piece of sandpaper and a kneaded eraser. Many of the techniques would require me showing you, rather than describing them, but I will try a few. For one, I am always mindful of how much graphite is already on the stump, which determines how much pressure I apply when blending? I have many different sizes for both tight spots and large areas. Again, layering is the key. Start light with a hard pencil (H, F) and work your way to the softer darker pencils. I RARELY use anything over 3B because it becomes too waxy and does not blend right. For this reason, it’s better to apply more pressure with a harder pencil to achieve darkness, than to use a softer pencil. (Example: Press harder with a B rather than using a 2B etc). By the time I make an area really dark, it won’t need any more blending. When a Blending Stump gets too much graphite on it, it tends to get slick and shiny, and stops blending. To extend it’s life, I will scrape off the excess graphite by turning it while scraping it on sandpaper until the fibers are useful again. Whether I am Shading or Blending (Rendering) I always blend in the SAME direction as the shapes of each facial feature, in order to build the illusion of dimension and shape. I also turn the stump as I blend, because if more graphite is needed, it’s usually on the other side of the stump. If not, I lay down some more with pencils, or rub it over a dark area, to get some. Keep in mind that you will need to go back over the dark areas you borrowed graphite from. More on the key to dark darks below. I do NOT always blend EVERY area of the drawing. For some effects, a light touch with a pencil only may do? But I do blend about 95% of the entire drawing but RARELY THE BLACK AREAS.

  1. Thank you for the review!. I’ll be buying them at dickblick 😀

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