Shading Techniques for Pencil Drawings

Shading is important element in pencil drawings and has to be used perfectly to create artistic images. When mastered shading techniques can create wonderful sketches and drawings.

This requires regular practicing to master the skill. It not only creates essence of any drawing but also provides appropriate texture to make image look attractive and real.

Let’s just say that shading provides look and feel of the image. It can create perfect illusion and bring life to drawing. So, learning shading techniques and implementing it in drawings becomes essential for any artist to create meaningful images for black and white drawings.

One of the simple shading techniques is to use darker and lighter textures in contrasting way. Just imagine that you are drawing a sphere. To create artistic image, the are near outer line is shaded with darker pencils and rest of the area is kept a bit lighter to create contrast. This drawing will look amazingly real as shown in picture below.

Shading Techniques for Beginners

Here are some basic shading techniques to create various shades. Each technique creates different textures and not all images will have same techniques. Some drawings may require just one technique and some may require mix of these techniques.

Hatching Shading technique

Hatching is shading technique where lines are drawn in same direction. This technique is widely used and is also easy to start with. Lines can be straight or in curved way depending on image.

Keep your pencils tilted at an angle and then stroke the pencil back and forth to crate parallel type structure. To create light texture, keep some distance between lines and tilt pencil at less angle and for darker textures, keep less distance between line and angle the pencils more.

In this image you can see that we have drawn using hatching technique in both lighter and darker textures. One is in straight lines and other in curved lines.

Hatching Shading Technique                Hatching technique for shading


Cross Hatching shading technique

Cross hatching is shading technique where lines are drawn crossing each other. It is just like hatching but one set of lines and drawn in one way and other set of lines crossing the first set. In similar way as Hatching, if lines are closer, it will give darker texture and if lines are far apart, it will give lighter texture.

Cross Hatching is one of the most widely used shading techniques as it can create shades faster. In the image given you can clearly see that lines distance and shading can create lighter and darker textures. Both hatching and cross hatching are widely used to draw easy pencil drawings.

Cross Hatching shading technique              cross hatching technique for pencil shading

Contour Shading Technique

Contour is also one of important shading techniques which involves drawing lines and curves which follows the required image outline. It is similar to Hatching with difference being that lines can go anyway.

Contour shading technique


Stippling is advance technique which uses the practice of applying small dots in the image. Similar to other shading techniques, closer the dots, more will be darker texture. This technique requires lot of precision and time but when executed perfectly, it can create wonderful artistic images.

You can also use different grades of pencils in creating different shades to create darker and lighter contrast.

stippling shading technique


In scribbling technique, we tend to shade in random way. One can start practicing with this technique. You can make straight lines, curls, circles or any other kind of shape to texture your image. You can just start having fun while drawing with this technique.

scribbling shading technique


Stumping is one of smooth shading techniques. It is used to create smooth shading to create lifelike image. It is widely used technique in creating black and white drawings.

Just imagine that you need to spread some fine shading in small area. The technique that can be used in such cases is stumping.

You can do stumping technique with help of cloth or cotton, blend or with help of your fingers. Charcoal and Graphite pencils can work best in spreading the material on paper.

In simple way just press the pencil at an angle and keep stroking to add graphite material in paper. You can then use blend, cotton or finger to spread it up to give texture.

stumping shading technique

Blending and Rendering

Blending is also smooth shading technique and is similar to stumping. You can use tool like blending stump to create different grades of texture by varying pressure on different points.

Rendering is nothing but using eraser to erase some blundering parts to produce light textures and keep the contrast.

Blending shading technique

These are the Basic Shading Techniques which are used by every drawing enthusiast whether he is beginner or he is professional. These techniques are not used in individual basis. We have to mix up various techniques to produce good textured drawings.

Remember, always start shading with lighter pencil grades as you can move to darker grades anytime. For darker shades, put necessary pressure while shading.

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