Monthly Archives: August 2012

How to Shade Figures


Welcome to my website that will guide you through the steps of mastering the skill of shading. Shading is essential in all art; it builds the shape and form. I will do my best to give you as much information that is needed for you artist to understand the basic concepts. I break the rules down into simple sections. Read them and practice some lessons given in each. Hope you enjoy!


When we artist tend to shade, we first decide our lighting’s source. The lighting source is the light’s direction in your art piece. Many artist tend to pick either the left or right. Common artist use the left, and as do I. When shading, you should always be careful. You sometimes could shade the wrong spots on your figure. Many beginner artists shade a figure as if there were two suns. Think of it like this: You draw a circle and a sun on the top right corner. You want to shade your circle on the left side facing the opposite side of the sun. For an exercise, draw a round ball, square, and triangle in a row. Pick your light source by drawing a sun anywhere. Then start to shade on the opposite side of the sun’s light on each figure. Try to give each shape a form of precise shade. Good luck, and if you must, use my image below as a reference.


Another way to shade well is to understand where your figure is; in it’s environment. Maybe you’re figure is under a tree, or perhaps a building. You must realize an object that somewhat covers your light source. Be sure you know the direction of the which the light is facing. As for the sun, the sun is up high, and if it is a little left to a tree, the sun may slip it’s light under the tree. This could effect your figure. The figure might have some shading spots of leaves, or maybe a bold spot of shade from a building that it is under. What if your figure was near a lamp? The lamp light is on, and it is due midnight. When the lamp is on, there is a dim cap. That dim cap does affect the amount of light on your figure. You must know where your figure is in it’s environment. For an exercise, draw a figure under a half shaded building with the facing any direction. If you must, use my drawing below as a reference.

Different Types of Shading

There are many types of shading, and is very important. Each type is used to shade certain objects. There is blended shading; one of the most popular methods. Then there is circulism; it is when you shade in a circular motion. You can make it blend with blended circulism. The most toughest way to shade is the dark blacks method; when you shade with complete darkness. The final method is the easiest for me, which is loose cross hatching. You can view the examples of shading methods here: Shading Methods.