Shading Techniques with Pencil

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step by Step Drawing TutorialOnce you have mastered the basic pencil drawing techniques from the last tutorial, these can then be used to create different shading techniques within pencil drawings.

This tutorial will guide you through the process of creating different shades and a shading guide in which you will be able to refer to throughout this tutorial.

A shading guide when learning to draw is a useful tool to have, as you will be able to assess which shade is appropriate for different parts of the pencil portrait before executing it.

In time, as you become more familiar with the different shades you can create, you will be able to ditch the shading guide and execute shading as though it is completely natural to you.

Pencil Sets vs A Single Pencil?

When you were back at the process of choosing your art supplies, you would have made a decision on whether to purchase a set of drawing pencils in different grades, or just one single pencil in a versatile grade.

Again, this is a personal preference, and different people prefer different things.

The process of learning shading techniques with pencil is very similar in both situations, so don’t fret. You will just have a little more work to do here if you opted for the set, as you will have more gradients to experiment with.

What Are The Different Grades In Pencil Drawing?

Pencil Gradient Chart | Shading Techniques with PencilThe twenty most used and common grades of pencil are illustrated in the diagram on the right.

The ten on the left of the diagram are the most common for pencil portrait drawing.

The numbers and letters are part of the grading system to signal the type of lead that is inside.

The letter ‘H’ means ‘hard’. This kind of lead is hard, which doesn’t add a lot of lead to the paper, keeping the shading very light. The number next to the letter tells you how hard the lead is with 9 being the hardest and lightest.

Pencils with an ‘H’ gradient are generally unused in pencil portraiture, simply because the lead is too hard to manipulate on the paper.

The letter ‘B’ means ‘bold’ or ‘black’, and signals a soft lead in the pencil, which adds a lot of lead to the paper, creating darker shades. Similar to ‘H’ grades, the number next to the letter signals how soft the lead is, with 9B being the softest, and therefore darkest.

These are the most common in pencil portraiture.

The ‘F’ grade means ‘Fine point’. These pencils are still relatively hard, but have a very fine, sharpened point. Again, these are uncommon in pencil portraiture.

And finally, the good ol’ ‘HB‘ we all doodled over our text books with in nipper school. This is half-way between hard and soft, and is neither here nor there. Some pencil artists may use this pencil for crating lighter shades, though I personally find it still a little too hard.

If you did choose a set, then odds are you will have a good portion of the grades set out above in the diagram.

If, like me, you have opted to use the one versatile grade, this usually being 2B, you will still be able to create the softer graded shades using drawing techniques set out in the previous tutorial, Basic Pencil Drawing Techniques.

To create the shading guide and for the duration of the tutorial, and so not to confuse you all, we will use a 2B pencil. Those of you who own a set of different gradients can also repeat the same process for all the gradients you wish to use for your shading guide, and then refer to this throughout the tutorial.

Creating A Shading Guide

For this you will need;

  • A Sheet of Paper
  • Your 2B Pencil
  • A Ruler

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 1.) In a light outline using your pencil and ruler, draw a 20cm x 2cm rectangle.

 

 

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 2.) Mark off every 2cm along the 20×2 rectangle.

 

 

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 3.) Draw a line from each 2cm mark to create 10 seperate blocks.

 

 

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 4.) Number each block 1-10 starting from the left.

 

 

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 5.) Block One will be left untouched, as this is the lightest part. So, using your preferred technique from the previous tutorial, fill in the Block Two a shade darker than the first. This will be the lightest shade you can do with a pencil.

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 6.) Then move onto Block Three. Remember to use techniques such as cross-hatching or scumbling to get the shade a little darker than Block Two. You can also increase the pressure put onto the canvas slightly.

 

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial 7.) Repeat the process for the remaining blocks, making each block a shade darker than the previous block by using pencil techniques and increasing the pressure slightly.

 

 

8Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial .) By the time you reach Block Ten, the shading should be very dark. Almost black.

 

 

 

And there you have it, all the different shades laid out in front of you for you to refer to.

Shading Techniques with Pencil | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits- A Step By Step Drawing Tutorial

You can practice this as much as you like to get the shades as you like, and I suggest you do as it will help during your pencil portrait drawing.

In the next tutorial, we will use another one of these shading guides to learn how to blend pencil, so make sure you don’t throw any of your practice ones in the bin.

Pencil Drawing Techniques | Go BackBlending Pencil and Graphite Technique | How To Draw... Pencil Portraits - A Step by Step Drawing Tutorial