airbrush tutorials
by J. Star

10 Best Ways To Shade A Picture

Lighting can be a very tricky trick to master. The shadows can be very tough to depict correctly. Cartoonists do not always draw the shadows super realistically but instead draw shapes that are meant to symbolize the shadows. These sharp shapes can be really neat looking. Other artists try to capture the light more realistically using airbrushing, stippling, cross-hatching or various other shading techniques. Whatever technique you choose to use, many of the principals of lighting are the same. For instance, no matter what you are shading, you will need to determine where your light source is.

Lighting plays a large role in indicating form and making an image appear more 3D. In order to really understand light sources, you will need to look at objects in a variety of lightings and keep the logic behind the lighting consistent. The light sources are the points from which light comes, such as the sun or the lights in the room. Only by doing this will the lighting trick the eyes into seeing the entire image as realistic. Be sure to look at how different shapes such as cubes, spheres, pyramids, cylinders and cones and also look at the shapes in all sorts of lightings and times of the day.

If you have a pencil in hand, there are a couple of ways that you can shade.

1. Scribbling

The most intuitive way to shade is to scribble by swirling your pencil, spending more time swirling in areas that are supposed to be more shaded. However, this is not the only way.

2. Stipple

You can also use the stipple method, which involves placing a large series of dots closer together or farther apart.

3. Crosshatch

You can also use the crosshatching method where you make several X marks, pressing more lightly as you move towards the more well lit parts.

4. Hatching

Finally, you can use vertical lines, with some lines thicker and closer together while other lines are more spread apart. Any of these methods can be very useful when shading a colored image. With color, you can also add highlights by adding white to a particular part of the image. But do not use pure white. Make sure that the color in the image mixes in with the white.

5. Airbrush
If you are using a graphics program, you can use the airbrush tool to lay down pixels in an unsystematic way.

6. Blur

You can also shade by throwing lumps of color into the picture and then using the blur tool to blend the colors together.

7. Smudge

Or you can use the smudge tool to rub different colors together. Use whatever methods you prefer.

8. Cell Style

For cell-style shading, you will need to create different shapes in order to indicate different shadows. If you have a steady hand, you can draw these shapes. Or you can use the pen tool found in some graphics programs. Then all you need to do is find a shade that is darker than the shade that you are placing shadows over.

9. Line Width

Change the width of the lines, using thinner lines on the parts of the character that have light cast upon them while using darker lines where the shadows hit.

10. Screentones

The final method is to use screentones. Screentones are conventionally used for black and white comics. The best way to get screentones is to make them yourself using filters or to buy a screentones program.

Alex is an artist and blogger who co-owns

Sketching House is an art blog that is 90% art tutorial and 7% art discussion with some rants thrown in. Though this is an ever-evolving website, the majority of the focus will always be on art tutorials.

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