Once you finish drawing basic outlines, the next step is adding shadings to give a sense of believable form and three-dimensionality. The more I practice, the more I realize how important it is to understand Highlights and Shadows in drawings and paintings! This is an essential skill to develop as you work your way toward creating more realistic artwork.
If you ever feel frustrated about your art looking so ”flat”, you need to develop that skill!
A white egg on a white paper
We all see objects because of light. Without light, we won’t be able to see. This is what gives the subject shape and form.
Let us start with this example; I placed a white egg on white paper. How are we supposed to draw one object on another with the same color? For this, we need to think about how our eyes can actually differentiate these two objects despite the fact that they are both white!
This is all about the lights! Look at the shades and find where the lights hit this egg. It will help you correctly place the highlights and shadows.
Swipe right and left to see the drawing and picture of the egg!
Things to know about shading
- Everything has a shadow! So when drawing a landscape or cityscape, for example, every object and little detail is supposed to have shadows.
- Pay attention to the light source! When the light hits an object, the area where it directly touches is the highlights. The areas on an object that receive little or no light are shadows.
- You can use different techniques that are useful to know when you want to add shadings, such as dots, hatching, or crosshatching. These are groups of dots or lines placed in an organized way to show a sense of volume, depth, and texture.
- When using graphite pencils or watercolor, it is better to blend highlights and shadows and to never form a harsh line.
- Start lightly with shadows and build up with more layers. Add as many layers as you want so that it gets darker.
- Highlights are generally created by using the tint of the color, and shadows are created by using the shades of a color.
- Experiment with different techniques and go for the one you feel better using!
- The shadows are never all black! They have darker and lighter tones.
Shading makes the magical illusion of three-dimensional reality appear on your drawing paper. This is why the placement of the light source affects every aspect of an artwork.
Practice your observational skills to get used to seeing the light and shadow areas!