learn how to create shading for various textures




Shading Fleshy Textures

Let's talk about how to draw shading on various surfaces. Every real-life object has it's own texture, or how it looks and feels. Because there are a myriad of textures out there, and you want to draw them all - you're going to have to go about shading your contour drawings of those objects differently so that you can accurately depict that diversity of texture. You shouldn't do the shading for drawing of a koala bear the same as you'd shade a drawing of a 1937 Cord automobile. Koala fur will have to be shaded differently than steel and glass. For this discussion, we're talking about shading a drawing, we're going to assume that you can already create the contour drawings of various objects, but that you don't know how to go about rendering the shading on those contour drawings.

Fleshy Texture
First let's look at shading fleshy textured objects like human flesh and fruit and vegetable flesh - objects that have a skin. As you know, different skins have different textures - an apple has a smooth skin, but a lemon has a rougher skin. Since a lemon has rougher skin, the shading isn't going to be as even and smooth as an apple's skin. So let's start with the easier one and draw the shading on an apple.

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Draw the contour of an apple (click the apple to the right to print the picture). Then lay a very light grey shade over the whole apple. This will be a little lighter than the midtone. I find it easiest to lay a light midtone down first so that you know how much lighter the highlight will be and how much darker the darkest shadow will be. Then I begin to shade in the darkest shadows, using basic shading, and I work from dark to the midtone. I don't make the shadows totally black because I can see in the photo of the apple that the darkest darks aren't totally black, but I see a very dark red. So that means that the darkest shadows I create in the drawing should be a very dark grey, not black. In addition to going from dark to midtone, I do that in stages. I don't draw the shadows as dark as I think they'll end up, and so I don't draw the midtones as "midtoney" as they'll end up either. I make a first pass, then make a second pass darkening both the shadows and midtones up. After the second pass, I'm usually where I want to be as far as correctly creating the contrast between the highlights, midtones and shadows that I see on my subject. The whole point of shading is to create the contrasts that you see in your subject as accurately as possible.

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A lemon has a thicker, rougher skin than an apple, so shading a lemon will be a little more challenging. Start as with the apple and draw the contour of the lemon. Then put a as even a light grey midtone across the lemon as you can. It doesn't have to be perfect because most of this midtone will be covered by the shadows you draw. Working from darkest shadow to midtone shadows, add the major shadows using basic shading. Don't worry that the skin will look smooth after you've added the darkest shadows, we're going to fix that now. By now you should have what looks like a lemon with a smooth skin. To create the texture of the lemon you should draw little shadow shapes that represent the valleys on the lemon skin. The skin doesn't really peaks in it, just valleys. So you'll draw small valleys slightly darker than the surrounding tones, but don't make the valleys too dark because that will make the valleys appear deeper than they really are. So you may want to draw them in lightly at first, then go back over them and darken them if they look too shallow. The valleys closer to the highlight will be just barley there, and the valleys closer to the main shadows will be darker than the highlight valleys. You don't have to draw every single valley that you see on the lemon, you may be drawing the lemon too small to be able to do that. Just draw the major valleys that you see. Remember, draw what you see, don't draw what your logical mind is telling you to draw.

Doing shading on human skin is covered in the DRAWING PEOPLE section of this website.

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