tones and shades of portrait art drawing and sketching.
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best way for me to explain shading is to use some large illustrations,
and go through each basic concept, step-by-step.
can be broken down into about 5 basic tones, from blacks, to dark grays,
to middle grays, lights, and whites. Each of these tones will usually
be represented in your portrait, and you must understand how to identify
them, and shade them in correctly.
lot of your shading will depend on the overall "tone" of the
portrait you are drawing. If you are working on a portrait that is set
mostly in shadow (low key) then a lot of dark darks will be used. A
"high key" (whispy, pastel, faded) portrait will have few
blacks, but more light grays.
most portraits have a balance of light and dark tones. It is a very
common mistake of newbie artists to not represent these shading tones
properly. Especially common is for newbies to not put enough real blacks
in their drawings. The darkest they'll get is a middle grayeven
though the subject they are drawing indeed has many blacks and dark
darks. (For instance, black hair, the black of the pupil, etc.)
usually draw the black-blacks in last when I am doing a drawing, since
they are the hardest to erase. But they must be drawn in, or the portrait
will look washed-out. A "faded" portrait is a very common
phenomenon among newbie artists. Don't you let yourself do this! It
is an easy mistake to avoid!
above illustration points out the "dark darks" in this particular
pencil portrait. As you can see, the dark side of the face has more
of these dark tones. The corner of the mouth, the pupil, the nostril
on the shadowed (right side) of the face, under the chin (on neck) and
the shadowed part of the eyebrows.
darkest tones are often used almost like "accents." Many portraits
will not have a huge amount of areas with dark dark tones, but when
they are used, they must be BLACK. Not medium gray, but BLACK.
When you have almost finished your portrait, and are pretty sure that
everything is drawn in correctly, don't hesitate to bear down a little
with your pencil, and get those darks in solidly. Use a softer pencil
lead (2B, 3B) and punch in those dark tones! If someone has black
hair, they have BLACK hairnot a wimpy gray. Pupils of the eye
are almost always BLACK, except in a pale, light-toned portrait (which
is a very uncommon look).
best way to punch in those black tones with pencil is to "build
up" your tones. Use a soft leaded pencil (2B, etc) and lay down
a dark tone. Draw over and over this dark area, until the graphite has
"built up" enough tone so that the area is true black or "dark
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you feel you are a little new to the concept of shading, please read
the "Drawing for Newbies" tutorial,
which gives an introduction to shading, among other things. >>
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