To illustrate the concept of shading a little better, I am showing a painting I did of my friend Bill. This painting was originally in color, but thanks to the Magic of Photoshop, I've made it B&W for this tutorial.
To see the areas of shading in the face, it might be easier to see the portrait broken down to its basic shapes (kind of like blurring your eyes).
Above you see the portrait of Bill broken down into basic large shadows. This makes it easier to see what areas are shaded, how dark the shading is (basically) and which areas are highlighted. It is useful to see the picture broken down into 4 or 5 basic grays, blacks, and whites. The tones and shapes of the shadows are exaggerated in the blurred illustration above, but still serve to show us the basic shadow shapes in the picture.
Too often, newbie artists get caught up in the subtle details of shading, and lose the "big picture." They fail to represent the shapes and the darkness and lightness of the shadows accurately.
Note that the shading is relatively simple - dark hair, shadow on one side of the face, shadow around the eyes, under nose and mouth, under chin, etc. It is important to identify the basic blocks of shadow and light in each picture when you are putting in the shading in a portrait. Don't get caught up in all the minute detail right away. Leave that for the end, when you are putting in the finishing touches on the portrait.
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