Shading Technique with Pastel Pencils and Patterns
Art Materials for the Sketching Exercise
- Thin drawing paper of around 80gsm. This will permit the texture to show through during the shading process.
- Soft graphite pencils (2B or softer). Coloured pastels pencils can be used.
- A selection of textured surfaces. Off-cuts of embossed wallpaper would be ideal. Woodchip, weave effect, swirly patterns or grainy can be found at most DIY stores.
- A suitable subject matter exhibiting large areas of tones. A sphere, bottles, crockery or fruit can be used. Photos can alternatively be used as a visual resource
- Masking tape will prevent the paper from slipping around during the shading process.
- To ensure the pattern shows through the paper, select wallpaper that possesses a texture that is sufficiently raised to leave a rubbing print. The pattern should not be too fine, too large or too soft.
- During the shading process, angle the pencil tip so that the point has no contact with the drawing paper or harsh lines will be left.
- Apply even pressure whilst moving the pencil in even strokes back and forth over the paper.
- Work over the area to attain more even shading.
- An area can be worked back over to darken an area.
- Don’t apply the strokes in perpendicular fashion over the paper (horizontally or vertically) as this will be visually jarring. Aim for an oblique angle. Gentle circular strokes can be used to eradicate any lines, for an airbrushed effect.
- Make a light outline sketch of the subject matter onto the paper.
- Place the embossed wallpaper onto a stable work surface. Tape into place if necessary.
- Place the drawing paper on top .This can also be taped down.
- Begin working the pencil lightly over the shaded areas of the subject matter in front.
- Remember to use the softest part of the nib to prevent unwanted lines.
- Don’t worry if some of the texture does not appear to show through straight away. Working on a large area and by standing back will make the pattern more evident.
- Work back over the first shading layer for darker areas. Don’t press the nib too hard or the texture may be lost. Keep working over the shading, keeping the pressure even.
- Use lighter strokes for the paler areas, leaving the highlights untouched.
- Stand back from the drawing to ensure the tones key in to one another, that one area is not too dark or not dark enough. Don’t rub out an areas that is too heavy; achieve balance by making the whole drawing a little darker. Do this by small increments, standing back from the drawing periodically.
Less able students may experiment with rubbing techniques over an abstract mosaic of lines, filling in each area with a different pattern or pastel colour in an even fashion. Learners may also have a go at darkening the shading by small increments, one area being slightly darker than the other. This will help perfect shading technique.
Opportunities for exploration into using unexpected textures to represent subject matter are endless.
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