Shading with HB

I didn’t have a lot of time for drawing today, but I did manage a couple of “shady” items.

I thought it would be good to practice my shading today. Shading can make a two-dimensional line drawing “pop” out into three dimensions. It’s a great illusion.

I like practicing spheres because they contain all of the essential elements that make up good “modeling” (making something look three-dimensional on a two-dimensional surface). Note the brightest highlight at the top where the light source is. And there is the softer highlight near the bottom left where light is reflected back on the sheer from its surroundings. In between is my effort at gradation: making a smooth transition from one shade to another.

Here is another shady item where I was practicing the gradation. Both of these were drawn with an HB .07 lead in a mechanical pencil.

This one gives the feel of a curved surface with an “s” carved into it.

The gradation is ok, but I feel like there must be some technique I am missing to make it a really smooth transition.

I’ve noticed lately just how very tiny, subtle things can make a huge difference in the way a picture turns out. Too heavy on the shading in the wrong place and the surface looks flat. Too light and it looks like it bulges out. The slightest bend in the curve of a lip can turn a smile into a smirk.

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