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A Beginner’s Guide to Shading

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

One of the most foundational drawing skills is shading. it is effortless to learn as all you need is a few art supplies readily available at your nearest art and craft stores.

With just a couple of handy tools and techniques, you can easily replicate intricate art and drawing that can sell for high prices.

There are also several styles of shading that you can use to bring your art to life. These can be simple lines and figures to more complex sketches and drawings. Needless to say, mastering these different skills can make your art more detailed and refined.

In this guide, you will learn about all the different shading techniques as a beginner artist.

Why You Need to Master Shading

One of the main reasons you need to learn how to shade is to add more details and depth to your drawings. Shading creates a three-dimensional depth to your subjects and creates contrasts such as highlights and shadows that are vital components in making your art come to life.

However, just like any other technique you learn in art, shading requires patience and practice. This is especially true for those who want to put up their hand-drawn art for sale.

Once you learn the techniques, make sure to give ample time to practice and develop your own style.

Basic Shading Techniques

If you are a beginner artist, you will need to start with the basic shading methods. There are five primary techniques in shading

Hatching And Cross-Hatching Techniques

The hatching and cross-hatching techniques are fairly similar and both techniques add depth and dimension to your drawings. However, they’re different in a couple of ways. Hatching is a sketching technique that involves drawing lines in the same, almost parallel, direction to add more depth and contrast.

Cross-hatching, however, is a technique where you draw lines in the same direction, but they also can intersect each other.

The closer you draw these lines, the darker your drawing will be, giving the illusion of depth.


The second technique that you can practice is stippling. Unlike the previous methods involving drawing lines, stippling involves making small dots for dimension. Keep in mind that you will have a stronger, fuller effect if you add the dots closer to each other.

However, dots in general are extremely light and take a lot of time to show up on your paper. Therefore, make sure to use a graphite pencil or ink to create darker effects.


One common thing artists do when they are idle is to scribble or doodle, but do you know that scribbling is an excellent way to add more characteristics to your drawing? As the name suggests, scribbling is a technique that involves random, erratic, uneven lines drawn across the paper.

These irregular lines give the drawing a “deconstructed” effect. The closer you scribble, the more depth and darkness you give to your sketch, similar to the other techniques.


Shading is a technique that involves variations of depth and contrast. Therefore, it’s important you learn how to control your tones while sketching. In order to do this, change the pressure of pressing down on the pencils as you draw.

If you want to create an easy transition, start by making light, small circular strokes. Keep in mind to move the pencil around in a circular motion while also gently adding pressure.

Final Advice

Whether you want to buy original art online or sell your own art online, shading techniques can uplift your drawings massively. Indeed, it is incredible how a few lines and curves can make your painting come alive.

These techniques are an essential addition to your artistic arsenal if you are a beginner artist.

Once you get the hang of it, you can start combining these elements and create your own shading style and take your drawings to the next level just make sure to be patient and practice consistently. Good luck!

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