Home Assignment for Shading

Materials: Drawing paper, photo reference, 4B pencil or black marker or charcoal pencil, eraser (if using pencil or charcoal), fixative (if using charcoal)


Pick one of the photo references (not Picasso’s etching) and follow the same steps as you did in class.

Your objective is to utilize each of the 12 shading techniques in a single drawing. You have to come up with a way to use all 12 styles, by making decisions about how the particular style of shading will emphasize the texture, surface, space, form, etc., of each area in your drawing. 

With shading, artists personalize their drawings. Even though your shading style automatically makes your drawing uniquely yours, this assignment should be done by deliberately designing which particular shading style will purposefully and meaningfully express which part of the scene. 

The most fascinating aspect of the art of Drawing is that your style of shading (completely subconsciously and outside of your control, regardless of whether you did that shading spontaneously or deliberately) will manifest: 

  • your temperament,
  • your attitude; 
  • your belief system;
  • your unique character; 
  • your passion; 
  • the degree of your patience;
  • your perseverance;  
  • your taste;
  • your focus; 
  • your personal voice; 
  • your vision 

However, when you approach shading intentionally, you transform your drawing into a more creative, complex, and more fascinating artwork, emphasize certain areas while hiding others, place focus, define details in your own way, achieve a greater contrast, brighten the light source, create more expressive rhythm, and establish unity. Shading helps you tell your story in your own manner. 

There is no right or wrong way to do shading. No one is to tell you which of the shading styles must dominate and which can be used in smaller amounts. 

The example of Picasso’s print illustrates how intense, complex, and textured your creation can be. You can observe the intentionality of Picasso’s shading styles, the deliberate character of his mark-making, how he uses shading as tone to organize his composition, achieve the unity of the whole picture, how he chooses to emphasize certain areas over others, and how each individual style of shading helps him express the particulars of the surface or character.

Pencil, pen/ink, or marker – which tool should you choose? The answer depends on which art material you are most drawn to, or perhaps, which one presents you with a more interesting challenge. As you are familiar with all of them, the choice is yours.

When you print this, I recommend taping or gluing it to the back of your front cover of your drawing pad so you can always refer to it.

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