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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Quick Guide to Shadows and Shading Techniques

I have been asked by a few people how I shade my projects to give them a three dimensional look. I figured I would write a quick, basic, hopefully user friendly tutorial on how to do it.

The diagrams below show a light source coming from the upper right hand corner and the effects it has on a shape. You have the highlight on the upper right, where the light source is coming from. You have the darkest area on the lower left, where there is the least amount of light. When you are shading your paper you have to think about these basic principles.

To show this in a more practical shading sense, like how you would shade a card, here is an example that I made.

This is a brocade blue large oval from the center of the scallop oval frame die and the Big shot.

First you need the same color ink as your paper, or a gray or Sahara Sand for a light color or white paper. Also you will need a sponge. I cut the large sponges into quarters and that seems to be a very good size.
CLICK HERE to see how I store my sponges to make it easy.

I am pretending that my light source is coming from the upper left corner and that this oval shape is really a rounded egg.
Using the sponge and a light circular motion I darkened the bottom right hand side of my shape. Do a little first, take a minute to look at it and do some more if you want it more defined.

Then I take a marker in the same color and darken the bottom right hand side. I make it wider at the farthest corner from the light source and do another layer on that bottom right section to make it even darker.

Then last I add my highlight with my white gel pen in the corner that the light source is hitting. You are done! You now have a rounded egg looking shape out of a totally flat piece of paper! Now you can just apply this same technique to whatever shape you have using the shading chart above.

I hope this was helpful! I tried to keep it pretty basic.
Here are some good links I found for more information on this topic:






Tina Joergens said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm challenged by shading and really appreciate your tutorial.

Patty Bennett said...

Well you made it sound very simple.. I appreciate you showing us step by step !! Fabulous!

Debra Keane said...

Those were some very helpful hints. Thanks so much Lynn!

Alison said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial and the links. I especially liked the link with pics of things in real life--it reinforced what you said to see it on a variety of things.

Sharon Field / Created By You said...

Fabulous share Lynn, and wonderful information / links! Thanks for sharing!

Cin said...

This is fabulous especially for someone who is sometimes creatively challenged like me! Thanks for the share.

danie said...

wow! i'm going to have to try that. you make it sound so easy! thank you!

Judy Marshall said...

Great tutorial! I remember taking an an art class years ago..thanks for a great refresher!


Lucia Kaiser said...

Thank you so much! What a wonderful resource. You can be sure I'll file this away!

Lucia Kaiser

Shari Winterstein said...

I really appreciate this tutorial. I am just learning how to watercolor and this will be such a help. Thanks for blessing my day! :)

Cristena Bagne said...


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