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Thread: best way to shade

  1. #1
    Chonkie Guest

    Lightbulb best way to shade

    I was looking at someone's drawing the other day, and I saw the way he shades his drawings with \ lines and sometimes with / lines...

    is there a general rule to this? when to use \ and when to use /? and soemtimes maybe | ?
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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Compton CAli
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    i need to know how countour lines work to
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    Last edited by AmadorL; January 19th, 2011 at 10:44 AM.
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  4. #3
    Chonkie Guest
    i don't mean contour lines, i mean the actually shading...
    speaking of contour lines, i have a question too
    what's the general rule for using thick contour lines and when to use thin lines?
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  5. #4
    Join Date
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    Good ole California
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    the thick and thin lines is for when lets say ur drawing a figure and want to emphasize the stretch in there pose or pinch in there side, u would gradually want to make a thick line, or if somethings is in the shadows, u make it thick and if something is in the light, then a very thin line.

    hope that helped
    DS Illustration
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  6. #5
    franz Guest
    When you shade always keep in mind that you're drawing *value*, not *lines*. *How* you produce these values (cross hatching, single lines, water colour etc) is not as important as the why/where. There are probably as many methods of doing this as there are artists, so the 'how' is all about your preference really. If you don't know where to start just find a drawing you like, study the way the artist puts his lines down and try to emulate them.. Then do some still lifes and try to incorporate what you learned.

    Albrecht Dürer's drawings are known for their very distinctive style.. there's one I'm thinking of in particular but I can't find it on the web
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  7. #6
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    man that first sketch is nothing short of amazing !
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  8. #7
    franz Guest
    Originally posted by cerreto_
    man that first sketch is nothing short of amazing !
    Yeah, Dürer was quite the man. Here's a self portrait he did at 13 years of age:

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  9. #8
    Join Date
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    trapped in Goergia (ugh)
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    some traditional rules

    I might be able to offer some help on this one...I've done a fair amount of line work in my field (medical illustration).

    Shading (or cross-hatching)
    There are some classic guidelines for cross-hatching. But keep in mind that these are just guidelines...they can be completely ignored with great success. This is very important to keep in mind, so I'll reinforce the concept with an example. Here's a piece by Mariano Fortuny where he ignores all the clssic rules and just scribbles:

    best way to shade

    Here's a close-up:

    best way to shade

    Not the greatest proportions there, Mariano, but what beautiful texture and tone!

    The classic guidelines go something like this:
    The first set of lines should be your longest and strongest, and should follow the contour (more on this later). The next set of lines should be shorter and angled roughly 60° to the first. The 3rd set of lines should be shorter still, and angled roughly 60° the other direction. If your line frequency is good, three sets of lines should get you about a 60-70% dark tone (60-70% toward black - some call this a value of 3-4). From that point, line direction matters little, since the lines themselves won't be terribly visible (example - try to pick out a distinct line in the dark areas of the Fortuny piece above). It's common to use dots or short dashes to cross out the remaining white spots and darken the tone.

    I've tried to show this below, but I usually don't do line work on the computer, so the lines are crap:

    best way to shade

    Here's a quick sample of some cross-hatch from one of my surgical illustrations (scanned from a book - poor print job):

    best way to shade

    A couple of things to be aware of...
    -- one of the most important things about line work is getting the frequency right. By frequency, I mean the spacing of the close they are to one another. The frequency can be varied to lighten or darken the tone, but if the lines are spaced out too far, they will read as distinct lines and not as tone. Spaced too closely, they might block up when reproduced (mainly a concern with line work and not sketches). Practice is really the only way to get this down. It usually takes quite awhile...maybe even a couple of years of steady practice before it becomes second nature. Some people pick it right up, though, and some seem to be born with a natural ability (like Durer, perhaps?).

    -- it's a good idea to make your first pass of lines as though you aren't going to use cross-hatching. This should give you a nice, tight frequency, and should keep your lines looking deliberate and clean. Often, if someone knows they're going to be using cross-hatch, they'll rush the initial line work and the results look poor.

    This type of classic line work is still accepted and valued in medical art, but I only really see it in commercial art when someone's after a classic (or antique) style, or the subject matter fits somehow. Or maybe to simulate a wood engraving. But this general approach can also be used for pencil sketching, and the results can look fantastic. Some people have a natural linear drawing hand. For a great example of this, check out Andrew's portraits:

    His linear style of rendering is as good as any I've seen (and I've seen A LOT ... it's my favorite form of rendering). Here's some sketchier stuff of mine:

    looser (purposely made the eyes vague, btw...trying to avoid that natural fixation on the eyes):

    best way to shade


    best way to shade

    And finally, what I wish I could do! Charles Dana Gibson is the ultimate line virtuoso in my book. It's amazing what he could accomplish with such energy and free abandon. And yet he could also be tight when he wanted. I think he was well beyond any rules...his line work is pure jazz to me. But I'm sure that only came after mastering and fully understanding the traditional approaches. This may be my all-time favorite of his:

    best way to shade

    Line work like this is the purest recording of an artist's thoughts and hand, IMHO. There is rythmn to it; there is life. All captured in a moment of time, much like an audio recording. Ahhh

    Hey, if anyone finds this at all useful, I'll go ahead and do another on contour lines. And let me once more stress that this is just one classic approach to shading with line...I'm not really promoting the method in any way. My sig may say it best...
    Last edited by jfo; February 6th, 2003 at 03:17 AM.
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  10. #9
    Join Date
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    jfo - though this isn't "my" thread I'd like to say thank you and ask you to post that promised tutorial on contour lines. I've seen many instructions on x-hatching but this is the first I "really" understood. Gonna try sth like this tonite!

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