From one artist to another I know how tough it can be to struggle with not getting the results that are in your head, especially when it comes to shading your drawings. It seems to be one of the toughest obstacle artists face when starting to draw.
There is a simple strategy you can use to shade ALL of your drawings and add that POP and life that sadly is often missing from our drawings.
Have you struggled with your drawings being flat? How about too light or even too dark? Are you stuck because you just don’t know where you need to add or take away value and tone?
I struggled with adding depth and dimension to my drawings for quite some time. I’d show family members my drawings for the instant ego boost since I could count on them giving me the “good job!” or “that looks great honey” but in the end I was still unsatisfied with the outcome. I knew I could better.
It just wasn’t hitting the mark. To be honest the real issue was I was just scared to ruin what I thought at the time was a decent drawing.
You ever hear the story of the gold miners that stopped right before striking gold?
This is exactly where I was. It wasn’t that I didn’t work at my drawings. I practiced just about every day. I drew cartoons, movie covers, video game covers and the occasional Miami Dolphins or Dan Marino portrait for my grandma. (man she loved that guy)
Anyway my proportions were ok but when it came to adding the contrast and shading I was frankly just stopping before striking gold.
What I was essentially doing was laying the ground work of an awesome drawing but my fear of messing it up was holding me back from adding the contrast needed to take it to the next level.
It wasn’t till one day when I was drawing I Finally had made the decision that on THIS particular drawing I was going to go all in and if I messed it up then so be it.
What got me over the fear honestly was just being tired of not feeling like I was doing my best…and hey you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet right? mmm breakfast tacos….
So one day I was drawing movie covers from "Remember the Titans" and "Hannibal". These had very good images with lots of contrast and drama, I’m not just schizophrenic.
I started out as I always do and then I got to the point of my usual completion - Not too dark. Not too light. Just around that lovely flat and lifeless area.
I didn’t have a set of pencils back then and frankly was ignorant to the tools of the trade. ( I used to tape 4 normal sheets of paper together to make one big sheet…yeah)
Armed with my #2 school pencil I just pressed harder to get the darker values. At first it was scary but then it was liberating to know that I could add more contrast and the image didn’t look like total crap!
What a Revelation!
I didn’t know how to balance out the tones and value so it wasn’t my best but it was a HUGE turning point in my artwork.