Art lesson -Tonal shading

ImageOne of the most important and enjoyable techniques to practice is the freedom and fun of shading. You have heard people say  I cannot draw a straight line. In shading you do not have to. There are many ways to shade in a form with the side of a pencil or repated strokes to create depth. This is called crosshatching but it requires some continuity of application which can be demanding. The best way to learn about shading is with charcoal. Because of our education process, where we are taught in school to use pens and pencils, it is more difficult to free yourself while drawing from self criticism . Abandoning the pencil is an effective practice to achieve new levels of creativity and expertise. There are stumpy pieces of very black charcoal and longer pieces called vine charcoal. There are charcoal pencils but it is difficult to keep then sharp. I love the sound of vine charcoal on the paper. To create a 3-D shape find the light source and be consistent in applying the charcoal to the side that is not getting the light. In this picture of the interior of Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland I was not concerned  about a light source because it is  an interior without light. I am using the charcoal to create mystery and volume from my own imagination.  Charcoal can be smudged in with the side of a finger and eraser or a paper wadded sharpened wand. If you haven’t tried it  do begin  and enjoy the freedom it can give you.