A Tutorial for Metal Shading in Anime

Written by elyse james
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A Tutorial for Metal Shading in Anime
Making an object look metallic involves drawing reflections on the object as they would naturally occur. (metal image by Ruta Saulyte from Fotolia.com)

Learning how to shade metal is an important technique for anime artists. Many anime characters wield weapons that are made of metal and have decorative metal armour to protect them in battle. Learning how to shade realistic looking metal is a skill that requires time and practice -- the more you draw, the better you will get.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Retrace the pencil lines with a fine tipped pen and erase the pencil so you are left with just an ink line drawing of the metal object you wish to colour.

  2. 2

    Shade metal of a flat surface using straight streaks or washes. The streaks should be diagonal to the surface of the object.

  3. 3

    Place streaks on the opposing side in a different direction if the object has many flat surfaces, like those on a metal brick. This will separate the different sides of the object.

  4. 4

    Shade rounded surfaces by using rounded streaks.

  5. 5

    Shade metal that is coloured by using colours that have the same hue. Anime characters often have brightly coloured armour. Variations of dark and light hues will give the surface a metallic feel and keep your drawing from being too grey.

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