How to Shade Drawings With a Sharpie

Written by stephanie mitchell
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How to Shade Drawings With a Sharpie
Artists use cross-hatching and stippling to shade in ink. ( Images)

Shading gives drawings the illusion of being three-dimensional. Along with perspective techniques, it brings a flat illustration to life. Artists shade pencil or charcoal drawings by applying more or less pressure with their pencils to create different degrees of darkness. With a Sharpie permanent marker, however, any level of pressure results in the same shade of black. Shading with a Sharpie requires different techniques than shading with other mediums in order to produce varied tones.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Thin-tipped Sharpie permanent marker

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  1. 1

    Draw a series of thin parallel lines across an area you want to shade moderately. Draw them close together for darker shadows and space them more widely for lighter shadows. To make a shadow shift from darker to lighter, start with closely-drawn parallel lines and gradually widen the distance between lines as you move into the lighter areas of the shadow.

  2. 2

    Draw a cross-hatch pattern of lines to shade areas more thickly. Draw horizontal lines, either parallel to one another or matching the curves of the picture, then draw vertical lines over them. Again, draw your lines more densely for darker shadows and less densely for lighter shadows.

  3. 3

    Fill in an area you want to shade very precisely with small dots. The more closely you group the dots, the darker the shadow will be. Creating gradients of shade is easier with this technique, called stippling, than with crosshatching or parallel lines.

  4. 4

    Draw free-form, curvy scribbles through an area you want to shade imprecisely. This technique is useful for shading medium- to large-sized areas in sketches.

Tips and warnings

  • Use stippling in combination with crosshatching to add precision to a gradient.

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