1 – Shading basics – gray-scale pencil drawing

You will need a soft sharp pencil and  paper. Will any pencil do – yes, but it really does work much better with a very soft pencil. In fact, with a very hard pencil, you will not get the deep deep dark shades.

How to hold the pencil for shading – image coming soon – hint – for shading, don’t hold it as if you were going to write something.

Basic Gray-Scale shading

finished basic gray-scale exercise sample
finished basic gray-scale exercise sample

Put your paper in front of you vertically.

Set up your basic shading exercise by drawing a line in the middle of your paper from top to bottom (Note this does not have to be measured – just draw a line that sort of ends dividing the paper into 2 sections.)

On the left side,  make 9 horizontal lines  to make roughly equal size sections on that side.

Now start on the left side at the bottom section and fill in the sections with increasing gradations of shade. Go from lightest at the bottom to darkest at the top …by increasing the pressure on your pencil.

When done, you will have a gray-scale.

Repeat on the left, only now you don’t get the easy sections but will shade continuously, getting darker and darker….by increasing the pressure on your pencil tip.

Repeat as necessary.


The more of these you do – the more shades of gray your eye will learn to see.

Gray-scale exercise number 2

Divide your paper and do 2 continuous gray-scales – the left side – with open eyes,  the right side:  keep your eyes closed and go by pressure alone.