Shading is the darkening or colouring of a drawing with lines or blocks of colour, and is often used to create the illusion of depth or make an object three-dimensional.  

There are loads of different techniques you can use to shade your drawings. Simply using darker and lighter colours in the dark and light areas of your drawing worksbut in this blog, we're going to be looking at different mark-making techniquesYou just need a pencil and some paper to give it a go. 

1. Hatching 

Hatching is one of the most popular ways to shadeThe technique involves rapidly drawing lines, usually in the same direction, often at an angle. The closer the lines and the more pressure applied to the pencil, the darker the image. The more space between the lines and the softer the pressure on the pencil, the lighter the image. You can then blend the lines with your finger or leave them as they are. 

The teapot drawing uses hatching, with smooth straight lines down the body of the pot and curved lines at the lower part of the pot, spout, lid and the apple. Can you see how following the curve of the object with the hatching lines makes the pot appear three-dimensional? 

2. Cross-hatching 

Cross-hatching is like hatching, but with a second layer of hatching lines – usually in a different direction - drawn over the first. This creates a darker, more textured effect. The jacket of the polar explorer again has cross hatching in biro to create the dark shadow which contrasts with the plain white of the rest of the jacket. 

3. Other mark-making techniques 

There are many more different mark-making techniques that can be used for shading. Stippling uses lots of little dots to shade a drawing. The closer the dots, the darker the shading. Similarly, if you space the dots out more, the shading will be lighter. 

You can also draw a variety of circles to shade a drawing. Bigger circles will appear lighter and smaller, close together circles will look darker. 

Drawing squiggles works especially well when drawing trees. This technique is ideal for adding shape to a tree as it reflects the numerous leaves and dappled sun. Irregular vertical lines help to create the bark effect. 


See! There are loads of different marks you can make with your pencil to shade your drawing and create depth. Can you think of anymore? Have a look at our blog on how to draw zentangles for some more inspiration – and as always, let us know how you get on.