View Full Version : Pencil - shading technique (help)
November 6th, 2002, 02:31 PM
Well the bigget problems i had with drawings was always the shadin, i don't know why or how, but i think i'll never get the hang of it. Well what i'm looking for is for maybe some point outs, or tutorials that may help me get the hang of it.
November 6th, 2002, 05:11 PM
Yah, Im struggling with shading too..
Maybe upload some examples of your work so you can get some critiques and help from the masters here?
November 7th, 2002, 05:38 AM
ookay! I am a newbie. so, you can automatically discredit me. :) but... I spent a long time in intensive pencil-shading classes. however, that was about... 8 years ago... but oh well. if you are having trouble with shading, you must get down to basics. i'm serious now. i'm not gonna make you start with fsumato (however you spell it) like-smoke light to dark stuff, but you can do that if you want. okay. start with basic shapes. sphere, cube, cone. a sphere radiates out from the highlight. there is a highlight, then the midtones, the shadows, the darkest part is the core of the shadow. THEN, and I belive this is the key to shading, is the reflected light. a cube is simple. top planes are light, down planes are darker. the farther away from a light source, the darker it is. Drapery, and most everything else is like a mixture of the spheres, cones and the cube. again, top planes are light, down planes are dark. pencil shading is just a fine crosshatching. If you want the shading to be beautiful, there are things to keep in mind.
1)take your time. build up LIGHT layers. use your pencil at an angle, but keep a SHARP point on it. it takes quite a while if you want to do it right, but if you do, it will be worth it.
2) DON'T SMUDGE. blending stumps are good for some things, but a beautiful pencil drawing can, and in my opinion,should be acheived without one. definately don't use your fingers. the oil will ruin your drawing.
oh yeah, to achive a shiny effect, like chrome, (pencil is NOT the best) but to do it, it's all about contrast. your darkest shadow right against the highlight. okay, I think that's it for now. I hope that helped. i hope it wasn't too boring. i hope it makes sense. i hope no one thinks i'm a moron. oh yeah. the best pencils for that kind of thing are ebonys. :bheart: yay! ebonys! so, I had examples and stuff... but I just found out i can't post attachments.:confused: sooo.... oh well.... I guess now you can't see if I can back up my words or not. ha.
November 7th, 2002, 07:20 AM
There are two things that have/are helping me learn how to shade. The first is an easy exercise which is to draw a box on a piece of paper and then shade a gradient in the box going from light to dark. It is good preactice for getting smooth shading :). My techique is either to make long strokes and build up darks with cross hatching and varying pressure or for smoth textures I make small circles with the paper gradually applying more graphite. As to applying that to real life drawing I never really understood how to shade real life objects until during one english leasson at school I was board and started sketcing. There was a magazine from a paper infront of me and there was a magasine from a newspaper with a black and white photo with a lot of contrast in it. I decided to not draw outlines but just draw the patches of dark. So filled in the darks and using the gradient methods detailed above to blend them into the whites. It looked soo much better than anything I had done previously since I just focused on the tones and not on trying to do a line drawing of the shapes. since then I haven't looked back. For me the secret of shading seems to be to not focus on your lines but on getting your parches of dark right. I would advise you all to copy some very high contrast pictures for yourself. You never no it might just click for you too :).
November 7th, 2002, 10:19 AM
Thanks for the comments, and help.
amphex - I would of upload something, and some of my drawings, but i don't think they are good enough. Hell I've seen people's work here, and i'm totally offline from expert like most, or should i say all of the people here. :)
November 7th, 2002, 03:05 PM
agree with lionel.. we had to do rectangles going from light to dark, light to dark to light, and dark to light to dark. AS for what lionel said about thesecret to shading is to not focus on your lines, I can still hear my teacher now, "There are no lines in nature!!!! every shape is defined by it's lights an darks, not by it's "lines" you could also try this. get some simple (and maybe a few complex) objects together and throw a strong light source on them, if nothing else, use a desk light, or a reading light. anything to give the objects a unified light source, and then draw em! over and over and over again! :)
November 7th, 2002, 09:59 PM
all the above are perfect.
is to do ten small one inch by one inch squares.
then order them one above each other
with space between them.
shade the first one being the lowest.
100 % which is black.
90 % being a charcoal
down to ten percent
10 percent bing next to white.
and 50 percent being half way
so then when you look at a object not drawing.
you go around sayin what percent is that object.
is it ten or 50 or closer to black.
so your forever running it up and down a slider of greys.
>>this is good cause when you look at a red let say
you can say if it pink it closer to white and wine is closer to
so your always adding ten percent yellow to blue making a green or 75 percent making a darker green.
hope this helps.
November 8th, 2002, 05:43 AM
Thanks for your help and comments. Well it did help. My problem was really with peoples shading, and not simple objects such as - squares, balls, and pepper (that we've just finished doing.) Maybe more like 'adding deatils' and using shadows to.. erm... well more or less 'define' the face, and get it more 'humanistic' look.
Yet again, thanks for your comments, i'm sure they'll help me around. As i take them under consideration.
November 8th, 2002, 08:32 AM
it still looking and deciding what value is it.
should it be darker lighter etc.
values are always in play.
is it ten percent darker.
sometimes squinting helps.
the other area is pencil or tools your using.
some guys outline in 2h shade in H and then darken with
i use alot a drafting mechical leads i get it sharp
with those turn around sharpners those drafting
guys use and a neaded erasr made to a point.
i use a F pencil or HB.
with the F pencil and it sharp i can get right into the paper.
the other thing is the paper.
got to be fairly smooth
like a bristol plate idea or you are not going to get
into the paper to get the tone across.
i use to use lighter fluid and cotton to smear graphite
lots of different ways.
off to draw a paycheck
November 8th, 2002, 04:37 PM
I see some good advice for those struggling with pencil shading. I think the biggest tip came from Fletchgirl...DON'T SMUDGE!! I too used to smudge, but some time ago realized, with the help of one of my teachers, that smudging is really letting go of any control you have of the pencil. Use strokes to build your tones and use several degrees of pencils if a tone is not light or dark enough. Keep your pencil razor sharp! A gentle touch goes a long way!
Here's a still life study I did with an HB, 2B, and 2H on vellum.
November 8th, 2002, 07:44 PM
This is very nice work similar to what i do with a
One Question thou were do i put the quarter.
thanks for sharing much apreciated.
maybe if we saw his or even a corner
of his we maybe could see the problem.
being visual person.
November 9th, 2002, 06:35 PM
Im confused..would anyone be kind enough to just make a list of the different types of pencils from lightest to darkest?
November 9th, 2002, 08:27 PM
list of pencil leads.
9H, 8H, 7H, 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B,
3B, 4B, 5B, etc.
9h is hardest - HB most common - 2B upwards the softest.
they come in varies gages and squares.
you can have charcoal pencils and conte pencils.
colored pencils etc.
art stores carry catalogues giving u all the
makes and options.
hope this helps.
November 9th, 2002, 10:32 PM
so 9H would be the darkest?
November 9th, 2002, 11:02 PM
and i know im being annoying, but can you make any recommendations as to what different pencils a begginer should get?
November 9th, 2002, 11:07 PM
9H would be hard as a nail.
very little graphite on the paper.
so hard probably tear the paper.
the B's would be the softest.
2B and upwards to 6B
the H's are hard.
3H or 2H is good for drafting
up to a HB
HB good for general work.
good allround pencil.
2B for sketching.
something like a 4B good for tones
life drawing maybe.
November 9th, 2002, 11:10 PM
Wow, very helpful.
Thanks alot man =D
November 9th, 2002, 11:41 PM
oh lol, and i got another question..
why are woodless pencils more expensive than wood..ful pencils or whatever lol
whats the difference? (besides the lack of wood =P)
November 9th, 2002, 11:57 PM
Not sure why personally.
some have plastic coatings.
maybe your talking about drafting pencils.
if you have a wacom and computer.
alot of drawing can be practice on the computer.
without purchasing these items.
maybe there imported dont know.
there is also in usa a number 2 pencil.
i think that a HB around the office pencil.
if your scanning images in.
i think alot of guys not sure use 2h then
shade in with H and darken with HB
to make your blacks.
some use chisel pencils.
some sharpen with nifes.
loads of variables.
if i got a job and got 10 minutes to do a layout
i pick up a soft pencil.
if i got time i go harder depends on how much
detail i want.
some times draw eyes in hard pencil
use a soft one for the hair.
November 10th, 2002, 12:42 AM
woodless pencils, especially the softer ones, such as an 8B, are fantastic for laying out things very quickly. my guess on why they're more expensive would be... graphite is more expensive than wood? maybe? and, they're for a specialized thing, you know, supply/demand and all that. anyway, yeah, an 8B is great for quick thumbnails or storyboards. you can quickly sketch them, then use the side for laying out tones. I really never use H's. the hardest I'll usually go is a 2B. the H's really do tear up your paper and I've never needed to go that light for anything.
November 10th, 2002, 07:59 AM
One thing's for sure...try out all different kinds of pencils until you find something you're comfortable with. Personally, I've found subtle differences in pencils from brand to brand that affect my drawing, even if it is in subtle ways. Every company produces their pencils differently. One company's 4B could be quite a bit softer than another's. I've settled on Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils and have found those to fit my liking. I buy them by the box load, especially HB's!! But everyone's hand is different. Your touch could be heavier or lighter so you need to find the pencil that fits your own touch.
Well, hope this helps someone! LOL! Man...I read the previous paragraph and I think, "My life revolves around pencils." :D
November 10th, 2002, 01:22 PM
lol, nothing wrong with that smeagol =P
November 11th, 2002, 10:08 AM
Quick Question...when someone cross hatches...should that only be used to create darker tonal areas or should it be used on the whole image? Did that make sense?
November 11th, 2002, 11:45 AM
generally crosshatching will build up a darker tone...not terribly useful for light areas.
for my shading, l lay down some graphite then use an assortment of materials to blend it. each material gives a different texture, i use felt, tissues, toilet paper, cloth, chamois etc.
Smeagol71- thats a good drawing. i think though for beginners its easier to smudge at first to get used to creating tone, then when proficient with that, one can move on to trying to shade without smudging. but i think smudging comes in very useful at times.
i think on one of my next drawings i'll try to shade with out smudging to see how it comes out
November 11th, 2002, 04:28 PM
oh crap, zippzopp, why didnt someone tell me that earlier!
Ive been doing it wrong my entire life lol
I hate crosshatching, I give up on it =P
And also, I dont like the way the shading looks when ive smudged it around..is there any technique to smudging?
November 11th, 2002, 05:27 PM
I think this is one of my favorite threads yet! Probably because I have such respect for the pencil!
MindCandy: Cross hatching is kind of a subjective thing. I've seen people use it heavily in a drawing and things look fantastic. I've seen people use smudging more and it looks great. I guess it all has to do with what you're trying to accomplish and what you're trying to communicate, but I can tell you what I do (for what it's worth). I use cross hatching all over my drawings but tend to only use lighter strokes in lighter areas of my subject. I tend to try and "imply" form in lighter areas and that usually doesn't utilize crosshatching for me. One important thing I try to do is crosshatch with the form that I'm shading, and I don't make hatch marks perpendicular to each other. I will hatch and create a darker tone by rotating strokes anywhere from 1 to 45 degrees, left or right. Does this make sense? I think I might need to post a pic to explain myself. Let me see what I can come up with and then maybe it will be clear. Anyway, my goal is to create a more organic and loose technique and define form with the strokes. A master of this and a master of the pencil is Paul Calle, whom I think you know of!
ZippZopp: Thanks! I appreciate the compliment. You're right about smudging. It does have it's place and if I did "put it down" that wasn't my intention. I use it from time to time and think it definitely creates a distinctive look.
Amphex: Hello! We'll hook up on OpenCanvas one of these nights! :O) But to reply to your question, there is one technique I use with smudging that has seemed to work well. It requires one of those Pentel clic erasers, or something similar. It works good for hair or fur. First, lay down your general tones, darks and lights, until you're satisfied with the range. Then, with a knife cut the tip of the eraser flat so that it has a sharp edge. You then can use this to cut away at your smudging to create medium and light toned hairs, depending on the pressure you use. You could end up going through quite a few erasers because you have to keep the edge sharp, but the result is usually worth it. You may need to go back and refine things but I've found it works pretty good.
If I get a chance I'll post some examples or pics to make it more clear. For all those interested though, I posted a pencil self-portrait I did sometime ago. I'm not really that satisfied with the drawing, but I bring it up because you're able to see a lot of individual strokes in the piece. Like I said...for what it's worth...
November 11th, 2002, 06:12 PM
Damn smeagol, thats a pretty kickass self portrait.
I mean, I see why you dont like it, but its damn cool =)
Thanks for your help man =D
Davi should change your rank to "pencil warrior" =P
November 12th, 2002, 02:09 PM
All I know is, one of my art teachers would always say, "you have to know HOW-TO to know WHAT FOR" or to know WHY NOT. personally, I think you should not use the smudging, until you can do a good enough drawing without smudging. smudging in the way ZippZopp uses it is not because it's easier... but because it's a technique. uncontrolled smudging is because you don't feel like you have the power to do it any other way. Have you ever seen picasso's figure work? that guy was AMAZING. i mean, I don't know how to spell the french for it anymore, tremp l'o-oh forget it, but they looked like photographs. then he threw that all out the window to break up forms and start cubism with Gris. anyway, my point is, he didn't do cubism because he couldn't draw amazingly well... he already knew the form perfectly before he could break it up. does that make any sense? I feel like the Greek guy in Muppets Take Manhattan. "is tomatoes? huh? is lights? no. peoples is peoples" and kermit's all, "Thanks. that really helped." :p just keep at it, really. Patience.
November 12th, 2002, 02:22 PM
make sure you space the lines as you crosshatch
even if they are microns apart other wise they fill in.
November 12th, 2002, 03:34 PM
Hah Fletchgirl, actually that made alot of sense. And very interesting fact about Picasso too..Id like to see some of his figure work..
November 12th, 2002, 09:09 PM
Picasso did these when he was 15. The left one is pastel. The right is watercolor.
November 13th, 2002, 03:16 AM
yeah. wow. those aren't the ones I was talking about but God, they're beautiful. kind of makes you sick, doesn't it. :D geez. 15. jerk. that's what I'm talking about. if you can draw like that, you can do whatever the heck you want.
November 13th, 2002, 03:19 AM
I keep staring at that pastel. I want to cry.
November 13th, 2002, 03:28 AM
i know, I could have put this all in one post, but... different thoughts... here is what I was refering to. I'm not sure when he did it, I think he was 15-20 yrs. old at the time.
speaking of shading technique...
not a very good image though... sorry, it's the only one I could find.
November 13th, 2002, 06:53 AM
One of the most important things with all pencil work I find and nobody has mentioned is to keep your pencils as sharp as possible!!! Really just getting a really nice sharp point on your pencil will help you more than you are possibly imagine :). My old art teacher said that when she was at school her teachers made her sharpen all her pencils with a knife as you can get a really sharp point anyother way. I stand by that advice. If you want to do something that will reall make a big difference to you drawing instantly then sharpen all you pencils using a knife till they are insainly sharp :). (I really need to start taking my own advice)
November 13th, 2002, 09:41 AM
Hey guys....I posted this in the guest self portrait thread as well but I thought it was pertinent here as well. I did a self portrait last night and this was the first time I ever really did shading. I wanted to get some criticism of the technique etc...I know the proportions are way off and stuff like that but I mean just in terms of the shading. I have close ups that I can post if you want me to. Thanks...this topic is great!
November 13th, 2002, 09:48 AM
Wow looks really good.
off to a terriffic start.
November 13th, 2002, 09:50 AM
Thanks Darrell! That skull is amazing by the way. I saved it on my hard drive as a future reference for how to cross hatch. The perspective is really good on it to. Great job...looks awesome.
November 13th, 2002, 11:33 AM
MindCandyMan: If you want something that will help you understand how to shade better find a high contrast black and white photo and try to copy that.It is much easier to draw something in high contrast as the subtal shading is less important. When you draw it don't put any lines on the page and just place the masses of the shadows don't worry about getting the anatomy right as it is you shading you have to worry about. I found it helps to start with something simple as it is easier to produce good results that give lots of incoragement.
November 13th, 2002, 11:48 AM
Thanks Lionel I will try that. Should I use something broad like charcoal?...that way I wouldn't be able to get caught up in too many details. I like film noir so I will enjoy drawing with such stark contrast hehe. Thanks lionel I appreciate it.
November 13th, 2002, 12:06 PM
I personally would stick to pencil as it was doing things like this that really helped my pencil drawing. I always am very afraid of charcol as my drawing always been to week to let me produce anything half decent with charcoal :/. I am a bad draftsman so all my bits of advice are things that have really helped me as a beginner with my pencil drawing.
November 13th, 2002, 12:14 PM
Cool thanks...I will try that. Sorry one more question...hehe I am newbie and it shows...How would you go about applying really large dark areas to get the best result. Slowly build up? Or turn the pencil on its side, etc... I haven't taken any art classes so I know nothing about technique hehe. Thanks man.
November 13th, 2002, 12:48 PM
I personally slowly build up :) but rember if you want a lot of dark use a softer pencil. I have never used the side of a pencil so have no really idea if that would work. Rember keep your pencil sharp!!. :). One other thing try and pick a picture without large areas of black but rather lots of small areas as creating large ares of darks is always a bit of a pain :). An example is to do a portrat of sombody old/middle aged face as the wrinkles will break up the large patches of dark and make them eaiser to render
November 13th, 2002, 03:02 PM
you're right Lionel, I can't belive I didn't mention the sharp pencil thing, it was going through my mind the whole time as I was writing, because it is VERY important!!! although I can't get a really sharp point with a knife. but what we always did was sharpen it really good with whatever, then have a sheet of paper on the side of your drawing. after you sharpen it, you rub the pencil on its side around the edges till you get a really sharp point. this'll only work well with your softer leads.
but that way, you don't have to get up to "sharpen" it as much. as for the dark areas, I also build up with ight layers. don't rush and burn the paper with your pencil (you can tell if your dark areas look shiny. they shouldn't.)
November 13th, 2002, 03:16 PM
You can also use a fine grain sandpaper to get it to a sharp point.
November 13th, 2002, 07:49 PM
Wow, this thread has been unbelievably helpful to me =D
Thanks alot for your words of wisdom everyone!
I still cant draw for shit though..lol, keep on practicing, right!
November 13th, 2002, 11:31 PM
you also want to think about the white spacing between a stroke even if it a mircon.
more white the lighter it is less spacing the darker it could
get. it could be no white space and greyed in.
that were you want it ...then next tone goes up from
i did tons of dotting pictures in my youth with
technical pens like a triple 0 till got use to it.
it like anything you cant do one or two.
you got to do hundreds.
sometimes leaving out things is as much
as leaving things in.
a blow up of the skull in reverse shows how even apart
most of my strokes are.
November 14th, 2002, 02:02 AM
haiku - one of the things you haven't said is what "style" of shading you prefer. There are many styles and combinations of styles and media which are useful for different purposes. Darrell has shown some good classsic crosshatching technique, but is that what you're after? If it is, look up Hales' book on "drawing lessons from the great masters". If you want a smooth painterly style like Kchen uses, then look up Faragasso's book and other references to the Art Student's League of New York or the Watts Atelier in California.
Ferragasso's book (http://www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/00400.htm)
Faragasso's book is good, except the head/facial stuff is way over the top...(too dogmatic for me).
You might also look at Glenn Villpu's stuff, it tends to be very classic in approach -- and very very very well constructed:
Glenn Villpu Studio (http://www.vilppustudio.com/)
go to the gallery section...
they prefer a smooth newsprint and often use RITMO charcoal pencils; (per Ron Lemen).
I personally like a combination style used by Victor Ambrus; if you can find his books they are very good style reference for people and animals.
Victor Ambrus at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0891349308/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/002-3906057-4317648?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader#reader-link)
What pencils/carbon/charcoal and papers to use is highly individual. Try different things until you find things you like.
My personal choices and style are similar to Ambrus -
Conte Carbone HB, B, 2B, 3B and
Ritmo Charcoal 3B for the dark darks
I like lightly textured papers like "Ingres", pastel, or canson and also like a light grey rather than white.
For very quick sketches I like to use a Gretacolor 9B woodless pencil and a No.5 stomp for quick midtones I can pick-out with a kneeded eraser. There's a book on this method, by David Rankin.
As far as how to shade, the figure, the comments above recommending spheres, eggs, boxes, cylinders and cones are right on -- since that is what the figure can by analyzed as and simplified to, to understand where the shadows and reflected light will be. I know it's probably not what you want to hear. The next step is to get yourself a skull or some plaster casts of figures and body parts and practice drawing with those under different lighting conditions.
You can order plaster things from here, some are reasonable in cost: check out the other sections too --
drawing casts (http://www.statue.com/items.asp?CartId=11980-ACCWARE-743OSAIB12&Cc=DRAWCAST)
The advice above on dividing things into light and shade is very good advice -- it will really help define the forms and make your shading easier. A very good thing to do is read all the online Loomis stuff you can get your hands/eyes on. Still some of the most solid instruction available. The main stuff is over at fineart.sk
Loomis books (http://www.fineart.sk/)
...must stop now...good luck!
November 14th, 2002, 05:09 AM
thanks for the information.
you have taken me to a higher plane
in terms of life drawing.
i was leaning on the technical side of drawing
rendering products or medical.
well not really medical not sure how they
would tackle it.
not being a medical illustrator.
but for life drawing WOW.
November 19th, 2002, 08:54 AM
prismacolor - Thanks for the abundance of information you heap down upon me. I love it! I had a quick question. For Christmas (I know it's kind of morbid heheh) I wanted to get a skull for Christmas so I could start drawing it. I noticed on that statue.com site that they have a plaster version of a real skull. Which one do you think would be better...buying a fake anatomically correct skull...a plaster cast of a skull at statue.com.....or the cast of an anatomically correct head at statue.com? What do you suggest? Thanks again for all this info it's great!!!!!!!
November 19th, 2002, 11:43 AM
Thank you all for your replays and time. I appreiciate it. :)
November 19th, 2002, 12:23 PM
...always glad to help out when I can...
As far as skulls go, a good reproduction is fine; if it's an accurate cast of a real skull -- it's a bit better than most plaster casts or plastic models, tho' there is a decent plastic model around that costs about $20 US, if you're on a tight budget.
If you can, the closer you get to the real thing is better. Try this location, it happens to be fairly close to where I live...it's pretty amazing what stuff they have:
The Bone Room (http://www.boneroom.com/)
check out the human skeleton cast sale, there's some skulls in there...the budget skull is actually pretty good, but go for the better quality if you can...
November 19th, 2002, 03:30 PM
Mind... hee. I would get a skull if I were you. I agree that you should get as close to anatomically correct skull as you can. plastic is fine. the reason I would get that ove the anatomically correct head, is because if you want to see a correct head, buy a cheap mirror. :D i know you cant see the muscles as well and things, but if you get the skull, then compare it to your own face... you can get a pretty good idea of how things attach. also, i don't know how old you are or what kind of school you're going to or anything, but if you're really interested, take an anatomy class at your local community college. if you draw a lot, and it sounds like you do, it's not to hard and it's really informative. If it's anything like the class I took, they have plastic models of all the muscles that show all the points of attachment and everything, and we had quite a few actual human bones to look at. (it doesn't get much more anatomically correct than that.) and it cost less money than most plaster casts. :) so.. yeah.
oh, and Smeagol... Homestar Runner? awesome.
November 20th, 2002, 12:07 AM
Damnit lol, I went through an entire 8B pencil in like 3 days.
Damn electric pencil sharpener not only takes off like 2 inches every time it sharpens, but it doesnt even give a good point!
November 20th, 2002, 02:00 AM
yeah, 8b pencils are sooo soft.. not good for the electric sharpener!
November 20th, 2002, 07:02 PM
Just thought I would post this for the fun of it, this being the pencil shading thread! Some girl at work comissioned this and I need the $$$...sooooo...
I'm not a big wrestling fan, well, I'm not a wrestling fan at all actually. But it was interesting to draw at least. As always, critique is welcome and encouraged!!!!
Oh, and Fletchgirl...I LIKE MARSHMALLOWS! :ahha:
November 23rd, 2002, 05:30 PM
Any suggestions on how to sharpen the 8B besides an electric pencil sharperner?
November 24th, 2002, 06:30 AM
the softer your pencil, the easier it is to get it in shape.
hard leads often crack when the sharpening blade isn't sharpened well.
for soft pencil, you can use any decent "manual" sharpener. you decide how often you turn it around, i.e. how much material you take off the pencil.
but hands down my favorite for sharpening pencils is a scalpel.
you can get them for cheap (a few bucks for a metal grip that lasts ages and some more bucks for a pack with 100 blades), the only difficult thing is finding a store that carries scalpels. i used a medical emergency supplies mailorder in germany.
the thing about scalpels is:
they are sharp. the blades begin to wear quite quickly, though.
i found nothing that both provided me with the sharpness to sharpen even hard leads without having to fear the lead will crack and i have to start up again and the absolute control over my pencil tip.
make about 5 to 6 conical knife strokes towards the point. don't worry if they don't end up in one point, you can adjust that with the knife, too.
also, you can sharpen your pencil to have one or two "worn" tips for softer line marks and one sharp-as-hell edge for small details and harsher line marks.
(don't go for a one-point-finish but sharpen your pencil like a three-sided prisma turning the pencil around to draw with different edges of it)
as for shading technique for itself, i stick to loomis. quote: there is no such thing as shading, there just is modelling.
November 24th, 2002, 06:31 PM
Haha..a scalpel to sharpen a pencil..hehe, just seems funny to me =P
November 25th, 2002, 12:54 PM
heh, yeah it sure is funny.
but see it from the technical side: you have a sharp blade that is thin, too. perfect tool for everything besides making toast hawaii.
November 25th, 2002, 05:19 PM
I think Ill just buy a mechanical sharpener =P