In this monster of a tutorial I will show you how to shade a face with pencil from beginning to end.
If you haven’t read the in-depth shading guide, please click here before you continue on. I’m not going to talk a lot about shading techniques in this post because it’s already covered there.
Do you have trouble following shading tutorials online because they usually skip from step A to step G with little to no explanation? Do you have difficulties making your drawings pop or look realistic?
For this tutorial, I recorded the full drawing process by scanning 213 high quality images which took over 35 hours in total just to scan! From that, I carefully selected a group of images for each step which clearly shows the intricate stages and layers of my shading process. Each step is backed up by clear explanations, shading tips and techniques for you to apply to your own artwork.
Most steps contain a clickable slideshow of 3-9 images so you can view them at your own pace and easily observe the subtle changes from one image to the next.
Below is a preview of only a few images you can expect to see in the tutorial below.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or intermediate… if you have the patience and dedication to sit through this entire tutorial, I PROMISE you will walk away with a handful of value!
This is going to be a very detailed and lengthy post where each step covers a specific area of the face such as eyes, nose, mouth, chin, etc. You can skip to any area by using the links below, but please do not skip the first 2 sections!
Step 1: Lighting the Face
Step 2: Preliminary Outlines + Shadow Lining
Step 3: Shading Eyes
Step 4: Shading the Nose
Step 5: Shading the Mouth
Step 6: Shading the Forehead
Step 7: Shading Cheeks and Smile Lines
Step 8: Shading Jawline and Chin
Step 9: Shading Neck and Ears
Tools I used
These are Amazon affiliate links, so anything you purchase through them will support RapidFireArt :)
- Pencils: Derwent HB, 4B, 6B and a 4B Ain Mechanical Pencil
- Bristol Paper
- Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser
- Blending Stump
How to Shade a Face Step 1: Lighting the Face
Proper proportions aside, it is highly important that you figure out the lighting situation for the scene before you shade the face to identify patterns of light and be able to apply the right amount of value where appropriate.
To do that, you can create a planar head/face of your subject, add a light source and shade the individual planes using solid tones or gradients relative to the direction and intensity of the light(s). You can take this a little bit further by adding cast shadows as well.