Drawing technique #1: Shadow lining

Hey guys! This is the first article in a new series I’m starting. The series will be focused on drawing techniques using a variety of different tools.

Today, I’m going to delve into a technique I call Shadow Lining. I came up with this technique a while back, but only recently introduced it in my tutorials. I’m not sure if anyone else uses this technique already or if it already has a name. If it’s an actual thing, let me know in the comments below!


Shadow Lining is basically the process of outlining an area on your portrait such as the boundary of a dark shadow or highlight using pencil strokes that mimic the way you would shade the drawing instead of using a continuous line to do so.

Example: In the image below, I Shadow-Lined the cheeks. This helps me break the face into sections, which makes it easier to shade and it also provides a guideline to follow while I’m shading.

Since my drawing is mainly shaded using the hatching technique (strokes going in a single direction), my Shadow Lines will also be drawn using the same technique. If I shaded the drawing using circulism, my Shadow Lines would be drawn as circles.

Shadow Lining

Image on the left shows shadow lining on the cheeks. Image on the right shows how well the outlines blend in after the area is shaded.

With Shadow Lining, you can outline areas of your drawing without worrying if the outline will show through in the end.


Even though it’s called “Shadow” Lining, you can use it in many applications such as outlining noses, lips, hair, eyebrows.. the list is endless!


drawing technique shadow lining eyebrows

Hair (Lighting):

rfa-shadow-lining-hairIf you usually outline elements of your drawing like the images below, this technique will give your drawings a major improvement and a more professional look.



Have any requests for future articles in this series? Let me know :)



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 thoughts on “Drawing technique #1: Shadow lining”

Scroll to Top