Shading might be one of the most important factors for realism drawing. That is if the proportions of the subject are accurate. Shading gives your drawing depth and texture. You will be able to create a three-dimensional illusion on a two-dimensional surface if you can master the art of shading. In this article, I am going to share with you three different pencil points for shading.
Anyone can enhance their drawing skills with practice. I am going to give you some practices that will have you become familiar with the textures that different pencil points create on a drawing surface.
Drawing Tools Needed:
- Drawing Paper (Amazon affiliate link)
- Drawing Pencils (Amazon affiliate link)
- Sandpaper block (Amazon affiliate link)
Three Different Pencil Points For Shading
The three different points I use for shading are the sharp point, rounded (dull) point, and the chisel point. All three of these tips will produce a different line on your drawing surface.
The sharp point is a sharp tip that occurs after sharpening the pencil. For most of the drawing process, you will be using a sharp tip. The sharp tip allows the graphite to get between the “tooth” of the paper so you will not see any small white dots in the line. You can use your sandpaper block to keep a point on the tip when your pencil starts to dull.
To create a sharp point, stroke your pencil tip lightly at an angle on your sandpaper block while rotating the pencil.
Rounded (Dull) Point
The round point is when the pencil has been worn down. The rounded point will be useful for shading larger sections. With the rounded point, the graphite will not reach down in the “tooth” of the paper. Keep in mind that if you are drawing realism, there are no tiny little white spots in most subjects. You will need to condition the drawing surface before adding value with a round point.
To create a rounded point, rub the tip of the pencil on your sandpaper block while rotating the pencil.
A chisel point has a flat surface on one side. The chisel point has a sharp edge as well as a flat surface. The chisel point will allow you to add value to a larger area and with the sharp tip, you will be able to fill in any white spots.
To create a chisel point, you will need to sharpen your pencil with a pencil sharpener. Stroke the pencil on your sandpaper block holding the pencil at an angle until you have a flat surface on one side.
When you sharpen your pencil, there will be graphite dust that will be on the tip of the lead. Wipe off the dust before you start drawing. If you do not remove the graphite dust, you will have inconsistent values on your drawing surface.
Practice With the three different pencil points.
By practicing with these various tips, you will be able to learn when each tip will be useful. Practicing and observing the results will save you much time with trial and error. You will be able to make a better choice during every stage of your drawing.
- Use the same sheet of paper for each pencil tip
- Use light pressure when drawing your lines
- Use straight lines with a back and forth motion
- Do not leave space between your lines
- Draw three two inch squares on one piece of drawing paper
- Shade in the three blocks using a different tip for each block
- Write what tip you used for the block underneath it
- Use the same pressure for each block
- Repeat this exercise with each grade of pencil that you have
Observe the results
Each tip will provide a different texture and line.
- What point creates a darker value?
- What tip leaves less white spots?
- What tip leaves more white spots?
- What textures would work best for each tip?
The Sharp Tip
The sharper the tip is, the easier that it will be to get graphite in the valleys of the paper. The bumps or texture of the paper is called the “tooth” of the paper. The “tooth of the paper adheres the graphite to the drawing surface.
With realism drawing, you will want to get the graphite into the valleys of the paper, or you will see little white spots. Use a sharp pencil to accomplish this or a harder led. Do not press harder on the drawing surface. If you press too hard on the drawing surface, you will damage the “tooth” of the paper making it harder to add value.
You will notice that the sharper the tip of the pencil is, the darker the mark will be. That is because the graphite is reaching the valleys of the paper.
The Round Tip
The round tip will cover more area of the paper with graphite creating a thicker line. Because the tip is not sharp, it will not reach all of the valleys of the paper creating a lighter value.
The Chisel Tip
The flat surface of the chisel point will cover the most area out of the three pencil points. Because the tip is flat it will glide over the “tooth” of the paper leaving graphite only on the highest parts of the “tooth” This tip will leave more white spots on the paper. If you condition the paper with a harder lead first, you will be able to add value without seeing any white spots.
Learning how to use the different pencil points for shading will make your drawing more pleasurable. You will be able to use your creative mind instead of trying to figure out what technique will work best in specific situations.
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