Shading might be one of the most primary factors for realism drawing.
That is, if the proportions of the subject are accurate. Shading gives your drawing depth and texture.
Create a three-dimensional illusion on a two-dimensional surface is possible if you can master the art of shading.
In this post, I will share with you three different pencil points I use for shading.
By the end of this post, you will know…
- The elements of drawing
- 3 pencil points for shading
- Best pencil sharpener for artists
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Before I talk about the different types of pencil points I use for my drawings, I would like to talk a little about shading elements.
It does not matter what tool you use for your drawing.
If you do not understand the elements of shading, your drawings will look off.
The elements of shading are:
- Full light
- Core Shadow
- Reflected light
- Cast shadow
For more information on the elements of shading, visit Drawing Tips For Realistic Drawings – The Elements Of Shading.
Now that you understand the elements of shading, let’s talk about the different pencil points that I use for my realistic drawings.
Three Different Pencil Points For Shading
I use the three different shading points: 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 lines that you place are essential for soft value changes.
Knowing what pencil tip to use will make the job easier for you.
For example, the drawing below uses all three pencil tips.
For the shading of this girl’s face, I used a combination of all three tips.
I used the rounded point and the sharp point for her eyes and the sharp point for her eyelashes.
Sharp Point Pencil
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.
The sharper the tip is, the easier it will be to get graphite in the paper’s valleys.
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 paper’s valleys, 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 pencil’s tip is, the darker the mark will be.
That is because the graphite is reaching the valleys of the paper.
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.
Remember 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 pencil’s tip on your sandpaper block while rotating the pencil.
The round tip will cover more areas of the paper with graphite creating a thicker line.
Because the tip is not sharp, it will not reach all of the paper’s valleys, creating a lighter value.
Chisel Point Pencil
A chisel point has a flat surface on one side.
The chisel edge pencil 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.
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 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 figuring out what technique will work best in specific situations.
Tip – When you sharpen your pencil, there will be graphite dust on the lead’s tip. Wipe off the soil 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 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 fewer white spots?
- What tip leaves more white spots?
- What textures would work best for each tip?
How To Sharpen A Pencil For Drawing
There are two different ways I sharpen my pencils.
One way is with an X-Acto knife and sandpaper. Disclaimer – Anyone under 18 should not sharpen a pencil with an X-Acto knife without an adult’s supervision.
The other way I sharpen my pencil is with an electric pencil sharpener.
Final Thoughts On Pencil Points For Shading
Creating a realistic pencil drawing starts with the tools you use and how you utilize the tools.
As we covered in this post, you can achieve many tones with a flat point, round point, and a sharp tip pencil.
Practicing different techniques with the different tips will have you creating beautiful fine art.
Practice shading cubes, cylinders, and spheres with each tip.
Drawing Tools You Will Find in My Studio
Below is a list of all the materials I use for my drawings. I purchase all of my drawing supplies online at Blick Art Materials.
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Smooth
- Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Board Pads 9″ x 12″ Velum
- General’s Factis Magic Black Eraser
- Tombow Mono Zero Refillable Eraser
- Prismacolor Kneaded Rubber Erasers
- Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad
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