Creative JumpStart: Get Your Shade On

Black And White Tiger Lily Art Print
Copyright V. Vicari 2017


I work a lot with black and white. Whether it’s photography or drawings, I like the contrast between the dark and the light.

Color is great. Without color, life would be rather drab. But there is something about black and white images that speaks to the pure essence of an image.

Not to mention, images just look cool in black and white.

So for this creative jumpstart, I want you to focus on one aspect of colorless art: shading

Now let’s be clear, almost all images both photographic and drawn or painted have shading. Color images are nothing without shadow and dark areas.

But for the sake of staying easily creative, I suggest grabbing your pencil and sketchbook and start shading.

Shade Until You Can’t Shade Anymore

Anyone can draw some lines and call it art. In fact, some really awesome illustrations are just that. In fact, I made the drawing below and I call it art:


Just a bunch of lines going in crazy directions. But it’s art.

Now imagine adding some shading to the lines. Shading adds depth. That depth adds to the composition of your image. What’s more, you can really get a feel for the story behind the image.

Our brains like depth. We process the multi-dimensional in more creative ways. I have zero scientific evidence for this, but it sounds good.

So start drawing some lines.

Make two straight parallel lines. Then make some zig-zag lines coming off those parallel lines. Maybe add a circle or two.

Throw in some triangles. Yes, get used to making shapes. Shapes are fun. Now, keep going with the straight lines. Fill your page.

Now do my personal favorite and add some leaf-looking doodles.

Good? Add some more.

Now, take your pencil and hold it so your tip is on its side. Now start shading your lines. Stay on one side for all of them so you get the perspective of light.

Keep going. Don’t stop.

Look at what you have. A shaded drawing. Don’t put too much thought into this. Just do it. If you go a little overboard great! If you think you need to go overboard, then do it.

The best way to learn is to do. Now your learning to add depth to your simple line drawing. Your friends will be impressed. Better yet, don’t show your friends. This is for you.

Wrap Up

Adding depth to your drawings is fun. It’s yet another little bit of your art that adds uniqueness and beauty. So get shading. If you like taking pictures, keep the dark aspects of your images in mind.

Remember light is key and is integral to your image composition. That’s it for now. Stay creative and thanks for reading!


Creative JumpStart: Get Your Shade On was originally published on Vincent Vicari Art

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