Shading, Part II

This one will take some time and get dirty, but since you are really only drawing shapes here you get to focus on the shading the fabric makes rather than getting something that has to be purely accurate.

I want you to choose one corner from the below picture to draw. You can click on the image to get a larger version.


You might want to make a second grid on the corner you choose to anchor sections of the fabric to. When you start this, it’s going to feel ugly and out of control and that there is no way you can achieve a nicely shaded fabric shape. Define the spaces of the fabric and keep going anyway.


Then you will start to shade and it will REALLY feel like you have no business continuing. Everything is too harsh and too garish. Don’t panic. As you go, use your finger or a smudge stick to blend the graphite. It will make your finger dirty, it will make the page dirty and that is GOOD because you want to eliminate the white of the page completely over time. As you fill the page and blend, there should be no pure white on the paper.

Slowly you should be massaging and pushing the graphite more and more, shaping the darks as dark as you can get them. Putting hard down lines if you think they belong there. Work it until there is something there that more or less resembles folded fabric, the point is not to make a photo realistic image, but just to see that light affects the way you see certain shapes, and to try to show how that light plays out across that shape.

fabric_02 fabric_03

So when you hopefully have a fully fleshed out page. It’s time to pull out the light parts with an eraser. This will add extra depth to the final product.



This won’t be an easy one, but it’s worth doing. Why? Because you can’t continue to define objects in your drawings with lines. There are no hard line that defines a person’s chin, there is merely a shadow that is cast by the face down into the neck that defines it. We want to move towards drawing the values that exist in things rather than lines (which we will never fully move away from and that is okay), because we need some visual literacy in how light and shadow work.



  • Choose a section of the fabric and draw/shade it to the best of your ability
  • Come to the Facebook group to talk about what you liked/learned/hated about it.


1Draw/Shade a section of the Fabric photo
2Share it to the Facebook group