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Basic line shading techniques

Updated: Mar 29

Line shading is the secret ingredient that will make our floral illustrations go from a flat outline drawing to a 3-D illusion drawing with depth.

There are many techniques for line shading. Here are some basic ones which I mostly use to add shading to my floral illustrations.

You can try them on different simple shapes as a fun exercise.

1. Stippling

A very basic yet fun method is to fill the area with Stippling. It is done by laying down a huge number of dots together. You have to be more mindful and do this calmly as it is usually a time-consuming process.

I generally use a layered approach using different sizes(01, 03,05,08) of archival ink pens(fine liners) to make different sizes of dots while stippling.

Remember to place more dots in the area which you want to appear darker or to deepen its value.

I mostly use this technique to shade the center part of the flower illustrations.

2. Scribbling

Another fun yet a bit faster technique is to use scribbling lines. This method can also be used to shade the center of the floral illustrations.

Start by relaxing and loosening your hand grip a little bit, allowing it to move a bit more naturally. Then start filling the area with some scribbling lines. The trick is to not focus on any particular shape but focus more on making different loops and variety.

To add more depth, try creating lighter and darker values by changing the pressure of the pen you are putting on the paper.

3. Hatching

The hatching technique is used to create a shading effect by drawing some closely spaced parallel lines in the area. The trick here is to practice making lines using the flick motion of your hand.

Remember to relax your hand and wrist, allowing them to move more naturally, giving you more control.

Put some pressure on paper at the starting point and then draw a line by releasing the pressure as you end the line, making a flick motion. This in turn will create a fading line effect.

Please note that while shading petals and leaves with this effect, remember to follow the direction of the outline shape of the petal or leaf, instead of putting just parallel lines.

To do some variations while shading petals and leaves you can also use discontinuous lines.

While shading with this effect, just remember to follow the outline shape of the petal or leaf.

4. Cross hatching

To add more depth and value to some areas you can use the cross-hatching technique.

It is done by adding a first layer of lines using the hatching technique and then adding a second layer of lines crossing over the first layer.

The more lines cross over each other, the darker the value appears.


Want to learn how to draw and shade flowers and create pretty floral illustrations??

Check out the step by step guides and practice worksheets available for instant download in my store.

Click here to know more!


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