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How not to shade using markers

By Chameleon Art Products
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We all know that the secret to the best artwork and illustrations possible is improving your skills and ability. But using the best equipment and shading techniques can really help your artwork stand out too. However, not everyone knows the difference between how you should shade and how you shouldn’t. So, here’s how NOT to shade using markers so you know exactly what to avoid.

We’re going to cover three main aspects of what can create poor results and show you what you shouldn’t be doing when using your own markers for shading. You’ll also notice how all three work side by side. Here's what you shouldn't do:

  1. Color one section darker without blending
  2. Not have a fixed light source
  3. Add random shadows



Don't color one section darker without blending

Chameleon Pens shading example

Just look at the image above. It doesn’t look great, right? That’s because the artist decided to cut some corners and not blend the markers while shading. If you’re block coloring and hoping that the blends and shading will look natural and professional - it won’t.

Instead of simply coloring in one section dark and moving on to the next section with a different color, using a professional tool can eliminate the barriers between shoddy results and professional-quality.

For example, Chameleon Pens feature a unique Mixing Chamber which help you create seamless blends. A few seconds of fuse time in the Mixing Chamber is all you need to unlock multiple hidden tones in your pen and as you shade, the color slowly returns back to its normal, saturated tone.

Woman drawing a leaf with a green Chameleon Pen

However, the difference here is that if you place the nib inside of the innovative Mixing Chamber, you’re able to begin shading from light to dark. As you’ll be able to see in the image below, this alternative definitely looks a lot better where one area is dark, but another is much lighter without needing to switch pens.

If you want to create realistic artwork, you need to know that reality doesn’t feature just one tone. It takes different levels of light and dark tones to create depth and dimension.


Avoid not having a fixed light source

Visual demonstration showing how not to shade using markers by Chameleon Pens

Perhaps the key to professional-quality artwork and illustrations is that you implement a light source and stick to it. This is something you need to decide before you put marker to paper because if you change your mind constantly like the artist did above, you’re completely destroying the effect.

If you don’t have a fixed light source to work from, then this can ruin all of the other elements such as not knowing which areas of your illustrations need to be lighter and darker, or even where you should be placing your shadows.

As we said, they’re all linked when it comes to the best shading techniques.

Instead, do what the artist has done (above). One light source has been clearly identified and it makes it much easier shade the lighter colors as they’re closer to the light source while the darker tones are placed further away from the light source.

As you can see, this makes the piece look a lot more professional and it’s clear that amateur tools haven’t been used.


Don't add random shadows

How not to shade example by chameleon pens

We know, incorporating shadows into your artwork and illustrations can take it to the next level. That’s unless shadows have been used inconsistently or in the wrong areas, then it can look even worse than it does without shadows at all. However, you can only add shadows to your work if you’ve identified a light source, which links into the previous point.

So, if you haven’t picked a light source or you couldn’t decide on one fixed light source and picked several, then your shadows are going to be all over the place and they won’t improve the overall piece in any way.

Depending on where your light source is, the highlight on your object isn’t going to have much color because this is the area which gets the most light. More shade needs to be added towards the bottom of the object as this is the part which receives less light.

At the mid tone, you can begin to see some shading and shadows. This defines the lights and darks of the object when the light hits on it, yet still has the bare support to show through as the mid tone.

Finally, the shadow is just as important as the other aspects. Here, the light source is blocked by the object from hitting the ground. This is the cast shadow, so shade this shadow with your marker depending on where the light source is.

Remember, this needs to be the case when you have a fixed light source. Having a light source on one side with the shadows not being in the right place can ruin the entire effect. 

See our inspiring guide to using Chameleon Pens

It really is as simple as that. Avoid the three common shading errors above and do them the right way and see your art transformed into something a lot more impressive. You can download our ultimate guide to using Chameleon Pens and discover even more unique ways to create professional results. 

Unlock Your Potential With Chameleon Pens Guide CTA

Tags: shading

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