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How using shading markers will improve your work

By Chameleon Art Products
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There's no escaping it. Shading is a must for any artist chasing a professional, high-quality finish. If you don't shade, you're probably going to get a block-colored image which won't really impress anyone. To achieve the best results, you're going to need shading markers that make the process a whole lot easier. Here's how using shading markers will improve your work.

The impact shading has on artwork

In general, shading with markers makes work reach a much higher quality. As an artist, it shows that you're aware of the techniques required to create professional-quality work. Shading brings artwork to life. It can turn something basic into a piece with depth. Even though it doesn't require a great deal of time or technique, it still helps to create subtle details which breathes extra life into your work.

Though block coloring styles have their place (flat design, some cartoons, some pop art styles), when done poorly, a solid, plain-colored piece of art can be difficult to interpret and feel low quality as a result.

Accurate shading is what helps bring depth to your work. It tells a completely different story, showing that the blends created with the shades and the layering helps add more overall depth than a solid block of color ever can. 


Try it out for yourself

Check out the image by artist Kristy Dalman. Here's how you can do something similar using the flicking technique and then compare it to a piece of non-shaded work you've already created. Following along and seeing how the shading effect builds up will demonstrate how your work improves with the good use of shading markers.

Pick a color & flick

Coloring in hair on a woman using a brown Chameleon Pen

Pick a color that will act as the darkest areas of the hair. Remember to take your light source into account. So the areas of the hair furthest away from the source will be the darkest and areas closest to the light source will be the lightest colors.

You need to start lightly flicking in the strands on the hair - there's no need to use any long or short strokes. A short stroke is where you guide the pen in one direction in careful strokes with the marker staying on the paper throughout. With a flick, the marker comes off the paper as you flick upwards or downwards, making it a less accurate and guided technique.

Use this as a visual guide as to where you want the shadings and blends to be. By doing this, you're also quickly establishing the shadows. 


Fuse & add highlight areas

  • Fuse shading marker for roughly 5 seconds
  • Repeat the flicking process to add highlight and texture
  • Keep an eye on the color as you flick

Womans portrait with only her hair and face colored in using the highlight & shading technique

Now the shading will start to come to life. Kristy has used Chameleon Pens, meaning she can take advantage of the unique Mixing Chamber to dilute the brown marker she's using. Do this for around five seconds as it's a small area to cover.

Once you've fused the nib with the Mixing Chamber, begin flicking again - exactly the same as the flicking technique in the first step. No short or long strokes are needed. This is to add highlights and more texture for added realism.

It's important that you're keeping an eye on the color as you flick. Over time, the color will become fully saturated again so when it's not a lighter color anymore, repeat the diluting process and continue flicking.


Continue shading in layers & texture

  • Continue fusing the nib with the Mixing Chamber
  • Repeat flicking technique to add depth
  • The more you do it, the more detail there will be

A womans portrait which has been colored in using the coloring technique of adding layers and textures with a Chameleon Pen

To finish this simple shading technique off, continue fusing the nib with the Mixing Chamber so you're using a lighter tone.  As you continue flicking, you want to make sure you don't keep flicking using the fully saturated color. Once the normal color returns, it's important to repeat the diluting process. The more you do this, the more texture and layers you're adding to the hair when shading. That means there will be a lot more detail than something that hasn't been shaded.


Try more tips and tutorials from Chameleon Art Products

After you've used the simple steps above to enhance your creative shading techniques, share your results via #ChameleonPens on social media. Following that, why not challenge yourself to do more with your Chameleon Pens? We've created a free guide on all the different ways you can utilize the pens and unlock your full coloring potential.Unlock Your Potential With Chameleon Pens Guide CTA

Tags: Shading Markers

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