Style & Shading

Kevin Kramer
A free video tutorial from Kevin Kramer
Artist & Educator
3.5 instructor rating • 2 courses • 2,563 students

Lecture description

Learn my 4 step process for shading like a pro every time. You'll also learn the 3 things that hold people back from creating original work.

Learn more from the full course

Shading Masters: The Ultimate Drawing Course for Artists

Learn the simplest methods for achieving mind-blowing realistic drawings fast using a simple 4 step process!

08:07:40 of on-demand video • Updated November 2015

  • Use the 3 step process to shade anything effectively and quickly.
  • Shade faces and other textures realistically.
  • Know exactly what tools to buy and why
  • Create more dynamic drawings easier and faster
  • How to create realistic textures
  • Teach you the most effective shading methods. period
English [Auto] Hey everyone welcome back. Kevin Kramer here founder of drawing color in dot.com and creator of this three part video training series for you on shading. Masters now in the first video I taught you the two key concepts of using size in a grid system to really achieve amazing results and get extreme amounts of detail with less stress and no added skill. And I use those two approaches each and every time on all of my portraits and all my drawings. The first step and everyone and also gave me the three space saving tips I use when I have limited space to work. No studio. Can I show you that it takes really nothing. No one's time used to gridding methods really plan out your proportions and get everything right. In this second video I'm going to teach you my four step process for shading like a pro. Every single time the four steps really break down the strategies that I use to draw all of my images using only a few too. I also am going to tell you that the three things that hold most people back from making their own creative and original artwork and how you can sidestep them drawing realistic portraits has always been a passion of mine ever since I found Norman Rockwell work and it took me many years of practice and trial and error to figure out and perfect how to achieve amazing realistic images and the strategies I'm teaching you enabled me to draw any image with confidence. Extreme amounts of realism and win contests that have really gotten my work published in books like strokes of genius 3 the best of drawing and the 2011 collection of art buzz both of which been distributed around the world. I don't say that to impress you but to let you know what's really possible. When you use these techniques I'm showing you. I do have a first have to assume that you're willing to put in the work to get better with your heart. But like I said before it only takes one technique to really take your skills to new heights. So if you haven't had a chance to watch the first video I highly suggest you go back and watch it and come back to this. It's the foundation for every thing that I do. Once you have the outline drawn the next thing you need to do is obviously fill in the shading in the tone. It's not all that hard if you follow a few simple steps and just kind of keep with those when it really comes down to planning out your images. The more you planned the better your images will come out. The hardest aspect of drawing for me started off when there was contrast adding more contrast was one of the scariest things that I had to overcome that helped bring my drawings to new levels. I struggled with not going dark enough for a long time. I didn't want to go you know I didn't want to ruin the picture. I didn't want to mess it up or not have the braes day. You know even when I had something really awesome and just didn't want to mess it up. Maybe you can relate. One day I finished an image that I was actually really satisfied with and I decided to go ahead and just push it further and push myself further push it further and actually risk ruining the whole thing. I filled in the darkest darks darker than I originally had and why that wasn't the best outcome. I got a taste of what I knew I really needed to do from now. From that I developed the new shading approach that I use all and all of my images. There are four steps the shading like approach that I use every single time. Step one is find the highlights. When drawing any image the first rule is determine the light source that you're trying to depict and locating the highlights will allow you to do that without even thinking. If you just go and find the highlights and outline them lightly and then just leave them on touch. Then you'll have almost everything already laid out for you. Step two is fill in the mid tones. Once you have the highlights all plotted out and to find fill in all the other parts of the outline including the darkest shadows using a middle value is kind of a base tone. This will give you a good base to work off of and allows you to judge how dark for light you're actually going. Later on I know a lot of people struggle with. Everything looks flat. This is going to help. Rule Number 3 is make the darkest Dark's of value darker than you originally thought. This will give you draw an immediate impact and the contrasts. It'll just really make your image pop. That's where the contrasts will come from. The main step I got hung up on is that when I was getting started I didn't go dark enough. Step four is make the life lighter than you think. The highlights will give your image that extra depth that they're missing. And even if the dark's are all filled in there is no distinguishable highlights the image will look flat so go ahead and the highlights and it'll really bring out the depth in that dimension they images are missing. So if you follow those four steps when you're drawing your images you see instant results. They'll have more impact and dimension and you'll never be afraid to go darker again. Believe it or not the more you can simplify the tones in the value the more impact the drones will have. So if you can divide them up into three very distinguishable phones you'll have a lot more depth and impact in any of your drawings that you. Like i toy you in the first video size dictates everything as far as the ease of adding details to your images and the grid system allows you to have precision accuracy. Those two ideas and concepts took me a while to finally get once I started reading the bio's and really digging deeper into the actual processes and the history of each artist. I started to bring it all together and saw some common themes that really started to started to gel. Artists like Rockwell the Alfons Mukha all the great masters all other images were so much bigger than I realized I could even understand how they made the paper so big. It just never even occurred to me I can even remember going to an art store in New Orleans when I was really young with my dad and just looking through all the tools and supplies I didn't even think about the paper paper and paper size. I never even came onto my radar until much much later. It was really ridiculous looking back at it now but I would take four pieces of paper paste them together and then I'd meet in the middle and then I just keep those together in the middle. It was pretty much all I was interested in were the How To books and the ones with the most pictures in them. The only reason I picked up the individual artist books was to look at the pictures all of the books really did help me a lot with creating the images and finding different styles that I liked. But I can tell you building skills without solid foundation of theory in the process. To tell you why you're actually doing what you are doing will definitely lead you down a rabbit hole of frustration. You know you have to build that effort. One of the biggest things I learned over time is that all art is structured it has rules and it's the best artists that learn the rules and master them only once you've mastered the rules of a process. Do you have the knowledge of how to effectively break those rules. I think most people would agree and you can know how to break something unless you know how it works. That's part of why I love the gridding method. It's a structure that you can lay all of your framework wrong. It's a guide to help you focus when you're composition building skills and mastering the rules of building your art. When I found Chuck his work The images were so impressive I had to see what his process was. It was just I had to know how was he making those images. And that's when the idea of the grading system really took full effect and I saw it before I use the projector and I drew things freehand. But it was you know it was used in the grid system that really just learning the frame of my pictures in general. I got me started and allowed me to get mentally prepared and approach to drawing my body really and with purpose. So it just kind of laser focus and have a purpose. Every time I sat down and you know I do that with all my sketches I do that with all my main pieces in it. I first learned to use an overhead projector in high school and that that kind of started that trend and I created my compositions and all the pieces and I created my first fully realized a piece for Black History Month. There was a composition of B.B. King and I was creating a unique composition it's still always kind of felt like I was cheating because you know I was I was projecting. And most people think that you know that's cheating. But in any case it wasn't the process. It was the size that really stuck with me and help me realize the impact of that picture that created it actually looked like real art with the size of real art. And we knew of the size of your final piece. It allows you to get more fluid action cleaner line and add as much. You can add as much or little as detail as you want whether you're drawing a landscape a puppy dog or B.B. King. It doesn't matter. Now I do realize that some people think that using grids and drawing realistic portraits from images is just too structured or mechanical and all you're doing is slavishly copying like some human photocopier. And you know they also think the images are an original and not really organic and you know I would agree with some of it but there are three simple things you could do. Completely sidestep all those complaints and worries and you really make your art your own. The first thing that I would suggest and always always encourage that you do is to always draw from original images or subjects that you personally have created or taken. It not only allows you to create original artwork it helps you avoid any copyright infringements that could maybe come out later on if you try to enter into a contest or any kind of galleries will mandatory that you have original work they won't accept copies or recreations all contests will require that you have an original work anyway so why not just go ahead and create your own images if you really want to practice and create taking pictures of source images and reference photos for use in your final drawings or sketches that have been a part of the process since cameras became more accessible. So and today great cameras are even ridiculously cheap. You can more than likely your camera phone on your phone and your camera your camera on your phone is better than the camera that I use to show you the reference images for the my signature big Alex. Even Norman Rockwell used them almost exclusively. They get his paintings completed. He said he had a horrible imagination and needed to see exactly what it would look like in order to draw it. Second is how you choose to render your image to me is like giving 20 kids on the same page out of a coloring book. Everyone starts with the same outline but no two look alike when they're all done. As far as to structure to mechanical but the only thing structured with the process I use is the grid itself. You can draw sketchy image and draw a hyper realistic image you can draw an average image it's really up to you how you want to draw anything. Once you get it on the grid is just there to support that idea as the underlying framework for the image you're drawing is organic and still drawn freehand meaning you're not using tools or anything else to do it. So I don't see any problem with taking source of images and reference photos for using your main drawing or piece of artwork do you know dig anything you use personally is yours. Ultimately it's your choice of how you wanted to pick that. That's the ultimate job of the artist anyway. It's your eyes showing what you see onto the paper. So any artwork you choose to make can be can consume. You know it can be considered uninspired or mechanical. The key is to make it your own. And if you want to create a photo realistic image there's still other elements that go into creating a drawing besides slavishly copying each artist's touch is different and it comes through in your subjects that you choose whether you're painting drawing or even sculpting your touch and your personality comes through. Whether you want to or not Chuck closes subjects they are all really very generic and unflattering and more often looked like Id photos if they're not directly from that. But the enormous size and hyper realistic style of them commands your attention when you see them in person. And they were made using an airbrush. So whatever medium you choose it will add another layer of personality to your work. A quota I like is from one of the great artists and you know Gordon great teachers Andrew Loomis which says the early work of any artist known for a breath and looseness usually shows that he had a masquerade to master detail before he could subordinate and eliminate it. Basically you have to know how to see and get great levels of detail in order to know when and where you're not where they're not needed and where they're needed. And the third thing is any image you create will show your own style or aesthetic. This is the one that evolves over time. You know it's hard to pinpoint it but as you find other artists that inspire you you'll you know you'll take on some of their style and aesthetic you might do it consciously or you might do it unconsciously. But the more you were exposed the greater the chances that your art will evolve and become a unique expression of your own style. I know it's really just takes time to develop. You have to just keep going and doing it and do it and then you'll get your own style. And I think the style that you gravitate towards anyway is really an expression of your own personal state whether you consume what you're consciously know or actively pursue an idea. You know I remember when I created the Big Alex piece there was a lot of craziness going on in my life and it really allowed need to channel and that chaos into something constructive and it allowed me to have a little bit of control over a little aspect of the day you know I can just sit down get in there and I had control over that. Since then my work has become a lot more loose over time. But you know I still create very realistic images as you know. So I just I just like I you know I use duller pencils and sketch your lines and some other artists you know some use all mechanical pencils which give them like a more graphic style while others use you know that charcoal or even a combination of different materials. But it's it's really ultimately up to you the artist how you want to approach the subject. Once you have the image planned out and the grid is laid down you know the grid and the size just help give you more real estate to get your ideas down and get them down cleanly so that you can work on your style and building your skills. Now I hope that this video has really served you and I know that these videos are probably a little longer than you're used to but I hope it has really de-mystify and added value to you in this process and you know has really shown you how you can draw amazingly realistic portraits like a pro and with confidence and really be proud of the outcomes you're achieving. I know that if you really take these strategies and put them in play in your own Brauns and artwork then you put the time in you'll get better. You keep practicing. You'll see a huge impact just like I did. You will achieve high levels of detail and mastery and you will create you'll be creating real art if you just use these techniques. Your confidence level soars when you know exactly what you need to dude achieve any outcome and you know having a system that you use to approach those problems really takes the worry out. It allows you to laser focus your efforts in the right place. If you don't have a starting point you'll be struggling the entire way through all of your pieces. So the grid really does not know that these strategies work because I use them on all of my images that I create and that's for that process simplifies all of my shading. So in the next video I'll talk to you even more about the number one challenges people face in doing this. You've been struggling long enough. Just let's help you get those portraits and drawings up the level of detail and qualities that you really want and build the confidence that I know that you know you can really draw that you know you can't really draw anything you want with the skill and have it look as real as you decide you want to look at how it just might happen to come out. So I look forward to see you in the next video. But until then and to any comments or questions below this video and I'll do my best personally to respond to each and every one of them. So go ahead answer them now and I'll see you in the next video. And just go up there and remember. Just keep it simple.