I wanted to talk a little bit more about shading, since this is probably the area that I get the most interest and questions about. I guarantee the advice I’m about to give will help anybody learn how to shade in any medium.  Ready?

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First of all, when it comes to depth perception, the two most important things to focus on (in my opinion) are Perspective and Shading. We’ve already discussed “perspective,” which can essentially be accomplished by making objects bigger the closer they are, and smaller as they get further away. That one’s seems fairly simple enough to do, right? 

Mastering “shading,” on the other hand, takes a little more practice. But here are the main points to take away.

  1. Extreme Lights and Extreme Darks. Don’t be afraid to make your shadows extra dark, and your highlights extra light. Remember, shading has nothing to do with color, but with tone. So don’t get caught up with what colors should be darker or lighter. It’s purely about where shadows and highlights exist. This is where working with black and white (or thinking of your project as black and white) can be helpful. You can still transition from light to dark gradually, but until you can achieve the extreme darks and lights, your masterpiece will never truly pop.
  2. Think of lines only as the intersection of where dark and light meet. There are no outlines in real life, so the more you can eliminate the appearance of an outline, the more life-like your piece will appear!

Once you accept these two basic principles of shading, I promise it will become very easy to develop the skill.

I hope you find these tips helpful! I will be working tonight to complete the shading and put the finishing touches on my project. I’ll also be applying a light stain and a coat of Polyurethane to seal it and give it a subtle gloss. I’m looking forward to showing you the finish product after I give it to my hubby tomorrow for his Birthday!