When you're drawing a picture, you're thinking about making the tree look leafy and the perspective right, or ensuring the face looks smooth and worrying about getting the eyes right. So if you're not confident with shading, you can easily be tentative - and even a bit boring. Playing it safe. So next time you're having a cup of tea or your tv show is on an advert break, grab your sketchbook and pencil and do some shading practice. See how much variation you can achieve, or how much consistency, by varying the way you apply the pencil. Try keeping some off-cuts of your favorite drawing paper or board handy for practicing on too.
Pencil Shading Tips and Exercises:
Introduction to Pencil Shading - basic techniques
Graded and Continuous Shading - value exercise
Newspaper Shading - fun value drawing activity
Soft Shading - working from middle values
Graphite Pencil FAQ - choosing and using pencils