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Side Shading and Tip Shading
Shading with the side and the tip of the pencil.

Shading with the side and the tip of the pencil.

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Side shading or tip shading? Is there a right way to shade with colored pencil? I don't think so: it depends on the effect you want. Let's take a quick look at the difference between side shading and tip shading with colored pencil.

On the left is an area of side-shaded pencil, and on the right is some tip-shaded colored pencil. The paper grain in the side-shaded area is much more obvious, appearing coarser and more open. The tonal range is also more limited. When shading with the tip of a sharp pencil, you can achieve a much richer, denser layer of color. The grain appears finer, and the pencil tip is able to get right into the paper grain, and you can create a broader tonal range.

This doesn't mean that shading with the side of the pencil is wrong - it can be a useful technique for sketching, when you want soft, grainy and even-toned shading.

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