Shading and Blending

When working on your grown up colouring pages, sometimes you may feel you want to do more. A lot of people ask about shading and blending, so here is a run down of shading and some techniques used to create it also a brief run down on blending (a technique used in conjunction with shading).


Shading is an effect used in drawing and colouring. Shading adds depth, contrast, character, and even movement to your drawings by capturing the shadows and highlights of your object.

There are various techniques used in shading, though with all make sure you are working on a decent quality of paper as inadequate paper may be prone to tearing.

examples of Gradient, Layering, Cel-shading None of these examples have been blended (see below)

Gradient – a single colour but the range of dark to light of that one particular colour, often done in pencil drawings. Coloured pencils are usually the best media for colouring with a gradient as the more pressure you apply to the pencil the darker the tone becomes.
Layering – Layering is the process of using multiple colours to achieve dark to light stages, the colours used don’t always have to be from the same group, such as using blue tones with greens. Layering can work with any media.
Cel-shading – Often found in comic or animation and more often used in digital colouring. It is just two colours, one of a darker tone that is laid over the main colour in the areas where shade will appear. The technique is very crisp and there is an obvious line between the light and dark.


You can also blend your colour to make any transitions between shades or different colours flow together.

Dependent on your chosen media the blending process may happen at different times. Alcohol markers are blended as you put down each colour, coloured pencils are blended after all the colour has been put down.

There are various tools available to assist with blending your colours. Markers generally have a blender pen though that may not be needed. Coloured pencils can be blended in a number of ways, some work with you as you are colouring, some can be blended with water and others with oil (specialist blender oils, or baby oil can work well) and a blending or burnisher pencil or silicone colour shapers for media that allows movement.

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