How to Shade With Pen


How to Shade With Pen

It uses a specialized pen to draw the black areas of an image, such as ink lines and shading. It could be applied to the paper surface or directly on top of the colored base image. Shading can give a 3D dimension to the artwork, making the final image pop out in reality. It gives depth and realism to printed images. In this article, I will discuss how to shade with pen. So let us get started.

What Are Pen Nibs?

Pen nibs are tipped drawing instruments with a pointed end. They can be used for both writing and drawing, but not as well for the latter. Most pen nibs have thick, rounded sides to them, which give them their classic look; they often come in sets of five or ten because they are disposable tools that need to be replaced regularly.

Other common disposable drawing tools include markers and paintbrushes. However, these are used for different purposes than pen nibs (markers usually have a large reservoir of liquid inside them to make the marker bolder, while paint brushes cover larger areas).

What Pens Should I Use? 

It would help if you used a calligraphy pen. The nib is small enough to create the shading and produces an even stroke so that you can keep all of your letters with the same thickness. There are many different kinds of pens available on the market now; pick one up in your local arts & crafts store.

The kind I used has two ink cartridges, which makes refilling easier. There are many different types of paper out there for calligraphy; protect yourself by creating a barrier between the nib and the paper when using fountain pens or working outside, or you’ll ruin it right away. This helps prevent bleeding as well as making clean-up easier.

What’s important is that you use paper specifically made for calligraphy. Pick up some practice sheets of it as well; they’re very forgiving if you make mistakes, and there will be plenty!

Step-wise Guide on How to Shade With Pen

Step 1:

Prepare Your Tools. A drafting pen, sharpener (to sharpen the point), and a ruler is what you need for drawing lines. A pencil is used for shading with a pen. Ensure that your tools are of high quality and don’t tire easily.

Step 2:

Learn How to Hold Pen Properly. The most important part of this step involves learning how to hold the pen properly. You must hold the pen in a manner that enables you to shade with it easily. For example, hold the drafting pen between your index finger and thumb while holding its other end with your middle finger.

Learn How to Hold Pen Properly

Step 3:

Use a Drafting Pen Start by filling in all the areas that require solid black color using a drafting pen. Make sure there’s no white space left behind when you’re done. Once your draft is made, could you take out a pencil and lightly shade it? Again, the purpose is to create the illusion of three-dimensional form.

Step 4:

Use a Colored Pencil. Now take out your colored pencils and start shading smaller areas until you’ve filled up all the white space that’s left behind. After you’re done, your artwork will begin looking more and more colorful!

Step 5:

Use Ink This step involves drawing on top of the colored pencil with ink. You can either use a fountain pen or calligraphy ink. Slowly but surely, your draft will take shape in front of you. The key here is practice and patience!

How to Shade with a Ballpoint Pen?

There are a lot of people who have trouble shading with their ballpoint pens. This can be very frustrating, particularly for beginners. But did you know that there is actually an easy way to shade? Here is the technique you need to follow:

Ballpoint pens are multi-purpose tools. Aside from being able to write smoothly on paper, it can also be used in drawing. You only need practice and patience because this tool does not work as straight out of the box as you might think. However, if you want to sculpt and create your own characters, mastering using a ballpoint pen is a must for all aspiring writers and artists.

 Shade with a Ballpoint Pen

Benchmarking the Basics

If you intend on practicing different techniques in using this pen, it would be best to start on the basics first. Ballpoint pens are cylindrical in shape with an excellent point at the end. This comes in handy for writing and drawing since you can create thin lines and curves using your favorite medium.

The most important thing you need to remember is that your ballpoint pen needs to have a thick ink reservoir or cartridge inside before using it. It does take time, but once you have mastered how to use it, comparing and seeing its initial use will seem like a distant dream.

To draw straight lines, all you have to do is start from one corner of the paper, then slowly glide your way towards another line without lifting your hand off the surface of the paper. You have to be patient because it will not work on the first try.

However, with a little practice and you will find yourself creating smooth lines in no time at all. Add more details by using your drawing skills to create patterns and curves for that extra effect.

Using a ballpoint pen, you can also change the way you hold your hand when shading or drawing objects straight out of your mind’s eye. First, place the side of the barrel between your thumb and forefinger so that they can support its body weight while providing a secure grip for making accurate strokes on each line. Second, when sketching, remember that rounding your back slightly is another important technique for getting those sweet curves right every time.

Precautions While Shading With Pen

  • Always work on an illustration board and not on paper. It will make your work look neat and clean.     
  • Choose a hard-tipped permanent black ink pen that can be easily washed out. I use Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens for this purpose.    
  • Try avoiding using an alcohol-based marker like dip nibs or brush pens since these cannot be obliterated and will leave permanent marks on your illustration board once they dry up unless, of course, they are made using India China, or Japan ink in them.    
  • Always use a good quality artboard, an illustration board. These are really good and will hold the least amount of moisture and not allow your pen marks to bleed through to another side.     


I hope this article has helped learn how to shade with pen. Thank you and have a nice day!

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