Shane And Friend
by Shane Lees
Shane from Seattle
Hello Kerry and the AAD Family,
One of the reasons why I am capable of making such detailed drawings is because I suffer from one of the most severe forms of AD/HD and the only thing I can focus on, is my art. I can literally sit for 12 hours at a time, focusing intently on my drawings and I only take a break to use the bathroom.
I am actually disabled and currently I am hoping I can get established in graphic arts and I won't have to go back to another job. Because the only thing I know how to do well is my art.
You asked how I achieve my shading details. Everything that I explain here, is all of my tools.
The main pencil that I use on literally every drawing, more than any other pencil, is Sanford Eagle HB number two. Then after my illustration is completely penciled in, I'll go over it again with a mechanical pencil.
I like to fill my mechanical pencils with super high polymer 0.5 x 60 mm lead. I've discovered that this is the best tool to get very fine and dark lines, and the lead does not break easily.
For dark shading I like to use pencils that are completely graphite, very thick, and are not surrounded by any wood. The brand I am very fond of is Pitt Graphite 8B made by Faber Castell.
While I am shading, I like to roll toilet paper very tightly and smudge the graphite in the areas that need more light. I'll also incorporate a putty eraser to pick up graphite in areas that are too dark.
Then I take my number 2 pencil again and apply a lot of pressure. I'll go over the black areas drawing them even darker, I want to make sure my black areas are completely blackened in.
Next, while still using a number two pencil, I'll go over the darker smudged areas again and shade out to light. However this time I will not smudge the graphite if I can help it.
When I am shading I do not like there to be any visible lines. I like my shading to be a smooth transition from dark to light. So If I've done the smudging correctly there should be no visible lines at all when I shade out to light. The end result as you can see is a very smooth and soft effect.
It's very important to buy number two pencils that are surrounded with a very soft wood and that the wood itself hugs the graphite very tightly. The softer the wood is, and how tightly it hugs the graphite, will determine how fine a point can be sharpened on the pencil. For that reason I've discovered that Sanford Eagle makes a very superior product to most other brands of pencils. Pencils that have very hard wood surrounding the graphite do not sharpen well and the graphite almost always breaks off inside the pencil.
As important as the pencil brand is, its equally important to spend an extra dollar and purchase a very good pencil sharpener. Cheap pencil sharpeners do not sharpen pencils very well, so I purchase my pencil sharpeners at art supply stores and buy the most expensive brand. I like the kind that are aluminum and that have two sharpening sizes built into them.
When I am erasing, I like to use erasers that fit on the end of a pencil. I use cheap wide paint brushes to brush away the easer bits. I do not like to blow away eraser bits because sometimes I get tiny droplets of spit on the paper, which messes up the shading process. Also, I rub my nose and forehead a lot while I'm drawing. The oils from my face gets transferred to my hands, so for that reason I do not brush away eraser bits with my hands. I discovered that the wide paint brush is the ideal tool to sweep away eraser bits.
I purchase paint brushes from hardware stores and while I'm looking for cheap $2.00 brushes, I'll also be looking for the most coarse sand paper that they have. If I am drawing sand or a very coarse surface, I like to use a very soft lead and go over the entire page with the sandpaper beneath it. However this technique cannot be implemented with a lot of pressure or the sandpaper will poke through the paper.
Lastly on this subject, I wear latex gloves while drawing so that I do not get oils from hands on my drawing and this also helps to prevent smudging as well. I like to fill my gloves with a little cornstarch which prevents a rash and sweating inside the gloves.
One of my other important tools for drawing is my reference resources. For the past 5 years I've been collecting images from magazines and cataloging them. I have five huge three ring binders broken down into every category I can think of.
The perfect model is one that does not move and I have an entire catalogue full of models. I look for the correct model and pose that I want and draw them. It's not important that my drawing looks exactly like the model unless I am drawing a portrait. So I do not have to worry about getting the nose exactly right, or the chin and lips identical to the model. I am only worried about getting the anatomy correct and fabric folding correct. The idea is not to copy, but to use it as a tool for referencing.
Well, that pretty much covers all of my tools.
Seattle / WA
***Note From Kerry:
This is just one of Shane's drawings that he has sent in.
Kepan and Fortis Fight
In the comments, I asked Shane how he achieved his drawing effects. ...This is his in-depth reply! How staggering is that? I am absolutely awed, Shane, thank you for sharing all of that with us.