How to Draw Light & Shade for Beginners

how to draw shading

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£29.99 GBP / $37 USD / 35 EURO / $50 CAD / $51 AUS

(exchange rates may vary slightly)

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Are you stuck in a ‘pencil loop’?

Wanting to experiment with new mediums such as charcoal & chalk but unsure of where to start?

Moving onto a new medium with drawing can be a challenge, especially if you’re using the wrong materials.

I was trying to draw with charcoal for years and kept on ‘missing’ the vital ingredient. I thought it was my technique, my paper choice.

My problem?

I was using the wrong charcoal.

You wouldn’t think it would make much difference, a burnt stick! But choosing the right materials for the effects you’re trying to achieve – can be vital.

How can Charcoal improve your pencil drawings?

The secret to successful ‘Sfumato’ is easy with charcoal.

But it has to be the right charcoal.

So what is Sfumato?

A smoking of edges that can transform a flat, two-dimensional sketch into a lively three-dimensional drawing.

To create drawing studies that look three-dimensional you need to understand how to arrange your compositions to ‘draw themselves’ before we even start.

charcoal drawing

Think ‘Lights off’

A form is developed by light and shade, without these two everything appears flat.

The problem is, most of our drawing environments at home have far too many lights on at once, too many light sources & too many different colours of light.

It can be almost impossible to create form under these conditions, your drawings end up looking flat, childlike as if they’ve been outlined.

It’s not your fault.

It’s your lighting.

Would you like to know a simple way to instantly improve your drawing?

It’s easy. Step 1.

Turn off the lights.

I’m serious.

Turn off the lights until you’ve got a dark room.

Then introduce one single table lamp. Voila, instant Rembrandt.

Drawing in the dark (o.k semi-dark) can be very enlightening!

A simple approach to three-dimensional drawing

This course shows you how to observe and draw light and shade. Beginning with the basics of drawing simple three-dimensional shapes and then moving onto shadows and cast shadows.

It will develop your observation skills and you’ll discover new materials and techniques, giving you valuable insights to effective drawing and sketching.

This course shows you if you can draw simple geometric forms you can quickly and easily move on to figurative, portraiture, and animals. (With step-by-step video demos of all 3 in the lessons)

Giving you the confidence of knowing ‘what to look for’ and then ‘how to draw it’.

A 3 step learning process

This course has been carefully designed to be simple, structured and easy to actually get drawing – not just information overload!

Each teaching layer is one on top of the other so that you learn and move on – understanding both the context and art history of the technique. You can then implement what you’ve learnt in the practical demonstrations.

When you look back at your drawings you can see for yourself what you’ve got right, and if there are things that are slightly ‘out’ you know how to fix it.

Structure helps you learn progressively – your individual personal style and expression turn you into an artist.

1. The Theory

2. The History

3. The Practical

Simple explanations that give you an insight into the hidden techniques of the Old Masters and a context to base your drawings within. Looking at comparisons with painting (and how the Mona Lisa can help your drawings) to create strong, professional looking drawings.

“Will does a great job of breaking things down into digestible bits and pieces. The problem I always have is simplifying artwork to have a more relaxed, yet realistic look.”

will kemp tutor

Will Kemp Artist

What will I learn on this course?

In this practical, easy-to-follow 2-hour video course you will work with pencil, pens, charcoal & chalk to discover:

Tone & Contrast

drawing with sanguine

  • The amazing power of tonal paper and white chalk to instantly create a form with ease.
  • How to simplify tone, master charcoal blending – allowing you to create atmosphere, mood and sophisticated tonal shifts.
  • Understand the ‘tonal Hierarchy’ of Light & Shade to split the 3 tone masses.
  • The common lighting set up that can ruin your drawing, even before you pick up a pencil.
  • The single best way to light your subject (even if you have no equipment or skill with photography.)


 pen sketching

  • The hidden drawing pattern Monet used to transfix viewers into his paintings.
  • A simple photography secret pros use to quickly create a compelling composition …without even using a pencil.
  • A way of ‘shadow mapping’ to quickly establish if a composition will work.
  • Four simple shapes Cezanne (perhaps the greatest Impressionist master of still life) used to compose all of his paintings.

Form & Techniques

how to draw portriat with chalk

  • Two things Singer Sargent used on his portrait drawings to create character and presence.
  • When observing how not to draw a portrait can instantly increase your ‘portrait perception’
  • Discover how to lock-in reference points to create ‘starter lines’ for your sketch. Techniques borrowed from a little known 19th Century artist.

If there is one ‘secret’ I want you to come away with from the course, it’s the power of edges.

Learning to see lost and found edges and where you can blend out – or sharpen up, will give an instant change to the quality of your work (not just in your drawings but also your paintings!)

What drawing skills do I need already?

A basic understanding of the foundations of drawing, if you’re completely new to drawing I would recommend the ‘Absolute Beginners Drawing Course‘ which gives you a great overview to how drawing ‘works’.

If you can draw a reasonable outline of common forms, spheres, cubes etc. this course will help you to turn those flat shapes into realistic three-dimensional forms.

Downloadable High-Res Reference Images

Each drawing demonstration (9 in total) has high-res downloadable images for you to work along from.

Practical lessons, using ‘done for you’ reference images to break through overwhelm and get drawing, faster.

For the more complicated drawings there are extra progress images, showing you my drawings at each stage.

It’s simple. It’s thorough. And it’s easy-to-digest

You don’t need to watch all the lessons at once to get value.

The 2 hours are split into 7 downloadable video lessons and each lesson has different chapters to watch and demonstrations to follow. The practical step-by-step exercises, help you learn at your own pace.

Watching what you want, when you want, or dive in at the start to the finish! Both methods work and both will help improve your drawings.

This Light & Shadow drawing course is BRAND NEW – but here’s what my students are saying about the ‘Absolute Beginners Drawing Course’

“Will takes you from the rudimentary basics all the way through to more advanced techniques that will make your drawing and painting three dimensional NOT flat and one dimensional.” 

“The course was fantastic! Thanks so much for grabbing my enthusiasm to get on and do it!”

“Very practical and informative. Easy to follow and understand. Will was very calm and precise in his directions.”

“My attempts at fine art drawing tend to look too mechanical. This is the best presentation I have seen that breaks things down logically, doesn’t get too complicated, yet still offers methods to bring everything together to make it doable for someone just learning.”

“I have wanted to draw all my life. I tried about a year ago a black and white of my Grandmom. I pulled it out, looked at it and said WOW! I see the drawing so much differently now, thanks to this course! I am drawing again with much more confidence.”

“I needed to quickly develop my drawing skills and this course did exactly that. As a photography lecturer/teacher I already have an understanding of the aspects common to drawing and photography. These elements were represented in a fresh and engaging way which allowed me to quickly develop skills.

I can’t praise Will enough, Well done on a fantastic course. Clear, articulate, simplified the process without making it simplistic”

How is the Course Delivered?

  • 7  Downloadable  Step-by-Step Video Lessons – 2 hours of video instruction that once downloaded – you have anytime, anywhere access.
  • A Quick Start PDF guide – which includes your materials list.
  • A Your Drawing Downloads PDF guide – which includes all the reference images used throughout the course, alongside stages of my more detailed drawings.

When you purchase the course, you will receive an email with all the downloadable video links to the course.

You then have to download and save the Video Lessons onto your home computer. Once you have saved the files, you can watch them as many times as you like, whenever you like – forever!

The video files are quite large (1.5 GB in total) so you need a broadband internet connection and enough space on your computer hard drive.

Please note: You will not receive a DVD.

The Artists Eye

Having studied film and cinematography, I’ve tried to create a video course that will give you the best results, as if I’m in the studio with you.

High-Quality Full HD Video Recording

This course focuses on the drawing and was filmed in 1080 HD. Jam packed with over 7 practical demonstrations to give you the highest quality possible.

Recorded in pristine 24/96 kHz audio which has been digitally mastered using the latest audio software.

Edited by the artist

I filmed it, edited it, and coloured it myself (with a little help from Vanessa!) rather than working with a production company.

Artists have different needs than editors so I wanted to cut the course like an artist, showing you exactly what I wanted to see when I was learning.

Add to Cart

£29.99 GBP / $37 USD / 35 EURO / $50 CAD / $51 AUS
(exchange rates may vary slightly)

Technical Download Questions:

So how does it work?

After clicking ‘Add to Cart’ you will see a page with a ‘Check out with Paypal’ button


Click the ‘Check out with PayPal’ even if you don’t have a Paypal account.

Don’t have a Paypal Account?

In most countries, Paypal offers an option for you to pay using Paypal, without opening a Paypal account.
Here is a screenshot from UK Paypal.


Once you’ve paid, after a few seconds you’ll be redirected to a download page containing all the video links and Information (see image example below)


You will also be emailed your download link as a backup. You will also be emailed your download link as a backup.

If you ever update your computer or can’t track down the downloads just drop me an email and I’ll send through fresh links.

How big are the video files?

To download the course you ideally need a broadband connection as the video files are quite large (Total 1.5 GB)– you do not receive a DVD.

You then have to Download and Save the video tutorials onto your home computer.

This can take up to 20 minutes for each file depending on your internet speed.

(Please Note: If you want to watch the videos using an iPad, you need a free app called ‘Documents’ this will allow you to download and save the files – you can read more about Downloading to an iPad here)

Do you have a DVD version of the course available?


Do I need a special program to watch the videos on my computer?

No, the video files are MP4 ‘s and 95% of computers/laptops will have a media player on them.

If you have earlier software that doesn’t have a media player, you can download one for free.

Apple Quicktime

or VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player

To view the PDF files, you need Adobe Reader (also free to download)

How do I download the videos onto my Computer/iPad?


ejunkie2Download Page example

On a P.C

Hover the mouse over the orange ‘Click here’ link and ‘right-click’ your mouse. There will be an option that says ‘Save Link as’

Click this option and a box should come up saying where do you want to say the files (eg, desktop, whatever your files names are called) decide where to save them and then the file should start to download, it might take 10 minutes before it downloads fully (depending on internet speed.)

On a Mac

Click the orange  ‘Click here’ link.
It will give you the option to ‘Open with’ or ‘Save file’
You want to click ‘Save as’ and the file will download into your downloads.

Can I download the videos to my iPad?

Firstly, I would download the files onto a desktop or laptop if you have one, just so you have a copy of the files.

Then you have a couple of options, either to transfer via iTunes or to purchase an app on the iPad.

Use a separate app

If you have an iPad you can use a free app called ‘Documents’ to be able to download the video files onto your iPad.

Please note: Without the app, you won’t be able to download and save the videos directly to your iPad. here is a more in-depth tutorial on how to download the lessons to an iPad.

Transferring files via iTunes

If you have a Mac you can:
1. Download the files to your desktop (or find the ones you’ve already saved)
2. Plug in iPad to Mac
3. Open iTunes
4. Drag MP4′s (video files of the course) on the Mac into TV shows or Movies
5. To Play on iPad open the Videos App then look under TV shows or Movies
6. The MP4 video files from the course should play fine.
If you’re on a PC you can download iTunes here and go through the same process.

Can I download onto my Tablet?

Not directly – to download the videos onto your tablet you need to download them to your main computer first and that transfer to your tablet via USB. Here are the instructions from one of my students:

“Here is what I did to get the files onto my Android tablet from a PC.

1. From your link I downloaded the files to my Download folder on my PC. From there I moved them to my Video folder. (which is part of the Libraries folder on Windows 7)
2.I connected my tablet via USB cable to my PC
3.Using Windows Explorer, I copied the files from the PC Video folder, to a folder on my Acer Aconia tablet called Videos.
4. To view the course on my tablet. I click on the App called Multi- media and use the Acer media video app.’

Windows explorer is a graphical file manager in the Windows operating system that displays the contents of Libraries, folders and files. I do not know if this would affect the routine or not, but my tablet is 2 years old and for newer tablets there might be an easier routine.”

Can I download the video files and put them onto my own DVD or USB flash drive to watch on a DVD player/TV?

Yes, you can download the files onto a DVD or USB flash drive.

Downloading to a USB Flash Drive

USB-SAN-DISK-3.0You can download the files direct to a USB flash drive that will give you portability and extra storage.

Downloading to a DVD

Not all DVD players will playback Mp4 files.

There are a couple of options:

1. DVD playback on another computer:

If you burn the MP4 files onto a DVD and then play the DVD on another computer or laptop it should play without a problem if you have an up to date media player that supports MP4s.

(If you need an up to date media Player you can download one here: VLC media player (also free) VLC Media Player

2. DVD playback on a DVD player with a file Converter

It depends on if your DVD player supports MP4 video files.

Many DVD players will say MP4 on the front tray, for example ‘DVD/Audio CD/DivX/MP4/MP3/’

Some older DVD player do not support MP4 because MP4 is a format with different decodes.

If you have an older DVD player you will have to convert the files using free software.

The MP4 to DVD converter from is a good choice.