Beautifully shaded drawings and a fun, flowing shading process is within your reach!

Imagine eagerly looking forward to the shading stage of your drawing.

Feeling calm, focused and meditative, you intuitively reach for the ideal pencil grade to use. You enjoy the ease and flow with which your pencil glides across the page, creating the subtle tones and value shifts that you intend.

You know how to observe and analyze your subject in the ways needed for believable shading, and how to smooth out uneven values.

Your drawing comes alive before your very eyes.

You can almost reach right into your paper and pick up the seemingly-3D object that you’ve drawn.

This is the shading experience you can have.
I created Introduction to Smooth Shading in Graphite to get you there.

In this 5-module video course, we isolate the components needed for smooth shading, and practice each one using targeted exercises.
Gain the technical skills, knowledge, and modes of seeing needed to shade your drawings believably and enjoyably!

In Intro to Smooth Shading in Graphite, you will:

  • gain dexterity and control of your pencil, so that you can shade subtle, realistic values

  • learn and practice smooth shading techniques
  • learn to draw smooth, even gradations and value scales

  • learn what causes 'scratchy,' uneven values and how to fix them (below!)

Learn to smooth out scratchy, uneven values!

  • learn how to analyze, simplify and organize values to create more convincing illusions

  • learn to create depth and dimension in your drawings

Discover new blending tools and how to use them effectively!

  • get to know your graphite pencils so that you can intuitively reach for the ideal one for your drawing scenario

  • discover new blending tools: their characteristics, misconceptions, and best practices for using them
  • discover the elements of light and shadow on form

  • discover the keys to realistic shading!

Who You'll Be Learning From

Hi there! My name is Marina Fridman.

I'm a professional visual artist, arts educator,
and author of 
The Drawing Source.

In my creative practice these days, I create 'drawing installations': large-scale drawings that transform a space, such as the one below. (Yes, entirely hand-drawn using charcoal on white paper!)

Seeing the above, it may surprise you to learn that I was not born with smooth shading skills!

When I was learning to draw, realistic shading was the ability I most coveted.

It also seemed like the most unknowable and impossible area of drawing!

If smooth, believable shading seems like sorcery to you – you're not alone. It’s often perceived to be a magical ability that you're either born with or not.


Smooth, realistic shading is an entirely learnable skill.

If we compare my early and later portrait drawings (pictured below), it may seem as though there is a tremendous leap in skill level between them.

However, all that was needed to make that drastic improvement was to learn and practice key shading concepts, the necessary modes of seeing and technical skills (the three pillars!). This quickly propelled my drawings to the next level.

I had to learn the skill of realistic shading, and you can, too.

Let's get started!