How to Shade a Drawing of a Man

Well kiddies, it’s that time again. Time to do some more art! This time we’re going to look at shading a drawing of a man.

The art world has put a lot of attention on female models and heroines in my opinion. I don’t think men get the same attention – could be that the majority of artists are men and they are more prone to draw women than men? Who can blame them?

I, myself, LOVE drawing/painting women but I still make time to do or add a man in a painting. It may take me more time to do a guy in a painting because of the lack of motivation, but I have to diversify. With that being said, let’s hop on it!

Defining the Contour Outline of a Man

OK, so the first thing we’re doing here is beginning with a contour outline. Not much to say here except please keep in mind that if you’re going to draw men, we all have a much more “square” jaw than women. Women and their bodies tend to have “round” figures and men have square, chiseled figures. It’s not too obvious but it’s something to keep in mind when drawing the different sexes. The shapes can be mostly seen in the bodies and face (again they’re very subtle; nothing big).


How to Shade the Eyes

OK, so the first facial body part I’m going to tackle is the eyes. I ALWAYS start with the eyes with any model, drawing, or painting. There’s something magical when doing the eyes. When I’m usually done with the eyes, it sets the mood for the drawing/painting. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. I say, the eyes are the beginning of a drawing/painting.

When working on the eyes, it’s best to add some darker line to the outside of the eyes just to establish the sketch. You then want to draw in the iris. You also want to draw in the pupil some but keep in mind we have to add a little feature to the eye before we start shading it in. Draw in a circle or a square where the pupil and iris meet. This will be your eye highlight. Basically make sure that it’s a little bit in both the iris and pupil. You then color in the iris using a 6B or darker pencil and then use a tortillion to color in the iris.


When this is done, please do not forget to use the tortillion to add some shade to the upper regions of the eyeball to illustrate some shading coming from the upper eyelid. You can then pencil in the eyelid crease and eyebrows at this point. Sometimes I do or I wait until I start directly on the face itself. Same thing goes with the shading on the eyeball itself.

How to Shade the Mouth

Working on the mouth is fairly simple. Just like the eye, darken the outline just a little bit and then start working on the lips.

When working on men’s lips, I have a different approach. When it’s a woman I’m working on, I tend to work directly on her lower lip to illustrate fullness and color. With men, I usually don’t work directly on their lip. Instead I work on the little bit of shadow that the lower lip portrays followed by some line for the lower lip.


The upper lip is shaded fully. Again I use a tortillion to color in some graphite. You can use a pencil as well and I’m thinking you may need to use a 2B to 3H pencil. The upper lip is always portrayed darker than the lower lip.

If the portrait happens to illustrate some teeth, make sure you use broken, faded lines to show the teeth and add just a little bit of shade to them. Near the corners of the mouth, the color needs to fade some into a darker contrast but not that much. Also, any showing of the inside of the mouth should be dark.

How to Shade the Hair

Fun part! That’s right people, it’s hair time! The first part of doing the hair is to shade it in using a 3H pencil. You then take a tortillion or non-lotion tissue and blend it into the paper, keeping in mind to stay within the lines.



The next part is to add darker tone to the hair. Here you just use a darker pencil (6B or darker) to add dark tone features. There’s no need to color it. We will blend the dark tone into the hair soon enough. Just focus on putting dark tone in areas where the hair illustrates it.



When the dark tone is properly placed in the spots that are acceptable, blend it. Please note when blending hair, you need to blend as if you are almost drawing. You need to blend in the direction of the strokes to make the portrait look more realistic and believable. I would say using a tortillion is the best tool for this particular job. It’s more accurate and more controllable.


Shading the Rest of the Drawing

I then work on the nose followed by the face. I first smudge the nose lines where the original sketch line was followed with some smudging directly on the nose area.



I then add pencil strokes around the face area and then go back and smudge with a tissue.



I continue this process for the whole body…



The last thing I work on is the ax. I didn’t put in a lot of effort on this because this lesson focuses on how to draw the guy, not the axe.


Now that the drawing is done, I hope everyone could get something out of this. Until the next lesson!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *