Drawing Tips the Duck Has Learned: Shading and Hands

A few months ago, the Duck returned to a largely abandoned hobby, drawing.  At this time, I also joined Deviant Art in order to share my attempts at artistry with the world.  Quite some time ago, I gave up on drawing after years spent trying in vain to progress my skills.  This time, I am far more serious, and it seems to be greatly to my benefit.

I think where I went wrong in the past was the assumption that practice made perfect.  With drawing, this is not true because, if you’re not drawing something correctly, practice will only get you so far.  Art requires lessons, tutorials, and studies of anatomy.  Of course, there is an endless source of such things both in print and online, but rather than drown in a sea of information, I have figured out a middle ground.  The best way to improve one’s drawing skills, at least, for me, is to pinpoint my areas of weakness and wipe them out.  Here is a quick summary of what I have learned these past few months.

Shading: I am not great at coloring, so the tutorial below helped me out a lot.  When I was adding shadow or highlights, I was simply using darker or lighter versions of a color.  So when I was shading something yellow, for example, I would use dark yellow as shading.  And let me tell you, dark yellow is a rather ugly, almost muddy sort of color.  From this video, I learned that my art can look much better if I get creative with colors.  For example, when coloring something green, you may want to use blue for the shadows and yellow for the highlights.  (The featured image for this post uses the tips I learned in this video.  Notice the orange shadows on Dr. Alphys’ skin?  Much better.)

Video from Youtube User: Saviroosje2

Hands: Lots of people find hands difficult, and the Duck is no exception.  While I completely forgot which video I used in order to improve my hand-doodling skills, there are a few tips I took away from it that has helped me out a lot.  One, leave space between the fingers; don’t cram them together.  Two, oftentimes, it looks better to draw the middle finger and ring finger together.  And three, let the pinky stray from the other fingers.  It’s a rebel like that.

As an illustration of how much I’ve improved, here is a picture of Dr. Alphys from Undertale that I drew towards the end of November 2017…

Y-you never said you w-were p-putting me on your blog, too….

And a picture of her taking a selfie whilst cosplaying as Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, which I drew mid-March of 2018 and which uses the lessons learned in the shading tutorial.

H-how’d you get this picture?…

Thanks to my current methods, along with simply studying how other people draw, I feel like I have seen a decent amount of improvement over a relatively short period of time.  I still have plenty of things I need to learn, such as eyes, hair, and lighting, but let’s just take this one step at a time, shall we?  And if you’re interested, feel free to visit Deviant Art for more of the Duck’s doodles.  Just a heads up, though, it’s almost all Undertale fan art right now….

11 thoughts on “Drawing Tips the Duck Has Learned: Shading and Hands

  1. I’ve found tutorials like these very helpful. For my cartoon hands I have kept it very very simple, just fingers without anatomical detail of holding, bending, grasping and such. No shading as simple two dimensional sketch, solid colors for shapes. In simple cartoon the art can be simple and the key is to illustrate the joke with an uncomplicated sketch. Your drawings are much more sophisticated than my style so learning and perfecting yours skills is more important for your genre than for mine and I imagine a degree of satisfaction in seeing one’s own improvement fosters increased production and enjoyment. . But mastering simple facial expressions and emotions was something I do study constantly. With just simple lines for eyes, nose, mouth set the mood for the cartoon, shape of eyebrows also important.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Facial expressions are definitely super important in any art style…one of the most important things, I think. For the longest time, I wasn’t looking at tutorials when I drew characters, and among a wide variety of problems with my drawings was the fact that their emotions never felt sincere. The simple act of learning facial expressions made my characters that much more life-like.


    1. Thanks! I’ve been really pleased to see how much my drawings have improved in a relatively short period of time. I’m already getting better at facial expressions, hands, and even just the simple shape of the face. And it’s all been thanks to practice, tutorials, and studying other people’s art styles.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks much, I really appreciate it!

      Years ago, I would practice for long spans of time and make no progress. Though, back then, I think I wasn’t very good at figuring out what I was doing wrong. I knew my drawings looked weird, but not why, so I didn’t get anywhere with them. I’m glad that’s not the case this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like it all. As someone who is completely talentless with visual art, I’m always impressed especially with hands. It’s one of the reasons many cartoon characters only have three fingers. It’s just much easier to cut out that one finger.


    1. Thanks much! Hands are pretty tough indeed, but those tips have helped to make them a bit easier. I still can’t do any complex hand poses, though. I guess I’ll just have to keep practicing…and practicing…and…

      Liked by 1 person

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