An exercise that's guaranteed to improve your shading and blending skills. As Mike draws, he comprehensively covers the drawing of the Lily, explains how to approach every drawing, and demonstrates the necessity of using tapered lines. Mike uses his tissue-protected finger for the final blending, and a tortillon and colour-shaper.


researching your subject and setting goals for your pencil drawing

Questions to ask

The types of questions you need to ask yourself about the subject before you begin drawing. They'll help you understand the subject, create goals, and fix it firmly in your mind as a real object - it's not "just a drawing".
The best ways to draw your guidelines before shading and blending your pencil drawing

Drawing your guidelines

The best pencil grade for drawing your initial outline - your guidelines - and how to best use the guidelines during the drawing.
Find the lighting direction and draw a reminder arrow

A lighting direction reminder

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not knowing the direction of light. Without it, you cannot correctly light the subject or form its highlights and shadows. Mike suggests a solution and constant reminder.
Establishing the darkest value in the drawing as reference

Establish the darkest value

Cut out the guesswork and fix your value references early. Establish the darkest value so you have a reference for both the darkest and lightest. Every other value in your drawing has to fall between those two.
Using hard grades over soft to smooth the result of your pencil shading

Using hard grades over soft

Learn the benefits of using hard grades over soft to smooth the overall result. While drawing the petals, Mike layers 2B, HB and 2H to provide the darker value and then smooth the shading. A Lily's petals are never grainy!
Using cast shadows and value changes to define edges in a graphite pencil drawing

Edges and value changes

In real life we see and understand edges because of value changes - never outline! Mike uses cast shadows and changes in value to visually divide the petals of the Lily.
Mike's three preferred blending tools and their uses in pencil drawing

Three blending tools

Mike introduces you to his three favourite blending tools - his finger, a tortillon and a colour-shaper. He uses all three as he carefully blends the petals of the Lily, and explains how and why each is being used.
Completing the pencil drawing of the lily and adding extra contrast

Completing the drawing

Mike completes the lily by drawing the anthers. He deliberately adds contrast and sharpness to make the stamens and anthers stand out, and they in turn soften the appearance of the petals.
General advice on blending a pencil drawing and the errors to avoid

General blending advice

Mike offers advice on blending and discusses the errors to avoid. Don't fall into the trap of thinking blending is easy, that it will cover up faults, or is a time-saver. Its none of those, as Mike explains.

Watch the 2-minute PREVIEW:

Shade & Blend a Lily
Duration :
9½ mins
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This is the most in-depth explanation and demo I've ever seen.
I not only learned loads from this video, but it was just plain fun as well.

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