How To Shade With Crayons

Crayon shadings are very popular in art classes. You can use them on paper or canvas. There are many different ways to do this. Here I’ll show you my favorite way.

Crayon Shading

Credit: canva

Crayon shading is a great way to do it if you’re looking to add a little extra dimension to your drawings. You can transform your flat pictures into works of art with just a few supplies. So grab your materials, and let’s get started!


The great thing about crayons is that they’re very versatile and can be used on various surfaces. However, when it comes to shading, you’ll get the best results on smooth, non-porous surfaces such as Bristol board or illustration paper.

When it comes to shade with crayons, the type of material you use will depend on the effect you’re going for.

  • Use a blending stump or cotton swab to smudge the color for a softer look.
  • If you want sharper lines, use a fine-tipped marker or pen instead.


Credit: canva
  1. A good quality set of crayons. Cheap crayons often have a wax that’s not as smooth, making it difficult to get a soft shading effect. There are a few essential tools you’ll need to shade with crayons:
  2. A blending stump or tortillon. This is a thin, paper-covered wad of cotton that you can use to blend your colors.
  3. A piece of paper towel or tissue paper. This will help you remove excess wax from your crayons and keep them from getting too messy.

How to Shade with Crayons

Steps to Creating a Shadable Painting

  1. Choose your colors. You’ll need a light color, a dark color, and two shades each.
  2. Draw your subject on canvas using the lightest color.
  3. Mix the darkest color with enough white paint to make it light enough to shade your subject without making it too soft. Use this color to fill in the areas of your subject in shadow.
  4. Mix one of the shades of each color with white paint to make them lighter and use these colors to fill in the areas that are not in direct sunlight.
  5. Add details and highlights with the lightest color. Allow your painting time to dry completely before framing or displaying.

Colors for Shadings

Credit: canva

Although black is not technically a color, you can use it for shading in crayon drawings.

In general, darker colors are better suited for shading than lighter colors. Some good choices for dark shades include brown, navy blue, and forest green.

Bright colors are great for adding life and cheer to any project. Earth tones are perfect for a more subtle, natural look.

When choosing crayons for shading, it’s essential to consider the image’s color palette you’re working on.

A general rule of thumb is to use lighter shades to create highlights and darker shades to create shadows.

However, it’s always best to experiment with different colors and combinations to see what looks best.

Color theory is a complex topic, but here are a few essential tips:

  • Blues and purples typically make objects appear more relaxed, while yellows and oranges make them appear warmer; reds and greens are complementary colors.
  • You can use them to create visual contrast, and light colors tend to recede while dark colors seem to come forward.
Best shading crayon painting

What Color Goes Best with Each Other?

There are a few different ways to find the right colors to use for shading with crayons.

You can experiment by trying out different color combinations yourself or consult with a color expert.

  • Opposite colors: If you’re going to experiment on your own, a good rule of thumb is choosing colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, if you’re using a yellow crayon for your lightest shade, you could use a purple crayon for your darkest shade. This will create a nice contrast and make your shades pop. 
  • Similar colors: Another approach is to choose colors that are similar in hue but have different saturation levels. So, for example, you could use light pink and dark purple to create gentle shadings.

As mentioned earlier, it’s always best to experiment with different colors and combinations to see what looks best.

Medium You Should Use

There are a few things to consider when choosing a medium for crayon shading.

  • The type of paper you’re using is essential, as different pieces will absorb color differently. A thicker paper is better for wet media, while a thinner paper is ideal for dry media.
  • The type of crayons you’re using is also worth considering. Oil-based crayons are great for creating rich, deep colors, while wax-based crayons are better suited for detailed work. Whichever crayon type you choose, be sure to use a high-quality brand like Crayola or Prismacolor.
  • Finally, it’s always helpful to have a variety of pencils on hand to create different types of shading. A fine-tipped pencil is excellent for detailed work, while you can use a thicker pencil to fill in larger areas.

Experiment with different mediums and see what works best for you. There’s no wrong way to shade with crayons, so have fun and see what you can create!

Paper Size You Should Use

The size of paper you use for crayon shadings will depend on your personal preference and the overall effect you are trying to achieve.

However, generally speaking, using a smaller piece of paper will give you more control over the shading process and allow you to produce more detailed and precise results.

So, if you are new to crayon shading or are looking for precision, it is advisable to start with a smaller piece of paper.

Once you become more comfortable with the technique, you can experiment with larger pieces of paper to see their effect on your shading.


Shading with crayons can be a lot of fun, and the results can be awe-inspiring.

By experimenting with different color combinations and mediums, you can create a wide range of shading effects that add depth and dimension to your drawings.

So get creative and have some fun with it!

Related Topics

What Pencils are Best for Sketching?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question – it depends on your individual preferences and what type of pencils you have access to.

However, some general tips might be helpful. For example:

  • If you’re looking for a pencil that will produce darker lines, choose one with a softer lead (like a 3B or 4B pencil).
  • If you want a lighter touch, go for a harder lead (like a 2H or HB).
  • And if you’re not sure what kind of lead to get, start with something in the middle like a 2B or HB.

What are Shading Pencils?

Shading pencils are a type of pencil that is specifically designed for doing shading and blended effects. They have a soft lead that gives them a rich, velvety texture that is perfect for creating smooth gradients and subtle shading effects.

Can You Use Hairspray as Fixative?

While hairspray can work as a fixative, it’s not the best option. A better choice would be an oil-based product, like hair serum or pomade.

Hairspray is a water-based product, and it can actually dry out your hair over time. It can also cause buildup on your scalp and lead to scalp odor.

Can You Use Hairspray to Seal Pencil Drawings?

Hairspray can actually be used as a fixative for pencil drawings! It’s great for protecting your work from smudging.

What Can I Use Instead of a Blending Stump?

The cotton swab is a suitable alternative to the blending stump. It is slightly abrasive, which allows it to quickly blend colors. Moreover, cotton swabs are softer than paper towels and will not scratch your drawing paper.

Which Are Better Crayons Or Colored Pencils?

Crayons are better than colored pencils because they’re more vibrant and fun. With crayons, the colors are a lot more intense and you can get really creative with them. With colored pencils, the colors are a bit more muted and dull.

What Paper Does Professional Artists Use?

Many professional artists use Canson Artist Series paper. This is a high quality, acid free paper that is available in various weights and textures. It’s ideal for drawing, sketching, and mixed media work.

Other popular papers for professional artists include Strathmore 400 Series and Arches Watercolor Paper. Both of these papers are also acid free and come in a variety of weights and textures. They are perfect for both traditional media (like acrylics and oils) and watercolors.

How Do You Make Crayon Art?

Crayon art is a lot of fun, and it’s actually quite easy to do! All you need are some crayons and a piece of paper.

First, decide what kind of design you want to create. You can start by drawing a simple picture or pattern, or you can go for something more complicated.

Once you have your design in mind, start coloring in with your chosen crayons. Be creative and have fun with it!

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