This is my second submission for the Artist Training Grounds’ week 29 theme: draw a guide on how to draw ponies. Because I received some strong hints that I should show off my methods for shading, I decided to do a second guide (this was, again, a little difficult, because my methods tend to be fairly chaotic). And I’m using Twilight against because she is awesome pony.
The first thing I do after a sketch is done is take my 2B and darken the lines (see upper left, but ignore the numbers for now). I will generally lay off a bit on the hair, especially where the streaks are concerned (or colour transitions in Dashie’s case).
For shading and texturing itself, I tend to do whole regions at a time and generally follow ye olde back to front, left to right methodology. The following numbered list is roughly how I’d shade this portrait:
2) Eye (white, then iris, then pupil)
Now for texturing and shading, I typically follow a two step process: texturing lightly and then shading to dark the textures as needed. There’s 3 different ways I shade, which I’ll detail below.
COAT (I & II)
Drawing ponies to be 3D can be a little difficult, especially given how different their forms are from real equines and the show style only half lending itself to giving them depth. When I’m texturing (I), I’ll try to feel out the contours by doing short, tight strokes that usually start at the outline. The furry texture pretty much comes naturally from mapping things out. Once that’s all worked out, I’ll darken the more shadowy areas (II). Almost all my shading these days is done with my HB. I’ll usually use my 2B to darken a few key spots, though.
HAIR (A & B)
This tends to be less directionally complex than the coat. I use longer strokes here. If my pencil has started blunting by this point, I sharpen it, because the texture requires a fairly fine point. I usually let myself get a little bit messy every few strokes as some unevenness makes the hair look more natural. For differences in colour (Twi, Dashie, and Rarity to an extent), I’ll make use of the full range of my HB and 2B. For example, with Twi, I stroke very lightly with the HB for her pink, heavily for the purple and then swap to the 2B for the dark blue-purple of the rest of her mane. Once that’s all worked out, step (B) is just darkening again.
HORN (i & ii)
This is actually the same texture I use for most hard surface props whenever I do partial or full scenery. For this, I don’t really lift my pencil off the paper except to change angles or when I’m trying to get really light strokes. I’ll basically blend as much as possible while trying to also do a smooth transition between the highlighted spot and the darkest. Step (ii) is again to darken things up.
And that’s about it. Most of my secrets are in the open now.