Illustration Tutorial: Shading Techniques with Ink

Discover Fito Espinosa’s tips for shading your illustrations with ink to give them a professional edge

When it comes to inking your drawings, shading is one of the most complicated techniques to get right. With acrylics, watercolors, or other painting and drawing materials, we use different tones to capture the shadows created when light hits an object. However, when using ink, we’re only working with one tone and we can't make it lighter or darker.

In this blogpost, painter, illustrator, and visual artist Fito Espinosa (@fitoespinosa) teaches us different shading techniques using either black or color ink. You can watch the tutorial below:


For this type of inking, we’re going to use a black or color felt-tip or fineliner pen. This is the easiest option, as the ink is ready to use and so all we need to do is remove the pen lid and get to work.

However, if we prefer, we also have the option to use a fountain pen and fill it with India ink. What’s interesting about this method is that even though we refill the pen over and over again, the ink is always the same black shade.

To practice shading, we will draw some cylindrical shapes. Then, we will choose a point where the light will come from, and based on its position, we will work out where to add shadows to our shape.

Once we have everything ready, we can start experimenting.


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