To Shade or Not to Shade?


Tangle art is fun and easy. It really is. Anyone can draw the patterns. If you can draw the shapes I, C, S and O you can tangle. And once you have completed the drawing portion of your art you need to decide whether or not to add shading to your piece. My overseas friends call it adding shadows. The reason we shade is to add depth and dimension to our art. To bring it to life. Here, let me show you.

I began with an 8″ x 12″ sheet of Pen and Ink Drawing Paper from Hahnemühle. Of course I started this piece of art by drawing random patches of printemps. From there I morphed out in to a sea full of nebula. I worked on this off and on for several days. Trying to get my mojo back. It looked just fine as it was. But I knew that adding shading – or shadows – would make this piece of flat art (cause that is what it is) really come to life. So I added shading.

Sometimes I go really dramatic and shade heavy. For this piece I just did my routine shading intensity. I do love the movement in this piece of art. I believe with the tangle nebula – shading actually adds movement to each little nebula. By shading the middle part around the beginning printemps it makes it look like the nebula is undulating. Isn’t that what jelly fish do? Let me go google a definition for that word. Hahahaha! Yep! That is the right word. Undulating. The motion of up and down. That’s what these nebula do when they are shaded. They didn’t do that when they were flat.

I stacked them together in photoshop so you could compare. To shade or not to shade? It is totally up to you, but I tend to believe we need to shade. Even if we dislike it enormously. Like I do. Hahahaha! But I do it anyway.

So, this morning I got my last shingles vaccination. Yep, cost me a small fortune but it’s done. Greatly relieved to have that taken care of. Then Mark and I took the trailer up to Tractor Supply and bought a ton of pellets. Literally 2000 pounds of pellets in 40 pound bags. We burn them in our fireplace instead of chopping wood. Winter will be here soon and last year winter lasted for-stinking-ever and we had trouble finding pellets late in the season. So we bought a ton this morning. And then we brought them all into the basement one bag at a time. Me doing most of them because Mark just got a new hip and shouldn’t be doing this. Can I just say I am soooooooo tired now. Sleep time may come early tonight. Talk with you tomorrow.

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12 thoughts on “To Shade or Not to Shade?

  1. I don’t like to shade either but I am learning. It does make such a difference!

    Pellets are awesome! We use them in Wyoming. I would really like to move there but it is so darn cold! It’s a toss up between mountains and flip flops! Hahaha!

  2. I love seeing your designs! It does make a difference when you shade. It makes them come alive!
    Hope your all stocked up for the winter and it is not quite as long as last year. It seemed it just ended.

    • it does seem like it just ended. we hear it’s going to be a bad winter – not sure what that means in comparison to last year.

  3. Great write-up! I think I’m one of the few people who loves to shade. It’s my favorite part of a drawing. I tend to shade as I go though, so it influences how I continue with the work. Don’t overdo! The last thing you need is to strain something!

  4. Do be careful with yourself – you don’t want to strain or damage something. Good you’ve got the pellets sorted for the winter, but hope they’re dry in the basement & you don’t get torrential rain like we do here in the autumn. Love this post & the piece of artwork especially – I too find shading hard work but am determined to learn how to without dreading it.

    • we will both just keep working on the shading. one day it will come as natural as tangling. at least that’s what I hear. hahaha!

  5. What a great post, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I dearly love your tangle the patterns you used work so well together, I want to practice printemps now the way you do them. I admire your fitness to be able to do such hard work, Take care of yourself though, I can attest to what a new injury can alter your life.

    • I surprised myself moving those pellets – I didn’t think I’d be able to move afterwards but I had sore muscles at all. weird.

  6. Wonderful post. Shading is something that intimidates so many people. I know I had ‘the fear’ when I first started tangling – but the difference it makes to any piece is huge! And I love the shading stage now.

    Thanks also for bringing your Nebula tangle to my attention – I’ve just played with it for the first time and love it. Especially with a hole in the middle!

    • yes, nebula is fun! I have had it here on the website for awhile and it is in the new book. it is flexible and never looks like a hot mess. hahahaha!

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