Empower Your Journey Learning to Draw in 5 Simple Steps.

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Welcome to this art lesson! If you’re new to the world of drawing and want to learn how to create realistic and impressive artwork, you’re in the right place. In this lesson, we’re going to explore the “Chicken or the Egg” drawing technique. This approach will help you build essential skills that can be applied to various subjects, no matter your level of experience. So, let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Prepare your art materials

Art materials for the shading lesson of chicken or the egg drawing

Start by gathering toothed drawing paper, which adds texture to your drawings, enhancing their visual depth. Alongside, select pencils in various grades, each possessing its unique characteristics, from the delicate lines of H pencils to the bold contrasts of B pencils. Additionally, include precision erasers to refine your work and reference images of chickens and eggs, serving as blueprints for your artistic vision.

Navigating through pencil grades and selecting appropriate reference images can present initial challenges, particularly for beginners. Understanding the nuances of pencil grades, such as H and B, may be perplexing at first, while choosing the right reference image from a collection can be overwhelming. But worry not, for I have a stash of reference images you can choose from here.

Art teachers can facilitate this process by breaking down the purpose of each tool and offering practical tips for selecting suitable reference images. For students, engaging in pencil exploration by experimenting with different grades and conducting thorough reference studies are valuable strategies for overcoming initial hurdles.

Step 2: Gently sketch the outline of your subject

Learning to Draw in 5 Easy Steps

Start by delicately sketching the outline of your subject using the lightest touch of your pencil – soft, subtle, and barely visible. This initial sketch serves as the foundation upon which your artwork will unfold.

You have two techniques at your disposal for defining the shapes and proportions of your subject: the contour line method and the X grid approach. The contour line technique involves tracing the outer edges of your subject, resembling its silhouette, while the X grid method divides your reference image and drawing paper into sections with light lines, aiding in accurate proportion transfer. After capturing the basic shapes, gently erase these initial lines, akin to sweeping away the footprints of your creative process, leaving behind the essence of your subject.

Bonus Tip

To maintain the neatness of your drawing, consider using a kneaded eraser. It’s like a magical eraser that lifts away excess graphite without damaging your paper. A gentle dab with this eraser will help keep your drawing looking pristine.

Step 3: Apply different shades to create shadows and highlights

learning to draw in 5 steps

In this step, you’ll focus on adding depth and dimension to your drawing by applying different shades of graphite to create shadows and highlights. Start by lightly shading the areas where shadows fall, using a gentle touch with your pencil. Think of these initial strokes as the base layer upon which you’ll build darker shades.

As you progress, gradually increase the pressure on your pencil to darken the shadows and add depth to your drawing. Use short, controlled strokes to layer the graphite, gradually building up the intensity of the shadows. Be mindful of the direction of light in your reference image to ensure consistency in your shading.

Throughout this process, maintain a balance between light and dark areas to create a sense of realism. Pay close attention to the transitions between light and shadow, using gradual blending techniques to achieve smooth transitions. Continuously compare your drawing to the reference image to ensure accuracy and adjust as needed.

A common challenge is controlling the pressure of your pencil strokes to avoid creating unintentionally dark patches. Practice using varying degrees of pressure to achieve different shades of graphite and experiment with different blending techniques to create smooth transitions between light and shadow.

Step 4: Add the intricate details of your subject

Learn to Draw

In this step, you’ll shift your focus to adding intricate details to your drawing, enhancing its realism and depth. Begin by closely observing your subject, paying attention to every edge, highlight, and shadow. These details are like the fine threads that weave together to create a vivid tapestry of your artwork.

As you add details, remember the importance of accurately defining edges, highlights, and shadows. Edges delineate the forms, highlights add sparkle, and shadows bring depth to your drawing. Utilize the layers of values you’ve built to enhance the realism of your artwork, creating depth and dimension akin to layers of paint in a vibrant painting.

A common challenge is accurately defining edges, especially for beginners, which can result in forms lacking clarity. To overcome this challenge, explore different perspectives by turning your paper upside down or sideways, allowing you to identify inaccuracies and better capture complex shapes. Additionally, delve deeply into your reference images, studying how light interacts with surfaces to inform your detailing process.

Step 5: Building Layers

Learning to Draw in 5 Steps

In this step, you’ll refine your artwork by adding additional layers of shading to enhance its depth and realism. Begin by carefully observing your subject, paying close attention to the details such as edges, highlights, and shadows. Then, using your pencil, continue to layer values onto your drawing, gradually building up darker shades where needed. This process is similar to adding layers of paint to a canvas, with each layer contributing to the overall richness and depth of the artwork.

It’s important to exercise patience during this step, as achieving the desired level of realism takes time and precision. Avoid rushing the process and focus on gradually building up the values to create a smooth and cohesive appearance. Take breaks if needed to rest your eyes and prevent fatigue, allowing you to maintain focus and attention to detail throughout the process.

One common challenge during this step is the temptation to rush through the layering process, which can result in uneven shading and a lack of depth in the final drawing. To overcome this challenge, take your time and work methodically, ensuring that each layer is applied with care and attention to detail. Additionally, periodically step back from your drawing to assess your progress and identify areas that may require further refinement.


Lesson inclusions of the chicken or the egg shading art lesson


You can find this complete “Drawing and Shading Chicken or the Egg Art Lesson” with reference images, slideshow, video demonstrations, practice worksheets, handouts, rubrics and more in my resource shop!


What’s included in this drawing and shading art project?  In this complete resource you get:

✅ 20 Gridded and Non-Gridded Reference Images of Chicken or Egg

✅ Comprehensive Rubric

✅ 26 Slide Editable Canva Slideshow

✅ Lesson Handout with QR Code

✅ Practice Worksheets

✅ Two Video Demonstrations for Students

✅ Teacher Instructions

Chicken or Egg Value Drawing and Shading for Middle School or High School Art


Ready to continue your creative adventure? 🎨



Looking for more drawing and shading art activities?

Value Drawing and Shading Project for Middle School or High School Art (Drapery)
Beginner Drawing and Shading in Graphite Bundle


Investing in your artistic journey is an investment in yourself. This lesson is designed to empower you with knowledge, boost your confidence, and enhance your creative expression.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to refine your skills and create captivating artworks that stand out. Hop on this artistic adventure today!

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