Weekend Art Challenge – Shades of Pencil: Exploring Depth and Texture

Welcome to the “Shades of Pencil” weekend art challenge! In this challenge, you have the opportunity to express your artistic skills using only pencils and exploring shading, depth, and texture. Your task is to create a drawing on any subject of your choice, utilising the three primary grades of pencils: HB, 3B, and 6B. (if you don’t have these three grades, similar ones either side will do!) The challenge lies in your ability to convey a wide range of tones, achieve contrasting values, and experiment with various textures using these three pencil grades.


  1. Select any subject that intrigues you, whether it’s a still life, portrait, landscape, or something entirely imaginative. Let your creativity guide your choice!
  2. Use the designated pencil grades – HB, 3B, and 6B – throughout your artwork. Feel free to mix and layer these pencils to achieve a wider range of values and tones.
  3. Focus on capturing the depth and dimension of your subject through shading. Experiment with different pressure levels and techniques to create light, medium, and dark tones.
  4. Challenge yourself to depict a variety of textures using only pencils – try not to smudge or burnish your work, let the pencils work for you. Explore the intricate details of surfaces such as smooth, rough, furry, or shiny. Use cross-hatching, stippling, or other shading techniques to create visually compelling textures.
  5. While the primary focus is on shading and texture, don’t forget about the overall composition of your artwork. Consider the placement, balance, and arrangement of elements within the frame to create a visually pleasing and engaging piece.

Remember, this challenge is an opportunity for you to push your creative boundaries, refine your pencil drawing skills, and delve into the captivating world of shading and texture. Have fun exploring the endless possibilities of these three pencil grades, best of luck and enjoy!

The idea of these challenges is to help students improve their skills by drawing, painting and creating regularly.

So try to submit work that you have created specifically for the challenge – or course work you are currently creating for your art course. Sometimes our challenge themes cross over with what students are learning. Our challenges are great practive for your coursework too!

Remember to submit your artwork to us via email if you would like it posted on our blog next week.

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