How To Shade in Adobe Fresco

Shading is a crucial part of creating realistic and well-defined artwork. It adds depth, dimension, and visual interest to your illustrations. Adobe Fresco is a powerful digital painting app that offers a wide range of tools for shading, making it a great choice for artists of all levels.

Getting Started

Before you begin shading, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the basic concepts of light and shadow. Once you understand how light interacts with objects, you can start to create realistic and believable shading effects.

Types of Shading

There are two main types of shading: cast shadows and form shadows. Cast shadows are created when an object blocks light from reaching another object. Form shadows are created by the way light interacts with the shape of an object.

Creating Cast Shadows

To create cast shadows, you’ll need to identify the light source in your scene. Once you know where the light is coming from, you can trace the path of the light and draw the shadow accordingly. Cast shadows should be darker than the object casting them, and they should fade away as they move further away from the object.

Creating Form Shadows

To create form shadows, you’ll need to use a variety of brush strokes to create the illusion of depth and dimension. You can use lighter and darker shades of the same color to create a gradient, or you can use different colors altogether. The goal is to create a shadow that looks natural and believable.

Tools for Shading in Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco offers a wide range of tools for shading, including:

  • Brushes: There are a variety of brushes available in Fresco, each with its own unique characteristics. Some good brushes for shading include the pencil, charcoal, and oil brushes.
  • Layers: Fresco uses a layer-based workflow, which means that you can create multiple layers of shading and edit them individually. This is a great way to keep your shading organized and to make changes without affecting other parts of your artwork.
  • Adjustment layers: Adjustment layers allow you to adjust the brightness, contrast, and color of your artwork non-destructively. This is a great way to refine your shading and make sure that it looks its best.

Tips for Shading in Adobe Fresco

Here are a few tips for shading in Adobe Fresco:

  • Start with light strokes: Don’t be afraid to use light strokes when you’re first starting to shade. It’s easier to add more darkness than to take it away.
  • Build up your shadows slowly: Don’t try to create a perfect shadow all at once. Instead, build up your shadows gradually by adding more darkness until you’re happy with the result.
  • Use the right brush: The brush you choose will affect the look of your shadow. For example, a pencil brush will create a more subtle shadow than a charcoal brush.
  • Experiment with different blending techniques: There are a variety of blending techniques that you can use to create smooth transitions between shades. Some good techniques for blending include smudging, using the eraser, and using adjustment layers.


Shading is a essential skill for digital artists. With a little practice, you can learn to create realistic and believable shading effects in Adobe Fresco.