Shade the Pumpkin’s Stem
Still using the HB pencil, let’s now start shading the stem. Lightly shade along the surface of the stem. Make your pencil strokes curve in the same direction as the curve of the stem. Shading along and in between the various cracks and grooves will add depth to the stem’s texture. Also, be aware of where you place highlights and shadows. While this pumpkin is outdoors and receiving light from different directions, the strongest light source is coming from the upper left. Therefore, we should leave more highlights along the left side and place darker shadow tones on the right and underside.
On that note, now is a good time to switch from an HB to a 4B pencil. We can use this pencil to really accent some of those shadow areas on the underside of the stem. Use the tip of the pencil to shade between the grooves. This will create some nice, deep ridges in the stem’s surface.
Continue to develop the texture of the stem with the 4B pencil. Add a few thinner marks in the upper highlighted area of the stem, but don’t overdo this area and start dominating the lighter values. Add some darker shading to the hole at the tip of the stem.
Put some darker shading along the edge of the thick border at the tip of the pumpkin’s stem. This darker shading will help to highlight the lighter value of the border and make it stand out. Shade the smaller holes in the border that surround the big hole in the center.
Now we are going to make the outer edge of the stem look a little bumpier to match the texture of the surface. Use a kneaded eraser to erase the outline of the edge. Then lightly redraw this line with a few bumps. Sketch a few light lines just under this new bumpier edge for some added texture. Erase any stray marks.
Shade the First Section
Next, let’s start to shade the skin of the pumpkin. Before doing so, let’s plan placement of some values. Remember that the strongest light source is coming from the upper left. Lightly sketch the outline of a highlight on the upper part of this first left section. Then sketch the outline of a shadow along the rib.
Sketch a few more guidelines to indicate highlights and shadows next to a few more ribs on this left side of the pumpkin. Sketching these guidelines will help us to identify where changes in value are necessary. It will help us to better plan where to place lighter tones and darker tones. It’s okay if you miss some areas here and there. It’s just a good practice to implement to help guide you through the shading process.
With an HB pencil, lightly shade some midtone values in this first section of the pumpkin’s skin. Shade around the white area in the upper left that was identified as a highlight. I’m also going to take a kneaded eraser to soften this edge a bit. This is because I’d rather not have such a harsh border for this outline. I’d rather have this edge be a little closer in value to the tones I am using for the skin.
Use a 4B pencil to shade along the rib. Using the guidelines for value changes from a few minutes ago will help to make sure you don’t put too much shadow in the midtone or highlighted areas. Your pencil marks can be sharper along the rib and looser as you blend the 4B graphite into the HB midtone areas. You can switch back to the HB as necessary to add additional layers or smooth out any patches.
Shade the Second Section
Use an HB pencil to shade the second section. Use a light touch while you shade to achieve a value similar to how the skin was shaded in the first section. Again, make sure to shade around the highlights in order to preserve them. Also, remember that the ribs of the pumpkin pull the skin toward the pumpkin’s center. So that means each rib is like a vertical groove in the pumpkin’s shell. In order to create the appearance of these grooves, we can use a combination of dark and light values. We already have the dark shadow of this rib on the previous section. By leaving a thin strip of reflected light along the edge of the rib in the section we are shading right now, it makes it look like there is an actual dip in the surface of the shell along the rib.
Sticking with the same section, use a 4B pencil to shade along the rib. Like before, make sharper marks with your pencil along the rib and gradually lessen the pressure as you blend into the midtones. However, with this particular section, don’t use sharp pressure with your pencil all the way down the rib. Just do so near the top. The reason for this is the reference photo shows us that this rib is deeper near the top and gets more shallow along the wider part of the pumpkin’s circumference. Therefore, we don’t want to make a groove that looks too deep. Switch back to the HB to soften the transition between the midtones and highlight.
Use a 4B pencil to put some shadow tones near the bottom of the first two sections. Since the pumpkin has a round shape, shading it is similar to how we would shade a sphere. The tones would get gradually darker the farther away we get from the highlight and light source. As you shade the bottom of these sections and others, leave a thin strip of reflected light between the dark tones and the edge of the rib.
Shade the Third Section
Now we can move on to the next section. There are some minor impressions in the skin’s surface near the top here. I’m going to use an HB to put a few tones near the highlight here before shading any more of this section.
There are also a couple more impressions running down the length of this section between these two ribs. It’s almost like a minor, separate rib trying to come into its own. Sketch these impressions centered between the ribs, but don’t sketch a solid line all the way down like we have with the other ribs.
Keep using the HB pencil to lightly shade the section. Just as we did with the other two sections, make your pencil strokes follow the direction and curvature of the pumpkin’s shell. Keep these tones lighter than the impressions we made in the previous steps. Shade close to the left rib while preserving the reflected light along the edge. Sharpen the edge of the rib as necessary by adding more shadow tones to the section on the other side. We can sketch more impression or discoloration on the skin too.
Use a 4B pencil to outline the rib. Blend the graphite into the lighter tones as you shade away from the rib. The reference photo shows us that this is one of the deeper ribs of the pumpkin, so we can bring the 4B down the entire length of the rib. Shade the bottom of the section at the base of the pumpkin. Leave some reflected light along the left edge.
Further develop the depth of this deep rib by using the 4B pencil to shade along the rib, immediately to the left of it. Then use the HB pencil to bridge a gradual transition from the dark shadow of the rib to the lighter midtone values of the pumpkin’s shell. This makes the shell appear thicker and gives it more dimension.