What Is Rendering in Art

The word rendering refers to a process that occurs in a few ways. If you are an artist or have studied art, you are likely familiar with rendering. As an artist, you know how important rendering is to your artwork. It could be the difference between your work being good and your work being great. But what is rendering in art? How can you use it to make your paintings better? Rendering is a fundamental step in the process of creating art. The word rendering comes from the word render, meaning to describe or represent. Below, we will show you seven things that can help you improve the quality of your paintings and drawings.

Rendering is a term that appears in various contexts. In this article, the focus will be on the technique of rendering an image in art, although there are other uses of the term. The purpose of this guide is to help you better understand what is rendering in art and some techniques that you can apply in order to ensure your pieces look realistic.

What Is Rendering in Art?

Rendering is a term used in the art world to describe the process of creating a realistic illustration.  It has become popular as a realist technique, often referred to as photorealism. And its practice will help you transform your artwork into a realistic or natural state while making it appear familiar and lifelike. Design, illustration, and art professionals render artwork in order to enhance its surface. Visual literacy is a crucial component of three-dimensional rendering. Seeing 2d images rendered effectively makes them seem 3d to us. Our belief in the effect of depth is so strong that three-dimensional drawings are referred to as such.

Rendering was one of the big three techniques employed by artists throughout history. It was used by painters since antiquity and is still in practice today. By employing this technique, the artist or painter makes a skillful decision on how to depict light, shade, reflection, or transparency in their work before applying paint.

You can create the illusion of three-dimensionality on paper in many ways. Scale and overlapping objects, lines, angles, and colors are some examples. An artist usually enhances their drawings and develops a form through the application of tonality. When the tone for a drawing varies on different parts of an object, it creates the illusion of light falling on it.

Rendering in Art In-detail

Writing a story is an example of literacy. It makes use of words, such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. The stories they tell use common language methods that people are accustomed to hearing. Different kinds of writing use different conventions. Similarly, in visual literacy, we use visual conventions to create a picture in a particular way, depending on whether we are representing an object or a building. To render an image, you need to be able to manipulate color, shape,  line, tone,  form, and texture. Exactly as a writer uses consistent literacy, so too must we use visual conventions that everyone can understand.

In other words, there is a source of light above an object, and shades of color or tonal depth become darker as they move away from the light source. We must use conventions correctly to be able to describe an object realistically. So our audience will be able to see our drawing in three dimensions and read it correctly.

On the other hand, not everybody tells a story the same way. There are also people who make jokes. Artist Pablo Picasso is known for his paintings that confuse the viewer. He used bright colors for the background and pale colors for the foreground to convey a sense of distance from the viewer. There was a reason for this. The artist wanted to make us look at familiar things in a new way. It was to inspire us to imagine more. The artist’s job is to render things as realistically as possible.

Rendering Techniques

The purpose of rendering in drawings is to create the illusion of contrast by creating various light, shade, and light source effects. By rendering, line drawings become more aesthetically pleasing. Line drawings show more of an object’s shape than its actual form, whereas rendering enhances the drawing’s look by giving it a photo-realistic quality.

Hatching, scribbling, cross-hatching, and stippling are some of the most common rendering techniques. When rendering, a few principles should be taken into account: position of the light source, shadows, highlights, reflected light, and halftones.


hatching drawing
  • Lines of parallel marks, both regular and irregular, are closely spaced in an area to create a tone.
  • This image emphasizes form and tonal values by varying the quantity, thickness, and spacing of the lines.

Cross Hatching

cross hatching drawing
  • A set of parallel lines that overlap or change direction when they are drawn.
  • Depending on their use, they may be drawn diagonally at an angle or horizontally and vertically.


Scribbling drawing
  • It is most common to scribble in a circular pattern.
  • Filling in the drawing with scribbles is a quick and easy way to accomplish this.
  • This technique is most commonly used in sketches because of its speed and lack of detail.


Stippling butterfly drawing
  • Dot shading is a technique for shading areas using dots. A darker-looking image can be seen if the dots are closer together and the image area is more populous.
  • This technique looks the best from a distance but takes the most time.

How to Improve Rendering in Art

Rendering is a technique used in visual art, such as drawing, to create images that realistically depict their subjects’ light reflections and colors. Rendering can add a lot of realism to a piece of art, and it is also one of the most extensive features that separate traditional artists from digital artists.

1. Increase Your Graphite Pencil Practice

rendering landscape drawing

The use of charcoal is very effective for fixing mistakes quickly and shading large areas. In order to achieve precision at this stage, graphite pencils would be a better choice. Do not strive for speed; speed evolves from good drawing skills, not the other way around.

Metal-point and pen and ink are other media available to you. These media are designed to help you develop both accuracy and discipline. Marks made with a metal point cannot easily erase an ink pen, so you must work more attentively and carefully.

As you gain experience in other media, such as charcoal, you will be able to move easily to other mediums. While charcoal looks impressive to get started with, it is not conducive to the same kind of development as a stricter medium would be. Old Masters used this sequence to train artists, using silver-point pencil, which could be substituted for graphite pencil in apprenticeships.

2. Fill in Contours With Strokes

The charcoal strokes in your drawing follow the main axes of the different parts of the body, like arms and legs. You should use this technique to flatten the drawing, which is what you are most concerned with. It is not possible to reveal a human figure’s three-dimensionality using such strokes. Rather than painting along the contours of a figure, you should shade it with strokes.

Outlines and contours are two different things. You can think of contours as invisible, virtual lines that form a surface cross-section. It can also be defined as an imaginary plane where the object is dissected in any random direction. There are limitless contours in any object. Drawing along a contour line helps to visualize an object’s shape because contour lines naturally follow the shape of a surface.

3. Learn How to Define Contours

Unless you’ve drawn human bodies before, drawing the contours of a body can be challenging. You may begin by drawing some man-made objects in a variety of directions to practice defining contours. Eventually, you should become proficient at shading along contours. If you wish to render tonal values in this way, you should practice this technique until you are fully confident about the direction in which marks should be applied.

4. Know How Tonal Values Work

If you don’t understand the theory of tonal values, you won’t be able to apply strokes effectively along contours. It is essential to constantly compare and analyze the different tonal values on your model and in your artwork to draw from life. For most people, drawing is an internal process. Put the answer on your paper after mentally solving questions about tonal values.

Ask yourself these questions when drawing:

  • How far away from the darkest point is the lightest part of a model?
  • How do light and shadow differ?
  • Comparing one area of the subject to another, how much lighter or darker is it?
  • Does reflected light affect the shaded area?
  • Is my chosen medium capable of rendering the darkest areas fully?
  • Suppose I can’t maintain proportions in a drawing with light areas. How much lighter must they be?

As well as so on.

Your mind needs to be filled with such questions at all times. As soon as you cease analyzing, you become mindlessly scribbling instead of drawing, which leaves your art open to all kinds of errors. Considering this, we believe you will achieve better results in your life drawing. Your drawing shows many tones with similar values, which results in a flat model.

5. Develop Shading Skills

As soon as you have mastered the tonal theory and are able to define contours with sufficient proficiency, it is time to put your knowledge into action. Mastery of a subject can only be achieved with shading practice, not just theory. If you enjoy drawing still-lifes and draperies, you could enhance your education with them. Besides such ‘models’ being patient and willing to hold poses as long as you need, both subjects are good for studying tonal values and defining contours. Do not let “boring” draperies discourage you.

6. Learn Tonal Gradations

Does your chosen medium allow you to render all the tones in a smooth gradation in a perfect way? Your drawing skill needs to be tested by rendering a rectangle measuring approximately 3 x 12 inches, varying the intensity of the color from the lightest to the darkest. If you want to improve your hatching skills, you could do such exercises. Strive to make beautiful strokes, achieve a wide variety of markings, and hone your techniques for hatching.

7. Be Inspired by the Old Masters

Study the way the masters of painting rendered tone values closely. Notice the shading along the contours and how their strokes were applied. Find out what creative, technical problems they were solving while they were doing it.

Final Words

So as we can see, rendering is an art and is used to describe the surface quality of a painting. Rendering can be solid, implied, or transparent, and it is applied in a non-realistic manner. Rendering emphasizes color, value, shapes, and edges, which are much more stylized than natural qualities. This brings us to the end of our article on what is rendering in art.

One thing that can say about rendering is that the word’s definition is not exact. Although the term is used in many different contexts, most people use it to describe a specific type of artwork. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to understand rendering is to examine how artists use this technique when creating art.

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