I'm feelin' pretty damn manly once again. I had been thinking about drawing Rarity next.. Well this fifth episode came just in time. [link] pretty much sums up my reaction. So here you go, wet haired Raritehhh.
No, it's just gradual normal shading with a 2H wooden pencil and a mechanical HB pencil. For both pencils I keep the lead in a wedge shape so it has a large flat area for shading, you hold the pencil lightly in a very low angle so you have as much lead touching the paper as possible. Result is a nice solid and crispy shading with no visible pencil marks as long as you don't press too much or tilt the pencil in a way that sharper areas of the lead touch the paper. Don't go for the final shadow depth rightaway, but progress in light layers to make it smooth.