“Instead, use spare paper to doodle a big swatch of soft graphite or charcoal pencil, then use a large blending stick to pick up the soft dust to use for your image. Keep using the blending stick and adding more scribbles as you need more graphite. Using the same technique, start darkening some areas of the sky to define the tops of the clouds.”
Create subtle shading by smudging large areas of soft charcoal
“There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make a clean-looking drawing that loses its brilliance and value thanks to smudging. Instead, use smudging to your advantage every now and then to smooth out shading. You can do this with several tools. I use a simple piece of tissue paper to get the job done.”
Take control of your pencil by holding it correctly, says illustrator Sylwia Bomba. “If you position your hand closer to the end of the pencil, you have more control and precision, but heavier strokes (darker markings). Gripping further up the pencil will give you less control and precision, but lighter strokes (lighter markings).”
“To test out whether your characters are readable as silhouettes, grab a piece of tracing paper and trace around your character, filling it in with a solid colour. A great way to test your silhouettes is to show them to your friends or colleagues and ask them what they see.”
Start of with camlin charcoal pencil once you get used to charcoal you can try getting general’s charcoal which is the best I have used so far.
Use varied lines, says illustrator Rovina Cai. “Not all lines are equal. Subtle shifts in the width and darkness of your lines will create a dynamic, visually interesting drawing. Controlling the kind of mark you put down can be tricky in the beginning, but with practice you will be able to create a variety of marks that work together to make a cohesive image. Experiment with different pencil grades (from 3H to 6B) and with holding the pencil at different angles.”
The Beginner’s Guide to Sketching is a book that offers lots of inspiration and advice for anyone looking to take their first creative steps or wanting to add a new piece to their design portfolio. The comprehensive guide covers everything from choosing the right drawing tools to understanding shading and value, adding colour, and creating a finished scene.
Shifts in the width and darkness of your lines will create interest
Graphite usually leaves a smooth and shiny surface at the end which is not the case in charcoal. It preserves the blackness and it is easy to begin with.
If realism is your thing you might want to check this out. A real structure to your practice makes a big difference Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery
“I like symmetrical drawings but they often look boring all too quickly,” says Croes. “A good way to prevent this is to add some subtle changes and only keep the general lines symmetrical instead of mirroring every small part. Keeping some elements asymmetrical helps to avoid boring repetition.”
“The use of irregular lines when shading adds a lot of dynamism to your sketch,” Bomba says. “If you want to create a fresh and unique sketch of a portrait, architecture, or concept art, you should definitely use this technique. I use it to sketch loosely, flat backgrounds (if there is no texture, this technique will add some), bushes, or grass.”
If you look at the examples here, it’s clear that the first girl is holding a mug, but what about the second one? It’s not as clear!
As a beginner starting with sketching you should use 4B or 5B pencil as these pencils are soft so you will go with the flow and donor apply pressure to much before you are satisfied as erasing pressured zone will remained with the dark patches and using hard pencils like HB or H will result in removal of the top layer of the paper you are using that’s it from my experience best of luck
I suppose you are already equipped with a Rubber Eraser(preferably Kneaded one) and a Tuffstaff easer stick to give shiny finish. You should also have tools like a 18″ clear acrylic ruler, a straightedge, a divider(4″) and pencil caps(if available in the market). My humble suggestion, if are genuinelly interested in sketching, you must practice drawing straight lines and full circles. Along with this you must practice moving the pencil from right to left (in case you are a right hander or vice versa) without any support.
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You will need following pencils which always go handy whether you are a beginner or an expert:
Use HB for base sketch , 7B/8B , EE for shading & 180- 250 smooth drawing Sheet ( try to use canson brand ) .use blender stick instead of fingers for neat blending. Staedtler brand is best for pencils, sharpener and eraser. You may want to look at one of my drawing .
“A benefit of tracing paper is that you can flip it over to see how your drawing looks from the reverse angle,” advises artist Justin Gerard. “This can help reveal errors in proportion. As you work, take advantage of this in order to arrive at a more successful drawing.”
If you want to sketch a sky, artist Marisa Lewis has some advice: “Sometimes it’s preferable for your shading to be less sketchy and more smooth and subtle. Pencil lines don’t blend perfectly unless you’re very careful. We don’t want a sky full of scribbles, unless it’s on purpose.
Designer Patricia Ann Lewis-MacDougall suggests keeping some texture. “Some artists might find using watercolour pencils a little on the grainy side; however I like the added life the grain gives to a sketch. You don’t have to add water over the whole image. Leave some areas untouched to add a bit of texture to your sketch.”
I suppose you are already equipped with a Rubber Eraser(preferably Kneaded one) and a Tuffstaff easer stick to give shiny finish. You should also have tools like a 18 clear acrylic ruler, a straightedge, a divider(4) and pencil caps(if available in the market). My humble suggestion, if are genuinelly interested in sketching, you must practice drawing straight lines and full circles. Along with this you must practice moving the pencil from right to left (in case you are a right hander or vice versa) without any support.
“When shading, use an extra piece of paper underneath your hand,” advises artist Brun Croes. “This will minimise the amount your hand smudges your pencil lines. If you’re right-handed, start shading from left to right; if you’re left-handed, start at the right and move to the left.
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“Have you ever noticed that every important character in an animation movie is recognisable from their shadow alone?”, says artist Leonardo Sala. “This magic has a name: the silhouette. The purpose of finding a strong and interesting silhouette is to create an easily recognisable character that will remain clear in the visual memory of the viewer.
Now, if you really want to try to sketch a realistic human face i would suggest you to use graphite pencils and charcoal sticks.
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“Double this wavy line a little below the first. You can already see a curly ribbon forming before you. Now connect the open parts on the sides, remove the guidelines, and add some details.”
7B,3B,B, HB,2H and 0.5 Mech.pencils, one filled with 2B graphite and another with HB graphite.
Keep a nice contrast going between a finished look and a more of a sketchy feel
For sketching realistic human faces , you need to study human anatomy first. Observe the head structure, bone structure and start practicing. You can use a regular HB pencils for practice sketching. Later you can start shading when you are comfortable in sketching a proportionate face. You can use HB, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, and 8B pencils for different areas. Use 3B, 4B, 5B for mid-tones and 6B, 8B dark areas.
The downside is that it can get real messy. You can’t touch the sketch with bare hands as you will find out that it just sticks to your hand and spoil the sketch(keeping a paper in between your hand and sketch will prevent this).
My preferred choices are 4H, HB, 2B and 4B or 6B to fill out the darker regions and I’ve had pretty good success with it so far. Realistic human face can be sketched with just a HB pencil. If you are trying to achieve photo-realism though, then you might want to opt for a higher range of pencil shades.
If you’re a complete novice, you should have a look at our seven fundamental pencil drawing techniques and our 100 drawing and painting tips and tutorials. But if you’re ready to go, here some of the artists that contributed to the Beginner’s Guide to Sketching offer some expert advice to get you off to a flying start…
You can refer the following sketches to get an idea of the proportions.
Use an extra piece of paper under your hand to avoid smudging your work
First of all to sketch a realistic human face you should know the techniques of shading which is quite easy to learn with a little practice …Since, you are a beginner you can use normal 2B or HB pencils for practice.
Want to draw curly hair? Illustrator Eva Widermann suggests these sketching tips: “Draw two straight vertical lines; these will be your guidelines for the width and length of the curl. Now loosely draw a wavy line down between the two lines.
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