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Pencil portrait 6
Pencil Sketches Rules

Pencil Sketches Rules Pencil Sketches Rules

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.”

Use an extra piece of paper under your hand to avoid smudging your work

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Remember, that all customers are guided by their emotions when they make decisions, which is why your portfolio and sketches must be “savoury to the eye”. Assess your portfolio one more time and ask yourself: «Would I buy it?» If the answer is «No», burn it and make something spectacular instead!

“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.”

Examine as many works and drawings as possible, learn wherever you can: YouTube tutorials or Skillshare classes, drawing exhibitions, read books about design, drawing and illustration. You have to become satiated with visual references for your own new and unique style to emerge.

When I’ve checked my drawing, I check again. I have to nail down its underpinnings before I can add details. I really avoid guessing at the details; I want to make sure things are symmetrical and look right before putting down stronger and harder lines. I constantly ask myself, does this feel right? 

Without solid knowledge of the principles of perspective nothing will ever work out. Study the method, refer to my book often and make sure you understand it completely. For the moment concentrate on the frontal perspective – it is a very powerful and hugely useful technique.

The second method I use is working in patches, which help define shape. Patches of lines go around the form, which help keep things in perspective. This drawing technique is also great for backgrounds and adding texture.

The next drawing technique concerns line weight. Having control over my line weight is a great way to separate objects from one another, and can help emphasise shadows. Thicker lines can fade and disappear into the shadows, which can help convey the 3D form.

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…

Tagged: interior sketch, interior design, free hand sketching

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.

Keep a nice contrast going between a finished look and a more of a sketchy feel

To be sure, knowledge and application of the rules of light and shadows, the aerial perspective, tonal gradations and texturing are key. It is these things that give volume and expressiveness to a drawing.

In this article, I’ll share seven expert pencil drawing techniques to help you take your skills to the next level, whether you want to create stylised or realistic pencil drawings. Take a look at the video above to see these pencil drawing techniques in action, or read on for my expert tips. 

“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.”

The classic techniques of sketching will always be in high esteem: this are watercolours, Chinese ink, coloured pencils and pastel. But experience tells me that the easiest, quickest and the most effective tool in interior sketching is markers: they give wonderful results, even when you use them for the first time.

A well-chosen view angle and the knowledge of composition are most crucial! They will contribute greatly to your sketch; by making your project look elegant and allowing you to present it to the best effect.

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.”

If anything seems off – even if I can’t immediately put my finger on what it is – I trust my gut and troubleshoot my drawing before continuing.

When drawing something symmetrical, I focus on the spaces between the lines, and of course keep reevaluating as I go along.

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I hope these pencil drawing techniques have helped – join in the conversation by adding your tips and tricks in the comments on Facebook or Twitter.

The first step is to master how to hold a pencil correctly. When I draw, I use not the tip but the side of the lead, in order to maximise its utility. Holding my pencil like I would charcoal also keeps it sharper for longer.

“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.

Art Pencil drawing techniques: 7 tips to improve your skills Pencil drawing techniques: 7 tips to improve your skills

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).”

Like every other artist I know, even after I’ve signed my name, I will sometimes continue tinkering with my drawings. I can always find something to change if I look hard enough, so it can be difficult to tell when a piece is truly finished.

Create subtle shading by smudging large areas of soft charcoal

No matter what kind of artist you are, chances are pencil drawing was the skill that helped you learn how to draw, and the one that kicked off your artistic journey. Throughout my career as a character designer and visual development artist, I’ve realised that having a strong respect and understanding of the process and fundamentals of drawing is essential to becoming a better artist. And what’s more fundamental than pencil drawing?

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.

“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.

Remember, that the horizon line level has an effect on the general impression of your sketch. Whether the horizon is at the eye level of a seated person or at 2 meter level above the floor, it is an absolutely critical decision for the whole of the drawing and for how different planes are revealed.

Draw every day and train your eye and hand as much as possible. If you start practicing every day for approximately 30 minutes, it will take you about 3 weeks to achieve a pretty high level of mastery of your hand and your pictures will start showing confidence which is the main quality of a professional, since you can always tell a pro from a beginner by the confidence of their lines and hatchings. Confidence only comes with experience!

This is a valuable beginner’s tip: I always put a piece of paper under my hand to keep from smudging my drawing.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MY VIDEO COURSE ON INTERIOR SKETCHING WITH MARKERS FOR BEGINNERS:

For more in-depth advice on composition to how to capture light and shadow, take a look at our art techniques article. And if you’re still trying to find the right tools for the job, we also have a guide to finding the best pencil for your drawing style.

I try to avoid outlining my drawings because this tends to make things look flat and deadens the 3D effect. Breaks and spaces in my lines show form in the lights and shadows.

When I start drawing, I plan and explore using loose lines, and avoid committing too early with hard, dark lines. As I progress my lines will change, so checking and rechecking my work is vital. I darken my lines and add details at the end. I don’t focus on one area for too long to prevent overdrawing.

Older PostWhich Brands of Markers are the Best Choice for Interior Sketching?

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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!

Learn more about interior design drawing from my book «The SKETCH» (available on Amazon.com)

Use quality materials. You don’t need a great number, but make sure they are top quality. For a successful start, you will need 7-10 colours of professional markers (with 3-4 of them being tones of grey), a pencil, a black liner, a white pen, an eraser, and paper. Later on, when you start becoming more involved with sketching, don’t pinch pennies and buy Copic sets.

When covering large areas, I shade with my pencil perpendicular to the line I’m drawing to get wide, soft lines. For details, I hold my pencil parallel to my lines to get sharp, narrow marks. The only time I use the point is when I’m working on intricate details.

I also like to view my drawing in a mirror, through a camera, or step away from it. This way, I can get different vantage points on my drawing and detect if anything is off.

Shifts in the width and darkness of your lines will create interest

Shading with unified lines versus shading in patches produces a different feel

I like to shade in two main ways: the first is with all of my lines going in the same direction, which makes my shading appear more cohesive. This pencil drawing technique also helps my details pop out from the lines I’m using for shading.

“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.”

Join my FREE email course”Inspiration: sketching with markers”and get your 15+ pages PDF workbook here:

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.

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But remember that a drawing can be overdone! Eventually, I make a conscious decision to put my drawing away and start something new. That’s when I consider my drawing done. Well, maybe…

If you want to become proficient at sketching as quickly as possible, learn from the masters of the craft: take note of their devices, copy their techniques, and use this rich foundation of knowledge to develop your own unique and inimitable style.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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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.”

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