About Me

Thank you for visiting my Blog site, I wanted to share my passion for pencil sketches through this site. You will find interesting videos on pencil sketches, pictures and posts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Sketches of children and babies

Learn to draw pencil drawings !

I found an interesting tutorial about pencil and charcoal drawing by J.D.Hillberry and wanted to share it with all the visitors of my blog.

Learn How to Draw - Graphite Pencil and Charcoal Tutorial

This tutorial contains techniques to create realistic looking artwork.

#1 Getting Started

Once you have decided on your subject, you need to decide on the best techniques and materials to use. There are so many things to consider. Should the background stay white? Should you use a smooth paper or rough? Should you use graphite, charcoal, or a maybe a combination of both. It's enough to make you take up sculpting! Don't get discouraged. This tutorial will answer these questions and more.

The first thing you need to do is analyze the textures in all the areas of your subject. Decide which areas would be considered rough and which are smooth. Notice where contrasting textures and values are adjacent to each other.

Once you have identified the basic textures and values of your subject, you need to decide on the appropriate techniques to use in each area.

#2 Using Charcoal and Graphite Pencil (why I use both in each drawing)

The individual granules of charcoal have an irregular shape. When light strikes a drawing containing these particles, it bounces back in many different directions. That means when it is pushed to its darkest value, charcoal doesn't have the reflective glare that is common with graphite. Usually the darkest values in a drawing are shadows, and, if you are trying to render a subject as realistically as possible, the last thing you want is a shadow that reflects more light than the subject. I use both charcoal and graphite pencil in different areas of my drawings.

Subjects I typically render with charcoal pencils:

  • Wood, Bark, fur, hair, eyelashes, pupil of the eye, dark line between the lips, nostrils, coarse fabrics, - like denim, leather, cast shadows,

Subjects I typically render with graphite pencils:

  • Skin tones, Shading in the white of the eye, Glass, Porcelain, Light values in shiny metal, Smooth fabrics - like silk, Light shading on paper objects- like playing cards.

My favorite brands of charcoal and graphite, and carbon pencils:

  • Graphite:
    There are many artist grade graphite pencils to choose from these days. A 2B pencil of one brand may be vastly different than the 2B of another brand. I currently use Kimberly drawing pencils which are manufactured by the General Pencil Company. These premium graphite drawing pencils are extra smooth artist quality hex shaped drawing pencils. Available in 20 degrees from 9H to 9xxB. The 9xxB is becoming one of my favorite graphite pencils. It is capable of extremely dark values with little or no graphite shine.

  • Charcoal:
    Many people who are used to the feel of graphite effortlessly gliding across their paper find charcoal too abrasive. Currently I use Primo Euro Blend charcoal pencils manufactured in the USA by General Pencil Company. These are smoother than other charcoals I have tried. There are three degrees of hardness ranging from HB (hardest) to 3B (softest). Along with the General's Primos, I use their regular charcoals. The single most important pencil I use is the General's 2H Extra Hard Charcoal. This pencil is hard enough to get an needle sharp point, yet since it is charcoal, it is capable of very dark sharp lines. Obtaining clean sharp edges is very important in my work. All charcoal smears easily so if you are not familiar with this medium you may consider reading the chapter entitled Keeping Your Drawing Clean on page 18 of my technique book.

  • Carbon Pencils
    Carbon pencils can be used in place of charcoal in areas to separate the subject from the background. When carbon pencils are used in combination with charcoal and graphite, their inherent characteristics make them ideal for separating subjects containing similar values. Generally, I use charcoal for the background and carbon or graphite for the subjects. I currently use Generals Carbon sketch pencil for this purpose.

#3 Blending

I use various tools to blend with also. Each creates a different texture and spreads each medium differently. Using the right blending tool can mean the difference between using a few quick swipes to create the exact look you want, or, re-working an area for hours (or until you rub a hole in the paper) and giving up in frustration. These are some of my blending tools:

  • Blending Stump: These are tightly wound paper sticks with points on both ends. They are available in several diameters. Use them to blend large areas of the medium and also to apply the medium directly to the paper for softer effects.

  • Tortillon: These are generally smaller and not wrapped as tightly as blending stumps. They are not as solid as blending stomps and they create a slightly different texture.

  • Felt pad: Purchase 1' x 1' white squares at a craft store. Creates random textural effects for a variety of natural looking textures.

  • Facial Tissue: Good for blurring the edge of shadows and softening unwanted pencil strokes. Paper towels are another choice if you don't want to lighten the area as much.

  • Paper: Blending with paper brings out the texture of the drawing paper. The paper you use to blend with makes a big difference in the texture created. Try wrapping notebook paper around you finger to start with. Good for separating two objects that have similar values by using only textures.

  • Chamois: To imitate smooth textures like skin tones and reflective surfaces like glass. Also use it like an eraser to lighten large masses of dark charcoal or graphite. Creates an extremely smooth texture.

  • NOT FINGERS: I know some people don't have a problem with it but it can be a nightmare. I suggest you even be careful touching important areas of the paper with your bare hands. Your fingertips can transfer oil to the paper. This oil becomes apparent if it is in light areas of blended charcoal or graphite. Graphite and charcoal work exactly like finger print dusting powder, leaving the incriminating imprints of the person responsible for groping your paper. (Probably you, but you can yell at the kids if it makes you feel better.) It is impossible to make a smooth, even tone with charcoal or graphite powder in areas with fingerprints.

  • Experiment: Put those creative thinking caps on! You never know when you might come across something that will produce the perfect texture you are looking for. Try different fabrics - smooth and rough. Just make sure the materials are clean and the color from dyes won't rub off on your paper.

  • One Last Tip: These are some of the materials and techniques I use. I offer these methods as a starting point, to help you achieve a style all your own. I believe there are as many techniques on how to draw as there are people. Never let any instructor or book make you believe that their way is the ONLY way. My theory is - if it works, use it. We all need to keep growing and experiment but keep true to your own vision