- When you start on a new drawing and you want to draw from a reference photo, then you should spend a lot of time in selecting a good one. Not only should the photo be clear and large, but it needs to be detailed and interesting, it should also have excellent contrasts.
- Try not to touch an area of the paper with your hand, because it will receive graphite. You could i.e start with the upper left corner and work your way down and to the right. If you draw all over the paper at the same time, you will end up with smudging down details that once was clean.
- It’s very important to make smooth gradients when shading. In most cases, dark tones do not flow directly into lighter tones, there are a lot of tones in between.
- You can also turn the ref and drawing upside down and draw much of the piece like this. Why? Because some people see shapes much easier this way, and it could keep you from rushing through the drawing.
- Details and lighteffects make the piece come alive.
- Try not to blend over highlights if using a blendingstick. Keep them clean for best results. Sharp/cut the blendingstick to achieve more accuracy.
- After a drawing is framed, the glare from graphite will be less obvious behind glass.
- Paper - there are actually many types of paper. What separates them are mainly the thickness and the surface. Some are a bit rugged and others are smooth. This makes a big difference when you draw, is almost impossible to create clean lines when the surface is grainy, but that might be exactly what you’re trying to achieve, so my advice is to do some testing before you choose your paper.
- Rushing through an area can ruin the whole piece so never ever rush.Try to finish a small area at a time.
7 essential tools you must have when making a realistic drawing:
1. Pencils - I use Derwent Graphic pencils. Pencils are available in a variety of tones ranging from 9B to 9H. 9B being the softest (darkest) and 9H being the hardest (lightest). If you buy a box like the one on the second picture, you will have every pencil you need!
2. Blending Stumps- are a must! I use mine all the time. When the tips become dull, they can easily be sharpened again with a special sharpener or some fine grade sand paper. Q-tips (ear buds) - work great for inexpensive blenders. When you need to blend very small spots q-tips works even better than regular blending stumps.
3. When you need to make a very smooth light shading, i.e. skin tones, some kind of fabric cloth like Kleenex can be very helpful.
4. Mechanical pencils or Clutch pencils- These are very nice because they are always sharp, no need for sharpening. Great for detail work!
5. Erasers and sharpeners of course. A kneaded eraser is also great for removing graphite. You can easily control how much graphite you would like or remove, just by shaping the eraser. Google it for more information. A brush is great when you have smudge on your hand, and need to remove eraser pieces and some graphite that is lying on the drawing. Itís easy to smudge or drag a little excess piece of lead over the drawing If you use you hand.
6. There are also mechanical pencils that have size 0.3 lead, and they are very tiny and excellent for those tiny details. You can also buy lead for mechanical pencils with different tones, i.e. HB, B, 2B, 3H. Some of them are also colour-coded so you could easily separate them.
7. A kneadable eraser is also great for removing graphite. You can easily control how much graphite you would like to remove, just by shaping the eraser.