A Beginner’s Guide to Realistic Pencil Drawing

Updated: Apr 7



Pencil drawing is a monochromatic or polychromatic painting with premium quality pencils. As an art enthusiast, you might like paintings that depict realistic pencil drawings. They are beautiful pieces of art and the level of details to achieve resemblance can be challenging to achieve.


Have you ever wondered how to make your pencil drawing realistic? Read on in this beginner’s guide to get relevant tips to get you started on pencil drawing.


Tips to Get Started


When starting out with realistic pencil drawings, you need the right tools, techniques, and skills to master them. Here are some helpful tips.


Explore and Know Your Pencils


The first step in starting with realistic pencil drawing is, exploring and knowing your pencils. You get several weights and types of pencils.


In graphite pencil, you have variations in weights ranging from B, HB to an H. A B pencil is soft and offers you ease in shading; H pencils are the hardest, and allows you to capture the fine details; HB pencils are medium-hard, which allow you to do initial outlines.


Once you get good with graphite pencils for sketching, you can experiment with colored pencils. There are water-colored pencils, polychromatic pencils, soft colored pencils, hard colored pencils, and many more, each with its unique use, richness, and style.


Choose your pencil according to the artistic detailing you want to create. For beginners, you may also consider using mechanical pencils with pre-inserted HB leads to gain precision.


Have Control Over Your Pencils and Know different Shading Techniques


You must grip your pencil properly according to the kind of pressure you want to give. When you hold your pencil closer to the tip of the pencil, you get heavier, thicker, and darker strokes. In contrast, you get a lighter stroke as you move your grip away from the tip of the pencil.


This grip is crucial to achieving various shades in your realistic pencil drawings. You may also find it useful to know different textures that help you create a brilliant piece of art. You can use the following textures:

  • Hatching- create depth and texture in your artwork.

  • Cross Hatching- create fabric textures and blemishes. It gives depth to your artwork.

  • Stippling- create a spotty area in your artwork(for example, if you want to show a sandy area).

  • Scribbling- create textures. A portrait drawing can help show curls in the hair.

  • Small Circles- help you shade seamlessly

  • Finger blend- create a smooth finish


Vary Your Lines and Avoid Smudging


Creating a realistic drawing requires varied artistic uses of lines. You should use various types of lines ranging from thin, thick, curvy, straight, light, dark, and more. This helps you create an interesting and dynamic drawing. It’s important to experiment with various pencils to create varied lines.


Your drawing will not look aesthetically pleasing if you have smudges all over the blank portions. To avoid this, you can keep a paper underneath your hand and shade from left to right if you are right-handed, and from right to left if you are left-handed.


Of course, if your piece needs some smudging, use tissue paper, a cotton ball, or an earbud to achieve a smooth smudge. This will ensure you don’t smudge portions that don’t require it.


Use Blending Sticks for Smooth Shading


You should invest in a blending stick or pencil to achieve smooth shading in your artwork. Realistic pencil drawings are incomplete without smooth and subtle shading. You’ll find it easier to achieve this with a blending stick. Alternatively, you must always start light and then build upon it for the darker areas.


Blending your lines and scribbles will help you create a subtle and aesthetically pleasing, realistic pencil drawing.


Final Advice


For beginners, if you follow the aforementioned tips, you’ll be able to create more realistic pencil drawings. Keep practicing your pencil sketching and hone your skills. If you are ever stuck on ideas, you can draw inspiration from the pencil drawings of Ino Chang.


Ino Chang is a wildlife, landscape, and portrait artist. He is an impressionist artist who makes drawings of landscapes, animals, portraits, and more in colored pencils, and graphite pencils. Explore Ino Chang’s works and other artists’ works to get inspiration to draw better.


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