Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tutorial: How to Draw a Nude in Charcoal

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing


Today, we'll be drawing a nude using charcoal, although there will be some graphite used in this drawing as well. This will be a short tutorial; what we are trying to achieve is a quick sketch. This post will give you practice with shading as well. Charcoal is good to use, because you can lay in a lot very quickly.

The most difficult portion of this tutorial will be the line drawing of the nude figure. This is because of the difficulty of getting the proportions of the form correctly.

If you are having trouble getting the line drawing to your satisfaction, may I suggest that you print the Step One line drawing on your drawing paper using your computer's printer. Make sure you print only a light copy, and not too dark. If necessary, set your printer to print lighter than necessary. Be sure to use some drawing paper with some texture, and not just a sheet of printing paper, as we will be using charcoal, and this media demands some quality paper with "tooth". Tooth is another way of referring to a paper's texture. For this tutorial, I have used Strathmore 400 series drawing paper, but you may use whatever suits your fancy.

I must say, however, that it should behoove you to learn how to draw freehand. It takes a lot practice, but its mastery is extremely satisfying.

Other than the difficulty of the initial line drawing, using charcoal is fun, and this tutorial should be rather enjoyable for you all!

Step 1

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing

The first step involves rendering the line drawing. As shown in the illustration above, it is of great assistance to draw guide lines to aid you in getting the proper proportions.

Like I stated above, if you are having difficulty rendering the line drawing, use a printer to print Step One on your drawing paper.

I picked a subject with the difficulty of drawing the human form in mind; this pose is one of the easier ones to render. I hope that it doesn't cause you too much trouble! If I can help you, don't hesitate to leave a comment in the box below. I am happy to help!

Step 2

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing

Here's where it starts to get fun! I really love using charcoal, the free form of it is remarkable. It allows you to render something much faster than a graphite pencil, too.

The above illustration is the basic layout of the value patterns; that is, the areas of light and shadow of the subject.

Observe the light source; in this case the light is predominately from the left side, but there is light coming from the right side as well. Always determine the light source, this is necessary to rendering the light and shadows of your subject.

I have used vine charcoal, which is a stick of charcoal, available at any art supply store. Take the stick and apply where the shadows are. As an example, here is a quick rendering of the above drawing, which is a different rendering from the original. Sorry I didn't think to provide this example with the original, but the following quick sketches will suffice to explain how to apply charcoal to the drawing:

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing
Step 2a

Roughly render in the dark areas with the charcoal. As you can see in Step 2a above, it is not necessary to apply it too neatly, as the results will show in Step 2b, below:

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing
Step 2b

Blend the charcoal with a finger or tissue. Yes, it is really is that easy. You can get some remarkable effects with charcoal!

Step 3

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing

In Step 3, we begin to refine the drawing by using the graphite pencils. Using the methods described in previous tutorials, apply an even graphite coating, going darker with the pencil in the shadow areas, and gradating the shade to the lighter areas.

Step 4

How to draw a nude female, drawing a nude woman, How to draw a woman, How to draw the human figure, figure drawing

In the final step, I have added the highlights to the hair, as well as the areas of the face, and edges of the body with a battery-powered eraser. This can also be achieved with a click eraser. With the HB and 2B pencils, I have added the final touches to the shaded areas and the contours of the body.

As always, I hope you have enjoyed this post.

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tutorial: How to Draw a Face Part 2

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques


Today, we'll be drawing another face.

Materials Necessary for this Drawing:


Drawing Paper
Kneaded Eraser
Pencil Sharpener
Tortillion, or tissue

Step 1

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

We start with the outline. I have drawn a rectangle around the drawing to suggest the format.

To gauge whether or not you have the correct proportions, draw a grid first as shown in the above illustration. Make horizontal lines over the eyes, nose, and mouth, and make sure you have the proper angle. From our viewpoint, the woman's face is cocked to the left side (which is her right side). So the right eye (our perspective) is positioned lower than the left eye.

A slanting vertical line is made from the top of the format through and over the woman's nose. One side of her is more visible than the other, so the position of the nose is adjusted accordingly; which more to the right of the drawing.

Take note that the light source is from the top right-hand side, so the shadows of the face will be cast to the left.

Remember to draw the outline lightly, try not to "bear down" on the pencil.

Step 2

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

In Step 2, layout all the features; eyes, nose, and mouth. Don't add too many details, just the outline.

Pencil the basic shape of the hair, and draw lines to suggest the direction of the hair's flow.

Step 3

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

Add an overall even shade of light gray to the entire face with the HB pencil. As I have explained in past tutorials,you should always remember that nothing is ever completely the white of the paper with no graphite on it. There are lighter areas, but most every subject we encounter in our drawing has to a certain or lesser degree different tonal patterns of gray.

No need to blend in this application of gray at this step.

Step 4

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

At Step 4, we begin adding the shadow tones. Using the 2B pencil, add the graphite as evenly as possible, that way it will blend more smooth with the tortillion or tissue.

Here is a zoomed image of Step 4:

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

Add some dark strokes to the hair, but don't do too much; we'll get to that in later steps.

Step 5

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

In Step 5, blend the graphite of the face with the tortillion. Go easy; don't press too hard with the tortillion. Try to blend the shadows slowly, working from the deepest shadows outward. It helps to blend everything with your finger first. Be careful with the tortillion, it blends extra dark. It is far easier to add darker tones than to remove them.

Give the hair some more penciling--don't try to finish it, but define it more by its value patterns. Look to see where it's the darkest, and add graphite there. Don't go about it as attempting to draw every strand. Fill in the tones by seeing the hair as groups of varying tonal patterns of dark and light.

Step 6

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

Now, we pencil in the woman's eyelashes. Use the 2B or the 4B pencil.  Notice that they aren't straight up, but rather curve upward, much like a comma stroke. Try not to add too many lashes, and be careful of making them too long. 

On the left side in the hair, the woman is wearing a braid. Make a pattern of criss-cross strokes to use as a guide for Step 8, where we will be drawing the braid.

Add some more pencil to the dark areas, using the 2B pencil. Afterward, blend the shading using the tortillion or tissue.

Step 7

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

In Step 7, we add more dark tones to the hair, using the 4B and 6B pencils. Notice that the drawing is a little flat; this is because we need to add the highlights. We will do this next in the final step.

Add an even layer of the dark tone to the hair.

Step 8

How to Draw a Face, Drawing Eyes, Drawing Lips, Drawing Nose, Sketching Techniques

For the final step, we add the finishing touches; for the braid, add dark shade where the weave of the braid recedes into the strand which follows it, and leave a lighter area at the top of each braid, as shown in the illustration above.

With the HB pencil, add some more shade to the darker areas of the woman's face, and blend it evenly.

For the highlights, I used a Derwent battery-powered eraser. This is an extremely useful tool to have and I recommend it highly. If you don't have one, no problem, you can use a click eraser or a pencil eraser.

With the eraser, add highlights to the hair and lips, as shown in the illustration above. Notice that the light source is coming from the top-right side. The lips are lighter on the right side, and get gradually darker as you move to the left.

For the highlights on the braid, erase the top part of each braid, slightly.

For the skin highlights, use a kneaded eraser. The highlights are the right side of the bridge of the nose, including the nose tip, the cheekbones, and the neck. If you erase too much, just go over it lightly with the HB pencil.

We're finished!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tutorial: How To Draw a Horse


I apologize for the extended lapse of time that has past since I last posted. I have been spending time with family overseas, and I didn't have much time for posting.

It is great to be back!

How to Draw a Horse, Drawing Horses, Sketching Animals Horse Drawing Tutorial

For this post, we will be drawing a horse. Horses can be difficult to draw, so don't attempt this tutorial if you are just starting out drawing. Of course, you can if you want to! But this subject requires much practice with the basics of drawing; that is, perspective and composition and learning to sketch and to layout the subject, in particular drawing shapes and contours, and shading and blending.

Materials necessary for this Drawing Tutorial:

  • HB
  • 2B
  • 4B
Other Materials
  • Drawing Paper
  • Tortillion, or tissue (for blending)
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Eraser
  • Pencil Sharpener

Step 1

To start off, we will layout the horse on the paper with several circular
shapes. Use an HB grade pencil. Remember to go easy, and not be too heavy-handed with the pencil. Be sure to sketch in lines to define the angle of the horse, as shown in the above first step illustration.

As you can see from the illustration, the body of the horse is defined by sketching three elliptical circles conjoined together, with the back circle (representing the butt of the horse) penciled smaller, and the second (abdomen) slightly larger, and the third (front) ever more larger. We want to do this to define the proper perspective. The horse we are drawing is from the third-quarter perspective or viewpoint, which means that the viewer is looking at the horse from the side-front. This perspective technique is also referred to as foreshortening. The parts of the horse in the back will be smaller, and will taper the further back they go. The front of the horse will appear larger. Keep this mind, it is very important in achieving a realistic appearance of your subject in your drawing.

Step 2

Step 2 How To Draw a Horse

In Step Two, we will start to add darker pencil strokes. Sketch in the mane and tail as shown, drawing just the outline of the hair. Around the outline of the horse, shade the dark areas in quickly. Don't try to add too much; we just want to define the basic contours of the horse's body. It is best to work slowly, gradually building the definitions by adding more graphite, and in turn, the dark to light values.

At the feet of the horse, quickly sketch in the outline of dust, as this horse. Just the barest of pencil marks is good enough at this point. We will define the dust in greater detail in subsequent steps.

Step 3

For Step Three, apply an even amount of medium-grade shading over the entire body of the horse. Not too dark, not too light; just a middle-ground shade. This is the first step to provide a foundation of shade and value pattern to the drawing, and in fact, it is the method that I utilize with all drawings. It is good to form a habit of doing it this way. Just lay down an even shade; don't worry too much about the dark and light areas, those you can do later. I find this method gives the drawing a more life-like and realistic look. It doesn't look like much at this step, but by the time you are finishing the drawing, it will really come to life.

After applying the even shading, quickly pencil in a darker shade where the mane and tail meet the head and body of the horse, sketching a bit darker than the even shading. No need to detail the mane and tail, we are just applying the basic shadow.

Lastly, apply an even shade at the horse's feet. The briefly pencil in some of the shadow areas as shown in the above illustration, giving the slight impression of the dust being kicked. Again, don't give it too much detail, just the faintest impression.

Step 4

Step 4 How To Draw a Horse

In the next step, we begin to develop the values with the 4B pencil, adding the darker tones to the horse. Also, we begin to define the contours of the muscles. Don't rub or blend what you are shading, that will be left for Step 5. Try to apply the graphite as evenly and as smoothly as possible. When we go in and blend, the result will be more smooth.

Step 5

Step 5 How To Draw a Horse

For Step 5, we have added an overall darker tone, and have darkened the areas in shadow further. As you can notice from the above illustration for Step 5, our drawing at this point is a little flat, and without depth. This is because we haven't added the highlights with the eraser. That is where the drawing will really look outstanding! So don't be overly concerned with that now. We will be adding the highlights in Step 6.

With the 4B pencil, darken the areas of the horse with the deepest shadows first, then (not going too dark) give the horse an overall even coat of graphite, still using the 4B pencil.

Then take a tortillion (or tissue, or just use your finger) and blend the graphite into an even, smooth tone.  If it looks like you have reduced the darker tones too much due to excess blending, no worries, just take an HB or 2B and touch it up.

Step 6

Step 6 How To Draw a Horse

As you can see, the drawing is starting to take shape. What we are doing here is taking a kneaded eraser and erasing out the highlights. You can use a battery operated eraser, or a Pentel click eraser as well. You can also use a regular eraser for this, but I find a kneaded eraser is by far better to control, and not only that, the effects that you can get are quite remarkable.

As the light source is from the top-left side, the highlights on the horse are going to be added accordingly. Take the kneaded eraser and shape it to a point. Begin to highlight the muscles and body of the horse, always keeping in mind the light source is top-left. Do the same for the legs and face.

To make the highlights stand out further, go back over the darker areas with an HB or 2B pencil.

Now, it's on to Step 7, and we're almost finished!

Step 7

Step 7 How To Draw a Horse

Now we'll sketch in the background using an HB pencil. Using the flat side of the pencil, sketch in the tree line in back of the horse. Pencil the shadows cast on the ground by the horse's fore hooves, and the hill line just below the tree line. Make sure that the background is fully covered; leave no space the bare white of the paper. Be sure to be mindful that the background will be lighter than the horse, as the back is further away. This will give depth to your drawing.

Step 8

Step 8 How To Draw a Horse

In the last step, blend the background with a tissue, or just use a fingertip. Try to get a nice, soft blend; this will give it the look of distance and three-dimensionality.

Finally, erase out the clouds of dust with the kneaded eraser. If you have erased too much, no worries, just take the HB pencil and add a little more to it.

Thanks for looking!