These are the steps I used for a pencil drawing
Once I have decided on a composition,
either through visualizing it or doing thumbnail drawings, I start with
the rough sketch on sketchbook paper. In the rough sketch I try to
capture the movement of the piece, the basic details, and I fine-tune the
composition. I don't bother with shading, except to rough out light
and dark areas. It doesn't look like much, but it's the framework
for the finished drawing. I like to work on slightly larger paper
for the rough sketch - in this case, 11x14 for a 9x12 finished drawing.
Starting the drawing
Once I have finished with the rough
sketch (and it will sometimes take many rough sketches to get the drawing
as I want it) I move on to transfering the important parts of the rough
sketch to a piece of drawing paper using a lighttable and a light pencil.
Drawing paper is heavier and more forgiving than sketchbook paper, but
sketchbook paper is cheaper, so I use that for the roughs. You can
see the faint outlines. I make ajustments, correcting the outline
as needed. In this case, I moved the pouch to the side (looked too
much like a fanny pack) and I worked on the details of the tree leaf poncho
as well as finishing the staff, which didn't fit in my rough sketch.
When the outline is settled, I can start
to shade the piece, using the outline as a guide, but being careful not
to rely on the lines too much. Before I start shading I think of
where I want the light source to be (in this case, upper left) and how
harsh I want it. The brighter the light, the more contrast will be
created. Shadows will be very dark and highlights very white.
This is important to keep in mind as you are working.
This is just a detailed look at the head
in the above drawing. You can see the cross-hatching better.
I usually layer lots of pencil strokes until I get the value I want.
In this case, I am working up to a dark value for black fur, but it's important
to have the underlayers to give the head form, rather than just grabbing
my 9b pencil and coloring it black. Even black forms have variations
in light and dark that make them three dimensional.
finished drawing - closeup
This is a section of the finished drawing,
slightly larger than in real life. You can see that after lots of
layering, I achieved a dark value for the fur without losing the highlights.
The 'veins' in the leaf-poncho were easier than they look. I shaded
the entire poncho very lightly, then drew the veins in with my rubber eraser.
Then, as I continued to shade the leaf, I left the vein areas white.
One of the things that changed was his eyes
- I was perfectly happy with his original eyes, but my friend pointed
out that oracle cats are supposed to have large eyes, so I made the eye
The entire process, start to finish, took
me about 8-10 hours of solid drawing. This was actually pretty fast
- normally I do more than one rough sketch.
If you have any comments/questions, feel free to visit the message board.