How to Draw Realism | 4 Key Fundamentals – Ran Art Blog

Beginners Guide: Realistic Pencil Drawing

Pen vs pencil drawing
Pencil draw is monochromatic. It has a single imbue ( grey ), but with different brightness values ( from identical easy gray, to very iniquity grey ) .
Brightness values with pencil, from light to dark
To get realistic results when drawing with pencils, start by drawing the imprint accurately. then, brightness values are the key. Meaning, how dark or light each area is. In addition, pay attention to edges and transitions .
While there are many factors when it comes to drawing reality, here I focus on the most important ones.

The 4 key factors for realistic pencil drawing are :

  1. Precision Drawing
  2. Brightness Values
  3. Edges
  4. Transitions

note :
At the end of this tutorial, you will find some virtual draw tips .

Precision Drawing

Each object or design has distinct characteristics and a unique human body. therefore, in decree to produce a realistic leave, the craft of drawing must be precise .
To draw in an accurate way, you need to understand what you are looking at, and to draw what you see, and NOT what you know .
abridge :
When drawing in position ( a fit of guidelines for drawing in a realistic room ), objects are discipline to foreshortening .
In the come example, you know that the clear part of a candle is round ( circle ), but when you draw what you see ( when drawing a side view ), the top share of the candle is actually elliptic :
Learning to look for foreshortening
Opposite phenomenon occurs when looking from above. The candle ‘s long cylindrical consistency becomes shorter due to foreshorten :
Foreshortening views for a candle
explanation :
In perspective, objects that are in front of the perceiver look smaller as they are far away .
Because they are in presence of the perceiver, they keep the proportion between width and altitude, meaning there is no distortion, the object looks the same only smaller .
On the other hand, objects or surfaces along the lineage of view are distorted ( mean, foreshortened ) .
The reason is the observer angle of sight. The more a surface is in the commission of your sight, the short it is .
In the following example, see how the surfboard is foreshortened when facing you .
A drawing of a surfer riding a wave
To get a deeper agreement on abridge, read my usher on how to draw objects from imagination .
How to draw accurately :
Drawing is done in a two-dimensional way, on a flat newspaper. Disregard the one-third dimension, which is astuteness, and look at objects in a second direction : width, acme and angles .
Use your pencil to see the angle of any line you choose to draw .
Pay attention :
Your drawing wallpaper is flat, indeed when measuring angles, turn the pencil left or justly only ! Never fore or backward .
Checking the angle of the line
Do the same for complex drawings, like portraits .
In the adjacent example, I paid care to the angle of the eyes .
Measuring the eyes angle when drawing a portrait
If you struggle drawing accurately, read my steer on how to draw accurately from observation .
tip :
When two people look at an object from a different angle, they draw it differently .
The lapp happens with your eyes. Each eye looks at an object from a different slant .
To draw accurately, close one eye when you are using a pencil to measure dimensions and angles .
Drawing accurately by closing one eye
spirit at some coloring pages on your screen, and try to reproduce them .
Drawing the form ( structure ) accurately is the most crucial part of realistic draw .
Drawing coloring pages from observation
Remember :
Learning to draw accurately from observation is crucial for drawing platonism .
Initial sketch of a mink
After you master drawing anything in proportion, you can deal with the other factors of drawing platonism .
Drawing the head of the mink
Understanding brightness values is essential, and I will cover it following .
Realistic pencil drawing of a mink
realistic pencil draw of a mink

Brightness Values

What are brightness values ?
Brightness values or values are how light or dark any area of the draw is .
Brightness values ​​play a crucial function in creating the illusion of astuteness and cubic forms on a two-dimensional surface .
What is pencil drawing ?
Pencil pull, at its most basic form, is putting graphite particles on paper .
To do that, we use pencils .
Pencils come in unlike hardness levels. Hard pencils lone put a fiddling come of graphite particles on a wallpaper, resulting in a lighter/brighter measure ( H levels for unfeelingness ) .
Pencils with H levels for light values
On the other hand, soft pencils put a adult sum of graphite on a newspaper, which results in a dark value ( B levels for total darkness ) .
pencils with b levels for dark values
How to use a pencil ?
For any type of pencil, the measure of blackmail applied while drawing determines the brightness value. More press creates a dark value, and less pressure creates a lighter value .
I recommend using a number of drawing pencils with different iniquity levels for different brightness values .
sharply pencils are desirable for small details. For smooth transitions, sometimes it is useful to use non-sharp pencils .
For a list of materials that I use for draw, visit my essential pencil-drawing add review .
How to drill ?
Know your tools ! Practice on creating gradual transitions in brightness values for each pencil grade you use .
That will help you determine how much press to use for each different brightness value, and how dark or light you can go with each pencil grade :
Practice on transitions with different pencil grades
You can alter brightness values by using a kneaded eraser .
By lightly tapping on a drawing surface, the kneaded eraser will collect graphite particles, and therefore resultant role in a lighter rate .
Practice on transitions with kneaded eraser
How to determine brightness values ?
observation is the key to identifying the brightness values ​​of any object or image .
Examine each part of the disembowel, to see if it is dark or lighter than the object you are trying to draw, and then correct it accordingly .
In accession, it is significant to pay attention to the crop and assortment between the darkest areas and the bright :

  • If the range or difference between dark and light areas is small, the drawing may appear flat.
  • When the range between dark and bright areas is large, the drawing is noticeable, and has volume and depth.

In other words, there should be enough contrast between blue and bright parts of the puff in rate for it to look deep and intense .
peak :
sometimes when looking at a complex object, specially with colors ( or texture ), it is hard to see how dark or light each area is .
To solve this trouble, squint while observing, in order to lose focus .
When both eyes are partially closed, you can focus on brightness values, and disregard other distractions .
exercise :
Try drawing your handwriting. start by marking the drawing paper, so you can always put your hand back at the same plaza .
How to mark the hand on the paper
Unless you are using a table lamp, remainder in luminosity values are elusive, and therefore it is a great rehearse to master values .
Realistic hand pencil drawing
arguably, the hardest form of attract is portraiture .
It is critical to be accurate both in drawing the form AND in brightness values .
Female portrait pencil drawing, Alin
Portrait pencil draw, Alin


As opposed to comics drawing that is characterized by shape lines, which surround the figure, in realistic draw with a pencil ( or in any other manner ), there are no lines at all .
The edge of an object is where its shape or coat ends. It can end in a sharp manner, or in a soft way, but it is not a line !
Some objects ( like fur, hair, or fabric ) have soft edges, while early objects ( like rocks, cars, or furniture ) have hard edges .
Edges vs outlines in pencil drawing
Edges vs outlines
To draw a soft edge is to create a gradual conversion ( gradient ) in brightness values, from dark to unaccented .
Depending on climate conditions and distance, far away objects might have soft edges .
Remember :
Use lines lone as guidelines to draw an accurate form. Draw them thinly, so they are easy to erase if needed .
How to draw cushy edges :
There are many ways to draw soft edges ( gradient from black to light ), depending on the effect you would like to achieve .
Hereby, three recommended ways :
How to draw soft edges with graphite
Methods to draw soft edges
If you are not around your drawing equipment, you can constantly use a dry paper ( like paper towel ) or cloth to smooth edges .
How to use paper or cloth to smooth edges
soft edges with gutter wallpaper
note :
Try to avoid smudging a pencil drawing using your finger. It can transfer body oils or effort to the composition tabloid .
Using soft edges for far away objects creates a common sense of astuteness .
Pencil drawing exercise :

Pencil drawing on 2 pigeons
indulgent edges for far object to add depth
Shadows and reflections :
In many cases, shadows and reflections have soft ( or less defined ) edges .
Realistic pencil drawing for the Valachi hearings
Less defined edges for reflections
While shadows and delicate objects have delicate edges, overlapping parts have hard edges .
After you draw the contour lines for your object, to achieve a hard boundary, draw with the tip of the pencil toward that boundary .
Contour lines and drawing a hard edge
When drawing the area around the hard edge, you get the object structure without lines .
If the hard edges are not unvoiced adequate, you can use an eraser. erase with the tap of the eraser toward the hard edge .
How to erase to achieve a hard edge
last, in some cases, I like to draw the dark values beginning .
The dark values avail to determine the light values and transitions .
Realistic pencil drawing of an ear


When drawing with a pencil, it is significant to pay attention to brightness values ( how dark or lighter each sphere is ) and edges ( how each area or come on ends, either with a voiced edge or a hard edge ) .
In accession, pay care to transitions .
On a sealed surface, areas that are closer to a light generator are lighter, and areas farther away from the easy informant are dark, meaning the surface has a gradual transition in values .
therefore, look for the brightness values of a particular surface compared to other surfaces, but besides the transitions of values ​​within the coat itself .
Pencil drawing example :
A portrait pencil drawing, Sharon
Portrait pencil draw, Sharon
In the future model, I used transitions in brightness values to draw the folds in the neck area .
Realistic rhinoceros graphite drawing
Rhinoceros pencil drawing
Remember :
Every part of each draw has transitions. An area with no transitions looks flat and unnatural .
How to draw polish transitions ?
After you draw the form accurately, it has no depth without luminosity values :
Form drawing with no brightness values
You can draw smooth transitions with smear tools, like a shading stump, or a synthetic brush .
To get natural results, using pencils only, intend of your pencil as if it is a brush .
Draw lightly, in a continuous way, with no spaces between marks, thus not to create lines .
How to draw smooth transitions
Use light pencils for transitions in light areas ( H levels ), and iniquity pencils for transitions in iniquity areas ( B levels ) .
Portrait pencil drawing of IZ, Israel Kamakawiwo ole
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole ( 1959-1997 )

Drawing Tips

Where to start drawing ?
If you are dextrorotary, start drawing from the amphetamine left depart of a newspaper sheet, and gradually move to the lower right .
For left-handed artists, begin at the upper right part of the newspaper .
In this way, the palm can rest on the blank surface of the drawing-paper, and not smear what has already been drawn .
Pencil drawing from left to right
Drawing from left to right
Where to put the alight informant ?
If you are dextrorotary, place the fall ( board lamp ) on the bequeath side, so that the palm will not block the source of light, and you can see little details while drawing .
If you are bumbling, place the fall on the right side .
Pencil drawing of a wildebeest
Wildebeest pencil drawing
How to hold a pencil ?
By using the thumb, you can move the pencil soundbox upwards, and use it as a measure device ( to see angles ) .
When releasing the flick, the pencil is back in rate for draw :
How to use a pencil for measuring and drawing
How to avoid daub ?
In order to avoid smearing the attract or transfer body oils or perspiration to a drawing paper, you can place a lacuna sheet of paper under the draw hand, so that the decoration is not placed on the drawing-paper .
How to draw without smearing
Another option is to use a guileless wallpaper sheet under the draw hand, that manner you can avoid daub, and still see your drawing .
How to use your drawing equipment ?
Try not to press arduous when attract, so you do not damage the newspaper plane you are drawing on .
Draw as if you are using a paintbrush, piano and gently. You will get fluent results, and you do not need to use smooth tools .
Use compact newspaper for your artworks, it is more durable. thin newspaper sheets are capital for rehearse .
I prefer composition with at least 150 g/m thickness, ideally 180 g/m or more :
How to know the width of a paper sheet
Do not lean hard on composition ( with any hand ) when drawing, to avoid dents .
How to use a power system ?
The center of a character image is the bespeak where the two diagonals meet .
After finding the center, draw a horizontal line and a vertical lineage in order to divide the effigy into four rectangles .
If an image is bombastic and complex, you can divide each rectangle repeatedly to have more grid lines .
How to find midpoint and create a grid on image
The future mistreat is creating a grid on your drawing paper, which is the lapp serve of finding the center and creating vertical and horizontal lines .
Remember that the ratio between the width and acme of your drawing newspaper should be precisely like the character visualize. You can always cultivate the reference point image to fit the ratio of the drawing paper .
nowadays it is possible to draw inside each rectangle individually. consequently, the drawing process becomes easier and more precise .
Drawing inside a grid, one rectangle at a time
When drawing grid lines, do it lightly, so you can erase them belated !
While I rarely use grid lines when draw, for commission drawings, particularly with limit meter, I use grid lines for efficiency and amphetamine .
Commission drawing process :
I start by drawing the form accurately .
then I pay attention to the other 3 factors ( brightness values, edges & transitions ) .
I am dextrorotary, so I draw from left to right and from top to bottom :
Man portrait pencil drawing steps
For more tips, check out my fine art painters gallery for single paint tips by professional painters .
Which paper size to use ?
realistic puff is time-consuming .
A trace of an animal or a portrayal, on an A4 newspaper sheet, can last 15-40 hours .
therefore, I do not recommend drawing on a big paper sail .
Depending on the visualize, I use these newspaper sizes : A5 ( modest ), A4 ( metier ) and A3 ( bombastic ) .
How to draw straight borders ?
When using barely separate of a newspaper for drawing, it is useful to border it with masking videotape .
John Rambo initial pencil drawing
When the draw is ready, remove the disguise videotape, and you will have a straight boundary line .
John James Rambo realistic pencil drawing

Pen Drawing

While there are no lines in nature or in realistic pencil draw, pen draw is characterized by drawing lines .
A pen drawing of a tree
Drawing using lines
I use a technical foul playpen ( fineliner ) for drawing .
For recommended pen brands to use, visit my review on drawing pens for artists .
A pen has a fixed brightness value !
The manner to create the illusion of different brightness values ​​when drawing with a playpen, is to create more lines in the same area for a dark value, and fewer lines for a lighter value .
Tree drawing with a pen
Brightness values using lines
If you like drawing with pens, you might like my guide for flower draw .
Flower drawing from observation, using a pen
And, my guide for drawing trees .
Tree drawing from observation, using a pen


Since all materials are made of molecules, they can never be one hundred percentage smooth .
light travels as a wave ; therefore, shadows are not wholly abrupt .
For these reasons, there are no lines in nature !
When drawing with pencils, it is all about transitions in brightness values and different types of edges .
That said, in artwork, it is possible to create naturalistic looking drawings, using only lines, by creating the illusion of transitions, brightness values and edges .
For an in-depth article about drawing and painting reality, visit The 8 Key Factors for Painting Realism.

To understand and add depth when draw, visit my guide for creating the illusion of astuteness in art, it includes 15 ways to draw depth, with many examples !
While it is commodious to draw from images, I recommend practicing drawing from direct observation. Read my still liveliness composition-drawing tutorial to see how to plan your composing .

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.