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Drawing: Pencil sketch of young lady

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Difficulty: Experienced  / Time of execution: 2 hours 


Artist: Caroline Bartal 


The goal of this drawing exercise is to teach you how, to put personality into your characters with just a few pencils strokes: posture, hairstyle, clothing, materials, etc. A piece of advice: Make full use of your material! Look it over, then follow your inspiration. In short, try, test, and start over again, because your style will never stop improving and revealing itself! 



Step 1

Quickly sketch the character.


Draw the character's contours with a 0.3 mechanical pencil: the shape of the hair, the face (position the eyes) then the rest of the body down to the feet. Relax, take a good look at your model and just produce a simple, immediately identifiable form. 


Refine the contours and shapes.


Press down on your lead lightly. Refine the face: eyes, nose, lips; refine the contours of the hair, arms, and dress down to the feet. The drawing should be starting to take form.

Step 2

Work on the hair.


Put a blotter under your hand, to keep from soiling your drawing.

1) Draw several fluid strokes with the 0.3 mechanical pencil to add volume, shadows and light to the hair.


2)  To add depth and movement to the hair, darken certain areas of the hair with the 4B pencil.


Add shading.


Lightly shade the face, neck and certain areas of the body with the 0.3 mechanical pencil: use light hatching to create a touch of naturalness. 

Step 3

Work on dress designs.


Sharpen your 0.5 lead to a fine point. A beveled stroke is elegant and intense. Draw your designs: little circles and flowers. Lightly run your mechanical pencil 0.3 over the little circles: the darker gray will add contrast between the two fabrics.


Work on dress volumes.


Add more gray to certain folds than to others with a 4B pencil: this will add volume to the dress. Press down on the pencil to add some movement to the folds at arm level. The dress should look like it is moving.

Step 4

Define the pants and feet.


Roughly darken the pants with a 4B pencil so they stand out from the dress. Define the shape of the feet.

Step 5

Put the finishing touches on the hair.


1) Sharpen your 0.5 lead. Roughly define and thicken the contours of the flowers and branches set on the head.


2) With a 2B pencil: emphasize certain details, give the hair volume, and draw light curls here and there.

Your wrist should be flexible and dynamic.

Step 6

Harmonize the drawing as a whole.


1) With a 4B pencil, darken the contour of your drawing with the side of the lead. Draw circular lines and don't hold back: let your imagination guide you. The main thing is to create a diaphanous look that the laid on paper's texture will bring out.


2) Use the 0.5mm mechanical pencil to add a few very flowing, airy pencil strokes around the hair, dress and feet. This will add an appearance of movement.

Lightly sketch shadows on the dress and near the feet.

Step 7

Brighten the drawing


Use the kneaded eraser to remove the extra pencil from the face and dress: dab your drawing lightly. You can bring out the volumes and contrasts by adding light.