Amsterdam Drawing

Lines & Landmarks: Amsterdam Drawing Journals


Realistic Drawing Hack

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Patience is required for realistic drawing

It’s easy in today’s world to take a look at all of the drawings and paintings that are created by amazing artists all over the world. They share their artworks on YouTube and other social media sites, and usually they’ll show you a time-lapse version of the art creation process. This can fool some people into believing that art can be made in a realistic way in a short amount of time.

The truth is that that’s not the case at all. It takes time to create a realistic drawing or picture. In fact, a lot of time – probably more time than you might imagine. We need to be patient as artists. This is going to be difficult for some of us to be patient, but if you’re just a little bit more patient with your drawings, you will see improvements. In fact, it’s the easiest way to get better at drawing and painting. Slow down, be patient and take each step slowly.

I’m going to share with you one of the modules from one of our courses. The course is Realistic Pencil ArtIn this course, you will learn how to draw realistic pencil drawings. This particular exercise is just one small fraction of the course, but it’s an exercise designed to help you get better at being patient. And if you do this exercise and carry the concepts over to your own drawings and paintings, I guarantee you’ll see improvement immediately.

Drawing Exercises to Increase Patience

How can we be more patient when drawing and painting? Well, the answer is we need to practice patience, and if we practice it, we’ll get better at it.

In this exercise, we’ll work from a photo reference. You’re not going to know exactly what it is we’re drawing. I’ll reveal that at the end. What I want you do is to focus on the shapes, lines, and values you see. I want you to create a 3″ by 3″ drawing. But here’s the catch. I want you to spend at least two hours drawing this 3″ by 3″ square with graphite. Be patient and take your time.

Here’s a look at the reference photo…

Draw the Contours

We’ll begin by drawing the contours, or outlines, of the subject. Pay attention to the boundaries and larger shapes. Draw lightly and loosely in the beginning and use the outer edges of our 3″ by 3″ swatch to make comparisons.

Drawing the contours or outlines of the subject with graphite pencil

Start Shading

Next, start adding graphite gently with the pencil. Use a blending tool on the surface of the material to give it a smoother look. Pay attention to the relationships between different values, and try to match as closely as you can the darkness with the shape. Keep moving your eyes from the drawing paper to the reference. Drawing accurately is all about observation.

Adding shading with a pencil

Continue with the next section once we’ve finished the larger section. Here again, we’ll gradually build up darker tones and values. Start light and then gradually darken the values. Work slowly and patiently, concentrating mainly on the texture produced by the pencil.

Develop values and textures in the drawing

Add Details Using a Sharp Pencil

Now we can finish the last section and add the details. The detail is reminiscent of a pattern, with sharp, deliberate lines. To have complete control, and to be able to replicate the lines that you see as marks, your pencil should be sharp. Sharpen the pencil as many times as possible in order to replicate observed patterns.

See also: Sharpening any Pencil

Adding details to the drawing with a sharpened pencil

Revealing an Image

Now we have finished our little drawing. What is this? Well, it’s part of a much larger image, of course. We’re actually zoomed-in really close. If we zoom out, it is clear that this small section is part of a much larger photo.

Subject zoomed out

Imagine for a moment if we had drawn this small section in the same way on a large piece of paper. This would be a section measuring three inches by three inches of this larger drawing. As you can see, the result would be a pencil drawing that is highly realistic.

Finished realistic drawing

Realistic Drawing Hack – Conclusion

You should now understand how important it is for you to be patient when drawing a realistic picture. It takes time to produce a convincing drawing. If realism is your goal, you’ll need to be patient. But being patient just might be the big difference maker, and the peice that you’ve been missing.


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