How to create a Realistic Drawing

by yin

Question: Hi, I'm yin. I try to practice realistic portrait drawing, with pencil. I use photo as reference when draw with pencil and I get a problem with the face.I can't draw the face similar with the photo, it looks like different people (for me, although my friends said it's look similar).

I admit that I rarely use guidelines. I prefer make a little sketch outline then do shading in most part, including when I make the detail (nose, eye, etc) especially if I have reference (photo or real object). I don't know why I don't enjoy draw the guidelines, sometimes I feel disturb by the guidelines. Is it a big problem?

What should I do?


Answer: Hi Yin, thanks for your question! First of all, you have a created a nice drawing. However, I do see that it's not as realistic as it could be.

I think what you are missing here are the minute details. Next time you draw, try taking a closer look at the individual features. For example, when drawing the chin, draw every single shadow and highlight that you see, even if they don't make sense. Look closely at the tip of the nose. How many changes in shadow and highlight can you identify? Look closely the top of the nose, the cheek, the jawline, the area under the eyes, the area between the cheeks and the nose, the front of the forehead, the side of the forehead, etc... There will be many subtle changes of light and shadow along the face that are not expected (our mind does not usually notice them). Yet, it's these tiny details that will give you the realistic effect you want.

You might consider drawing on larger paper for this exercise. Also, the more you practice, the better you get. It takes time to learn how to draw realistically. Let your drawing skills develop naturally. One day you will be able to draw hyper realistically if you really want to. In the meantime, enjoy the compliments that your friends give you. The drawing above is very nice after all.

The drawing techniques explained on this site are meant to help your understanding. However, don't worry about the grids or guidelines. I believe that you should follow your intuition when it comes to drawing or doing anything creative. If someday you change your mind you can try the guidelines. Until then, keep working the way that you most enjoy. Drawing is meant to be enjoyed after all!


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Drawing realistic
by: Meow-san

I also have the same problems and compliments as Yin. Another problem is that sometimes my shading is wrong. The object however looks the same as the drawing but the shading is giving me a headache sometimes.

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