Categories: Pencil PerceptionsPublished On: November 1, 20180 Comments66.5 min read
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Paper quality is an extremely important factor while drawing in photorealistic way. The texture plays a vital role in the charm & feeling of a drawing. The natural feeling of skin that the texture of a Portrait can capture cannot be felt in the highest quality of photographs. This is what differentiates the joy of looking at textured portraits compared to Photographs. At the same time the thickness of the paper also matters in producing a photorealistic effect. Thickness & toughness of paper is also an important factor because it allows artists to give layers on layers of graphite & charcoal without damaging the paper. A good paper allows you to erase the graphite up to a certain extent without losing the original texture of the paper thus maintaining the uniformity of texture all over the drawing.

Every artist’s choice of paper may be different as per their own levels of comfort with a particular kind of paper. Different artists may like different kinds of textures. Here I am going to talk about my choices of paper. I enjoy the textures of two papers which I use for my drawings.

Strathmore Bristol Vellum And Fabriano Accademia

Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper Pad


1) Fabriano  Accademia (Schizzi) 120gsm for practising and

2) Fabriano  Accademia (Designo) 200gsm for final drawing.


Fabriano Accademia (Schizzi) 120gsm

Fabriano  Accademia (Designo) 200gsm:

s-l300Fabriano+Accademia+Drawing+Paper[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Pencils:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]blick studiocaran d'achestaedtle pencils





There are lot of pencil brands in the market. While buying the pencil lot of things have to be taken into consideration.

1) Consistency in the values.
2) Graphite quality. (Allows to sharpen it to a point)
3) Erasing ability with kneaded as well as thin eraser.
4) Wood quality.

By considering all the above points I prefer to use these three pencils:
1) Caran d’Ache (P) Grafwood :- These are very smooth & consistent in values. I loved these pencils for their smoothness in application. Any kind of erasing is quite acceptable in all grades. Wood quality is excellent. But the only thing is that these pencils are somewhat costlier than other brands.



2) Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 :- These are my favourite pencils as per the ability to sharpen its lead to utmost point is amazing. It is the most reliable pencils in case of consistency & using a sharpener. Its 8B is an amazing combination of graphite & charcoal. It gives a dark value without glazing or glare on the surface where most of the artists try to avoid glare on their graphite drawing. Its ability to make a sharp point is amazing and consistent.


Staedtler 8B pencil Recommended! BUY HERE!

Also, COnte e paris 3b is also recommended for portrait drawing

3) The Blick (R) Studio:- These pencils also are a good choice if we consider consistency in values & graphite quality. One advantage of these pencils is they are quite cheaper than the other two brands.
For extreme dark shades I use staedtler 8B, Generals carbon sketch & Conte a’Paris company’s Pierre noire 3B as per the volume & darkness needed in the drawing. Pierre noire 3B are very smooth oil based charcoal pencils. You will love it and one of the advantages of this pencils is it does not spread over the paper like loose charcoal pencil.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Eraser:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

My personal opinion is to keep the use of eraser as minimum as possible so that the texture of paper will be maintained throughout the drawing. The use of an eraser is unavoidable. One can use an eraser in a very creative way to produce different kinds of textures. Mostly to prevent daKneaded_erasermage to the texture we use kneaded eraser which can be used by just tapping to absorb the extra graphite on the paper without rubbing it on paper thus maintaining the texture.

Kneaded Eraser:- I highly recommend you to buy the kneaded eraser as a lost lasting tool. you can buy Kneaded Eraser of various brands. Go for Cretacolor, Faber Castle, Staedtler or Prisma color.


Stick Eraser:- These erasers come in the form of thin sticks which can be used like pencils to erase graphite in delicate areas. These can be used to create highlights in hair as well as while drawing animals. It helps in creating intricate details which brings a lot of life to the drawings.

BUY HERE!stick eraser

Electric Eraser:- These battery operated erasers are used to erase darker graphite layers. We have to use these kinds of erasers very gently otherwise it can dampen the texture as well as paper resulting in wasting the complete drawing. It damages the paper texture so one has to be very careful while using an electric eraser. Derwent eraser is a good battery operated eraser. While using this eraser the direction of erasing should be the exact opposite to the rotation of the eraser then it gives a good result. One can sharpen this eraser with the help of polish paper so that you can make very good use of its edge for erasing sharp lines.

You can buy from here!derwent eraser


[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_custom_heading text=”Stencil” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Those who have joined our online course would definitely know how stencils helps us.

For learning the techniques of bringing realism, we initially train into the process of how to hold the pencil and how to create plain patches and smooth gradation without smudging. For this, one needs to practice constantly and an ellipse stencil is what we will need in the initial stages. You can buy either of these.


Isomars Metric Large Ellipse Drawing Template Stencil[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Stomps / Tortilon:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

blending stumpsThese are made up of paper & used for blending graphite. These are the spirally bound paper framing cone sharp at the tip. After it is used for awhile stomps itself can be used to do some amount of shading. It can be used to fill up the empty tiny spots left while hatching with the pencils so that shading appears much smoother.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Gray Scale:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

grayscaleGray scale is a very good tool to match the tonal values from the reference photograph. Actually it helps to match the exact shade of the part from photographs with the drawing otherwise sometimes because of illusions one cannot generate the same kind of tonal ratios resulting in change of identity or expressions of a character.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Tracing Paper:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

This paper is used to cover the drawing paper so that the trace of oil on human skin will not affect the drawing paper. At the same time it will protect the drawing from rubbing against the graphite layers. We have to keep this paper below our hand all the time while drawing.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Fixative” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]In drawing, a fixative is a liquid, similar to varnish, which is usually sprayed over a finished piece of artwork, usually a dry media artwork, to better preserve it and prevent smudging.

  • Lightly spray first coat horizontally. Let dry for 5 minutes atleast. Make sure the layer is even and smooth.
  • Lightly spray second coat vertically. Let dry for 5minutes. Make sure the layer is even and smooth. Let it dry on a flat surface and place a tracing paper over it and preserve it in a folder.

Winsor & Newton Professional Fixative Spray are the BEST. It provides a non-removable, colourless and transparent finish. For use on charcoal, pencil, pastel and chalk drawings to protect from smudging & dust. You Should definitely buy this! 150ml or 400ml, whichever you can.


Winsor & Newton Professional Fixative Spray (400ml):

Winsor & Newton Professional Fixative Spray (150ml):[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Buds & Brushes:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

Flat round cornered brush is an excellent tool to smoothen the pencil shading. It fills up all the tiny white spots with some graphite giving the drawing a much better finish. Remember that blending is the key to make the drawing photorealistic. A flat brush also helps.

You can buy from the link provided here:

BUY HERE![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Big Flat brush:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

This brush is necessary to clean the drawing after erasing. It will also remove the extra graphite powder from the drawing. Any soft paint brush will solve this purpose. Hands can never be used as it will smear the drawing.

Flat round cornered brush is an excellent tool to smoothen the pencil shading. It fills up all the tiny white spots with some graphite giving the drawing a much better finish. Remember that blending is the key to make the drawing photorealistic. Buy only one Soft Filbert Brush size 6
Big Flat brush:
This brush is necessary to clean the drawing after erasing. It will also remove the extra graphite powder from the drawing. Any soft paint brush will solve this purpose. Hands can never be used as it will smear the drawing. You can use any flat brush of Arora artist quality of 2 inches.

BUY HERE![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Sharpener:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

The perfect sharpener is the key tool in the arsenal of any pencil artist. I’d like to say that I am crazy after a good pencil sharpener.
There are three kinds of pencil sharpeners:

1) Single blade sharpener :- This is used for bringing extreme sharp points to the pencil which is necessary for detailing in the drawing & creating smooth lines & surfaces. Its cons are it doesn’t last long enough & sometimes chances are it breaks the lead if you sharpen the pencil with little extra force.

My favourite pencil sharpeners are:-
– Staedtler pencil sharpener


– Faber Castell trio pencil sharpener


2) Hand cranked Pencil Sharpener(Mechanical) :
In this kind of a sharpener the blade is of a cylindrical type with multiple sharp threads on it. Some time two rotary blades are used in it. To sharpen the pencil we have to insert the pencil and adjust it as per the requirement and then by rotating the handle pencil get sharpened. The advantage of this kind of a sharpener above the standard sharpener is the life of the blade. This mechanical sharpener can last for a year while sharpening pencils. Disadvantage is that it shaves off more wood and graphite from the pencil than the standard pencil sharpener. One of the most reliable  sharpeners in quality I found is the Mitsubishi KH-20. It is a very smooth sharpener and sharpens even charcoal pencils also.

BUY HERE! sharpner 2faber castell sharpner

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3) Electric Pencil Sharpener :

Electric pencil sharpeners work on the same principle as hand cranked ones, but the cylindrical cutters or rotary blades are rotated by an electric motor. Some electric pencil sharpeners are powered by batteries rather than being plugged into a direct electrical system, making them more portable.

These are more handy while doing drawings because it doesn’t require both the hands to sharpen your pencil and it saves lot of time in sharpening the pencil. But one cannot give you the guarantee or reliability about the quality of the sharpened pencils. The most reliable sharpener I found is Imikas Electric pencil sharpener. It gives much more satisfactory sharp points to the pencil.

Auto-stop electric pencil sharpeners are able to sense when the tip of the pencil is long enough and then stop. In basic automatic pencil sharpeners the lead may become too long and break, and so users must be careful to time the action.

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Any transparent ruler of 30 inches is necessary for drawing lines on the drawing paper. These lines are for the purpose of drawing the outline & details of the portraits in the perfect scale & proportion. If one has to bring photo realism in the drawing the scale is an extremely important tool to have the exact proportion in the work.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”A Good Reference Photo:” font_container=”tag:h4|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Roboto%3A100%2C100italic%2C300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C500%2C500italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C900%2C900italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]

The photo from which you want to make a drawing should be clear enough so that every detail is visible. Take care that the Photo is not taken in harsh sunlight or any kind of harsh light. Take the photograph such that a soft light is falling on the face from any one side. It gives a rounding to the character & helps to bring depth into the drawing. It will also help you to create an interest in your drawing. Your drawing will look more attractive if the reference photo is having an appropriate balance of contrast & highlights. So be a choosy person while taking a reference photograph for the drawing.


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