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Drawing in Black and White

I have received a few tutorial requests for drawing lately... Although I can only talk about my own style and techniques I have taught myself over the years, there may be a few things that will help along the way.

I have angled my drawings toward photorealism. This involves many layers and many hours. However, my favorite style of drawing is like the charcoal drawings of Casey Baugh and I have always longed to be able to do work in this style!! No matter how much I have tried, I can't get myself to loosen up enough to draw like him naturally. So be cool with your style! Everyone has their own thing that works for them, so nothing I have to say is really that important, it might just be a little interesting.


- Brush for wiping away shavings and dust on the paper - using your hand smudges things. A brush won't smudge.

- A razor/scalpel rather then a pencil sharpener as it will not snap the lead as you try and get the pencil as sharp as possible

- Pencils : 2B - 9B... The higher the number the softer the lead which gives a darker shadow

- Black colouring pencil: this I use where the shadow is pitch back on too of the graphite pencil as graphite is silver and won't show as black as well as the colouring pencil.

- A rubber tipped snub, this is for blending and creating smooth clean smudges, useful for textures.

- The normal Faber castle eraser for erasing big areas (not a plastic eraser, those suck) and a kneedable eraser as you can break off chunks and make it into a point for erasing fine lines.

Paper is the next thing that will determine how you enjoy drawing. Use a heavier paper ie 250gsm or higher, I use 360gsm and heavier. I LOVE Bristol board (not illustration board) but I have had to order the large sheets online from NZ as you can't get these in Australia - Old fashioned apparently. There are A4-A3 sized drawing pads of Bristol board in art stores, so you could give it a go. It's a really smooth paper (called hot press) and so the tooth in the page doesn't grip the graphite too much, so erasing is relatively easy and it won't fray if you over work an area.

The start of the drawing

Your proportions are going to be the first thing you will need to get sussed really well to feel confident with your learning... here is a link that will help with teaching proportions.

I have always used a grid to get my outlines in the general position they need to be in. Over time, the size of the grid I use has become bigger. I use a grid because I don't want to waste valuable time fussing over outlines, and dealing with eraser marks and fades lines through out the drawing. When you start shading, the outlines will become very different, so they act more as a guide for the drawing. This is not tracing and actually takes a lot of skill to do. It just saves a significant amount of time and frustration. There are several tutorials online for drawing with a grid, and I recommend finding one that works for you.

Sneaky Tricks

Light hairs on pitch black background:

I used to draw around the hairs... now I have found a better way! Because Bristol Board is so durable, I have found that I am able to use black colouring pencil in the pitch black area, and then using the tip of a scalpel, scratch the pencil away. I then use the putty eraser and erase over the line I have just removed with the scalpel. Be aware that if you need pure white lines, you will have to draw around them as the white revealed by the scalpel is never pure white. Check out my quick little video Drawing with a scalpel.

Leather Texture

I use the rubber tip a lot in my work. Anything smooth like skin and leather I use this tool for consistently.


Eyes are the key to success... getting those to look alive is the biggest challenge... check out the work of Ileanna Hunter and copy her drawings for practice. This is what I did during the early stages of developing my skills. Her eyes are just incredible!


I think that is all I can think of at the moment... If I remember anything else I will be update the post...

Wishing you the best day in the world!

Hope this post was helpful


Carla Grace

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