Knowhow-Now Article

Knowing The Right Portraiture Tools From Pencil Portrait Lessons

Whether you are a masterful artist or a beginner with great passion for drawing pencil portraits, you can benefit from pencil portrait lessons because there are always new things to learn. Regardless of their sources, these lessons offer sketching instructions for portrait artists who belong to different breed of cartoonists or photography illustrators. One of the lessons that an artist cannot resist is about selecting the right tools for each portraiture project. Every artist must make sure he is using exactly the right tools to produce the desired effects to bring life to the image on the canvas.

Having an intimate knowledge of the subject can spell so much difference in capturing the elements on a portrait. Understanding the subject’s personalities can bring out the essence even if the reference is only a photograph. You can readily decide on what tools to use once you have established a link with the subject. With detailed information from pencil portrait lessons, you can start from the minimum but most important tools to be used in accomplishing a portrait project. Beginners can start with any pencil or any sheet of paper, but the result can be discouraging because not all pencils and papers are appropriate portrait materials. However, as the passion goes deeper, you can invest on more expensive art tools and materials that can be obtained from special art stores.


A pencil portrait is naturally called as such because it basically uses a pencil to illustrate any image. It is important to use the right type of pencil to get the effect that you want to bring out from the drawing. Graphite pencils are numbered from 9H to 9B indicative of the hardness of the lead. 9H is the hardest type while 9B is the softest. Hard leads are good in making précised details, but are not recommended for shading. The softer leads have rich dark tones, but are not good to use in drawing the finer details. To get all the effects, it is best to own a full set of pencils to have a variety of choices when it comes to drawing a portrait.


While it seems all paper looks the same, there are far too many qualities of paper to consider. However, in pencil portrait lessons, the focus is on quality and finish. There are two primary finishes that are recommended for use. The first one is cold press. Cold press is the process of producing textured paper by pressing it between two cold cylinders. The paper generated from this method has a texture that pulls more pencil particles producing a darker and richer tone for the image. The second finish is called hot press which is the opposite of the first method. The pressing cylinders are hot, just like a flatiron, producing papers with smoother finish. While an image on a hot pressed paper can look pale, it is more preferred by some artists because they can bring out the details. Generally, it is best to choose good quality paper that can stand any drawing technique. Cheaper paper comes with cheaper paper grade that disintegrate and spoil the entire art project in the end.


Any artist is bound to make flaws or mistakes at one point or another. A plain eraser can always come to the rescue and completely erase any trace of errors. While there can be a variety of erasers in art stores, it takes a simple piece of rubber to become an artist favourite. Some artists prefer the gum eraser while others use the click eraser. But, most artists use the kneaded eraser because it can be formed into different shapes that can conform to the contours of the drawing. It is also cleverly use to lift out pencil particles to create some drawing effects.


A tortillion is a roll of paper tightly wound to form into a stick used for blending pencil graphite. It is an effective yet the cheapest tool to produce fading effects or tone gradation to create a realistic portrait.

If you think you have the talent to draw a human face, but lacking in skill, you can get help from some pencil portrait lessons that can reveal the secrets of how to create realistic portraits. By ardently following the step-by-step instructions, who knows if someday you can be drawing like a pro and become one among the league of masters?

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