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Tutorials and artistic advices

Drawing: Pencil sketch of young lady

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Dessin - Caroline BartalDifficulty: Experienced  / Time of execution: 2 hours 

Artist: Caroline Bartal 

The goal of this drawing exercise is to teach you how, to put personality into your characters with just a few pencils strokes: posture, hairstyle, clothing, materials, etc. A piece of advice: Make full use of your material! Look it over, then follow your inspiration. In short, try, test, and start over again, because your style will never stop improving and revealing itself! 




Dessin - Esquisser rapidement le personnage

Step 1

Quickly sketch the character.

Draw the character's contours with a 0.3 mechanical pencil: the shape of the hair, the face (position the eyes) then the rest of the body down to the feet. Relax, take a good look at your model and just produce a simple, immediately identifiable form. 






Dessin - Précisez les contours et les formes

Step 2


Refine the contours and shapes.

Press down on your lead lightly. Refine the face: eyes, nose, lips; refine the contours of the hair, arms, and dress down to the feet. The drawing should be starting to take form.







Dessin - Traiter les cheveux

Step 3


Work on the hair.

Put a blotter under your hand, to keep from soiling your drawing.

1) Draw several fluid strokes with the 0.3 mechanical pencil to add volume, shadows and light to the hair.

2)  To add depth and movement to the hair, darken certain areas of the hair with the 4B pencil.






Dessin - Placer les ombres

Step 4


Add shading.

Lightly shade the face, neck and certain areas of the body with the 0.3 mechanical pencil: use light hatching to create a touch of naturalness. 



Dessin - Travailler les motifs de la robe

Step 5


Work on dress designs.

Sharpen your 0.5 lead to a fine point. A beveled stroke is elegant and intense. Draw your designs: little circles and flowers. Lightly run your mechanical pencil 0.3 over the little circles: the darker gray will add contrast between the two fabrics.



Dessin - Travailler les volumes de la robe

Step 6


Work on dress volumes.

Add more gray to certain folds than to others with a 4B pencil: this will add volume to the dress. Press down on the pencil to add some movement to the folds at arm level. The dress should look like it is moving.







Dessin - Préciser le pantalon et les pieds

Step 7


Define the pants and feet.

Roughly darken the pants with a 4B pencil so they stand out from the dress. Define the shape of the feet.


Dessin - Fignoler la coiffure

Step 8



Put the finishing touches on the hair.

  1. Sharpen your 0.5 lead. Roughly define and thicken the contours of the flowers and branches set on the head.

2) With a 2B pencil: emphasize certain details, give the hair volume, and draw light curls here and there. Your wrist should be flexible and dynamic.




Dessin - Harmoniser l’ensemble du dessin

Step 9


Harmonize the drawing as a whole.

1) With a 4B pencil, darken the contour of your drawing with the side of the lead. Draw circular lines and don't hold back: let your imagination guide you. The main thing is to create a diaphanous look that the laid on paper's texture will bring out.

2) Use the 0.5mm mechanical pencil to add a few very flowing, airy pencil strokes around the hair, dress and feet. This will add an appearance of movement. Lightly sketch shadows on the dress and near the feet.



Dessin - Éclairer le dessin


Brighten the drawing

Use the kneaded eraser to remove the extra pencil from the face and dress: dab your drawing lightly. You can bring out the volumes and contrasts by adding light. 



Suggested products

Canson® Ingres Vidalon®

See also

Architectural drawing
Dessin d’architecture
Architectural drawing is rigorous observation work. you need to be very attentive, and especially patient!