Day 5 - Realistic Pencil Drawing - 6 Day Art Challenge MMVCE

Posted by Mafalda Vasconcelos on



Day 5. 

Make a realistic pencil drawing.


Today's activity is not necessarily a fun one but it definitely can be a satisfying exercise. Realistic pencil drawing is a classical technique in which we draw an object as is, looking at light and shadow and how these two create a 3 dimensional look on this object. Shading is a technique we use to create the 3D effect on a realistic drawing, but for this we need to observe the light and know where the light source is coming from. 

Realistic pencil drawing is something you can train yourself to do just by learning to see an object, the source of light and understanding scale and perspective. Anyone can do it!


There are different basic shading techniques we can use: hatching, cross-hatching, circulism and contour shading. You may use these different techniques according to the texture you'd like to achieve.

Hatching is probably the most common shading technique and it consists of drawing lines close together in one single direction. I generally use this as the first step when making a realistic drawing.

Cross-hatching consists of drawing multiple lines that have opposing directions. I use this as the last step when I draw, to give my drawings more depth. 

Circulism is shading in a circular motion or pattern. If the circles are small and soft enough the drawing can become soft and the strokes are almost unnoticeable.

Contour shading:
Contour shading, as the name suggests, is shading by following the direction and contour of the object.

If you have never done this or haven't made a realistic pencil drawing in a while I would suggest that you practice a few of these strokes first, before making your final drawing. Just to get in the zone


You can choose whichever object you'd like to draw. If you have never made a realistic drawing I would suggest that you draw something simple like a 3D object (sphere, cube, cone), maybe a pot with a plant, a flower... I also suggest drawing something in small scale so that you don't spend too much time on it. If you are experienced in drawing I hope that you fall back in love with this style, as did I doing this activity. If you'd like a bit of a challenge, try drawing a portrait or a building. I have been drawing mostly female sculptures because I find them beautiful and fun to do, I love the female form!

Your drawing does not have to be hyper-realistic.


Activity time: each drawing should take you 10 min to 1h depending on what object you choose to draw.


Materials you will need:

-pencil, can be coloured or graphite. I used a 3B pencil.


Step 1.
Find an object or image of an object you'd like to draw. I drew a sculpture by Yves Klein - Venus Bleue 1962/1682. 


Step 2.


I hope you enjoy this practice, that it brings you moments of bliss and that it gives you great satisfaction to see the shading shaping the object you are drawing. If you don't think you can do it, you have to try it at least 10 times to really know if you can or not - so go ahead and do it 


And voilá.


If participate, please share your activities with me on instagram and tag me @mmvce #6dayartchallengemmvce, I love to see what you create!


With love,


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