pencil drawings

The Pencil Drawing Art Gallery

Note that the way I work may not be at all what is suited for you, but seeing I'm getting a lot of requests for tips, I thought I'd show you some stages in the process of my drawing.


You may wonder where you can see the full versions of the drawings shown below. Well, besides the Drew Barrymore drawing (which I drew for a Drew Barrymore fan site, also viewable in the famous art section) and Froukje, these are all pictures that I actually have not completed. Not yet, though I know of some that will probably never be finished. Alas, that is life. It's a Gemini thing, not finishing stuff, so I'll blame astrology, lol.


I used to draw on A4 sized paper (21x29.7cm), but almost every drawing you'll find on this site was done on A3 (42x29,7cm; about 16,5"x11,5"); about 120 to 160 grams.
I use pencil types 2B and HB mostly. For darker parts, finishing touches, dark hair, I use 3B, 4B and 6B as well. Be careful not too smudge with the 'fatter' pencils. I sometimes use a direction of drawing: starting with the parts where you hand doesn't need to be later on. And often I only use the 6B at the finishing stage, to get a little extra contrast, when the chance of smudging is little.

First thing to do is get a relatively rough shape of the subject. Proportions matter much, and I take care (these days) not to draw too much, so you won't have to erase bright areas later on.

(Sandra Bullock)


2nd step is to begin with the head's characteristics. A bit of nose, some mouth, for that proportional hang-on, and then I start with the eyes.

(Alicia Silverstone)

Seeing that all is going well (hopefully, I put more contrast into the eyes mainly, to get the correct feel of the person I'm trying to draw. If I can't recognize the eyes, the drawing means next to nothing to me. Eyes are my #1 favorite part of the human anatomy. And I've discovered that includes the eyebrows, which are almost as important as the eyes itself for recognition.  

After that, it is time for the nose job and soon after the mouth, which, when given careful attention and time, can make the difference between a brilliant and a 'nice' picture. When getting bored while drawing, I tend to draw some extraneous parts like arms or such smooth objects. Just because they don't have to look so much like the original to come across.

(Cameron Diaz)

After that, the ears deserve some attention, the neck, and the first real pieces of hair that connect to the head are drawn. It starts living.  
I often work from the difficult, most responsible parts of the drawing, to the lesser important things (sometimes mixing in an easy part if I'm not THAT into drawing; just wanna see some advances). When I have no inspiration, I don't get into eyes, hands, and mouth. They're too important to get right. Here a nice belly was next.
Most difficult thing in my later drawings has always been the hair. Thousands of strokes go into the hair, carefully wrapping layer upon layer. This tends to make for a much finer detailed impression of the hair. When no contrast is present, I usually create it myself, cause just black strokes of hair don't have the right feel. Here's Drew halfway.  

While the hair gets done, I often return to other parts of the picture; clothes, arms etc. Sometimes the eyes get some more contrast. More contrast usually makes the picture look better.

(Froukje Both, Dutch soapstar)



I have trouble with this, as you can see from a number of unfinished drawings above. Though this is more of a character flaw on my part, keeping your drawings to subjects that you really like or adore helps very much into finishing it.
Most of the drawings you can see on this site were done in about 6 to 8 hours of work, so it's important to keep enjoying the drawing and not get bored because things are going too slow.


When you've only started drawing, it is perhaps difficult to overcome your own inconfidence about ever becoming a good enough artist. Although surely some talent is always genetically useful, some things are generally true for all people.

For other questions, feel free to mail me at


(c) 1998-2006 Dolphinity BV / Ruud van Gaal