Friday, March 29, 2013

Sketching and Shading techniques

Hey people of the world, how have you been??

On today's drawing lesson you will learn sketching and shading techniques. I wanted to make a refreshing change from my last two lessons, which include coloring, and to show you how you can make a finalized drawing using pencil only! [=

* Update: I published a more elaborated lesson on sketching techniques I recommend you to check out at: How to sketch - Sketching techniques (Link will open in new window).

In this lesson, you will be guided with the help of a drawing I made just for that purpose. Here is a sketch of the drawing, it's a guy walking with two dogs, and taking a pic with his phone.

sketching shading techniques

So basically I made a rough sketch of the scene.

On holding the pencil:

When I drew this, and on the following phases, I alternate mostly between two ways of holding the pencil:

1. Holding on the very back of the pencil - this helps me in drawing long, curved lines. The reason for this is that holding the pencil that way uses the natural pivot of the palm, and helps in getting the curves quickly and accurately. It does take some practice though. Here is an example to make it simple to understand:

sketching shading techniques pencil linework

2. The second way is holding the pencil very close to the lead - this gives more control and accuracy, and helps in places with many small lines, such as the fur of the dogs (and especially that tail of the Husky...).

sketching shading techniques pencil linework

A word on the speed of drawing:

Bottom line - sometimes you have to draw fast! I don't mean you have to rush through the drawing. I do mean that you have to throw the lines quickly. This is true especially for those long curved lines I was talking about. This can be quite challenging sometimes, but you get used to it. In this example specifically, it is less needed, but when inking it is sometimes extremely important to use quick lines, since otherwise the pen shakes and won't give you the wanted result.

Lets now move on with the drawing - here I darken the lines.

sketching shading techniques pencil linework

Since my drawing is going to be pencil only, my pencil is my "ink and pen". For that reason, I go over the lines again to make them "pop" the way I want, and to give it a more finalized look. I try to make it as non sketchy as I can. Pay attention to the folds here, I will probably make a different post on this subject, but there are many great resources online.

This is what I got:

sketching shading techniques pencil

Check out my new website and subscribe for a FREE eBook! (=

Darkening and Shading

After we've got our finished and refined sketch, it is time to darken what's necessary, and to give it some shading.

What should you darken?

As a general rule, you can darken whatever you want! [=
Some colors however ARE darker when turning images into black and white. A good example for this is the color brown. The best thing to do is to make your own research. here is a short check I made using photoshop:

color black and white difference

As you can see, the brown-ish colors are pretty dark, while the blue and yellow-ish aren't.

In my drawing, I chose to blacken the dude's hair, and to only darken the pants (they were actually black, but for the sake of teaching you shading, I will simply make them dark).

sketching shading techniques pencil

Pay attention to how I darken the fur of the dogs. I use short lines that mimic the furs shape, and that creates a more dynamic and realistic result.

sketching shading techniques dog fur pencil linework

Another important thing that helps in making the final drawing cooler, is the direction of the lines which are used to darken areas. I darken in the natural direction of the body being darkened. Like this example of me darkening hair, look how the lines go with the "flow" of the hair. This gives the drawing a nice 3dness:

sketching shading techniques darkening

I learned this from Mark Crilley who is an amazing artist, whose videos you have to check out.


This is a huge topic, I will try to make it as clear and simple as possible.

There are a couple of main things that influence how shadows are going to look:

A. The power and distance of the light source.
B. The direction of the light source.
C. The distance of the body from its shadow (more correctly, the distance of the body from the surface on which it's shadow is going to appear)

To make it simple - here are some examples I made:

draw light source power

draw light source direction

draw light source distance

As you can see, the parameters at the top influence the darkness of the shadow, its size, its fuzziness and obviously its location.

In my drawing, the shadow is coming from the top, since its outside, at daytime, and the sun is the most prominent light source. It's late afternoon so the shadows on the floor are week (and also, my scanner + pencil causes them to become even weaker).

Also, I want to emphasize the shadows on the pants, where the knees and shoes are:

sketching shading techniques pants pencil

Here is the final drawing, after taking into account all of what we talked about!

sketching shading techniques finished

I hope this drawing lesson was more "zoomed in", and gave you some practical knowledge you can use in order to improve your sketching and shading techniques. I plan to make a more step by step lesson real soon, that will be less theoretical (=

So keep your eyes open for updates!

Also, check out my new website and subscribe for a FREE eBook! (=

Until next time,

- Liron

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quick Update - New Header and Design

Hey friends,

A quick update - I changed the blog's design, and made a new header!! (the picture on top).

Let me know what you think [=

Next post is going to come out tomorrow or the day after, and its going to be HUGE, so make sure you check it out.

til then,

- Liron

Monday, March 25, 2013

How to draw a City Landscape 2 - Tel-Aviv!

Hey world!

So today I'm going to do something which I haven't planned on doing. I'm going to make another "How to draw a City Landscape" drawing lesson, this time from Tel-Aviv (one of Israel's coolest cities).

Basically, I was in Tel-Aviv with a good friend of mine, and we went to Dizengoff Square and started taking pictures. Then I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool to share this great view with everyone?

Today we are going to draw this:

draw tel aviv city landscape

So lets get started!

First things first - I made a very light, non detailed sketch of where basically everything is going to be. And yes, these are the pigeons.

draw tel aviv city landscape sketch

Now I go over the sketch and darken things up. Here is a small tip: while you are drawing, darkening or inking, put a small piece of paper under your drawing hand, like I did. That way you won't smear your work and possibly ruin it.

draw tel aviv city landscape pencil linework

draw tel aviv city landscape pencil linework

After going over all the lines and making them clearer, here is a scanned version of the drawing. The lines are very light, since my scanner sometimes doesn't do well with pencil [=

draw tel aviv city landscape pencil

Now I'm going to do what I did in the previous lesson, and tape the drawing, along with a new clean paper on top of it, to the window (like a light table). Now I can do the coloring on a new paper, and easily get rid of the pencil work.

draw tel aviv city landscape color process

draw tel aviv city landscape color process

After I finish coloring, this is what I got:

draw tel aviv city landscape colors

Now its time to start inking. Here I go at it, inking AS SPARINGLY as I can. Like I taught you in the previews lesson, because I used colors first, I can now sort of "sit back" with the ink, and let the colors do most of the work.

draw tel aviv city landscape ink process

draw tel aviv city landscape ink process

draw tel aviv city landscape ink process

A word on mistakes:

On that last image you can see I've made a couple of mistakes with the inking. It's important for me to make it clear - this is TOTALLY OK. When drawing, you have to accept the fact that some mistakes are inevitable. Some of the mistakes can be corrected, while others can be completely prevented if you work correctly (for example - putting that piece of paper under your hand).

In this example, I accidentally had too much ink "bleed" out of my nib pen. I try to smooth it out as much as possible, and I can probably leave it at that. Sometimes, more "drastic" measure may need to be taken, such as using Tipp-Ex. This time its unnecessary. And keep in mind that no mistake means the end of the world [=

So there you have it - the finished drawing:

draw tel aviv city landscape

I hope you enjoyed this drawing lesson. This is it for "How to draw a City Landscape", for the time being....

On another note, I plan to make the next drawing lesson really really educational, and to try and take you step by step, through the drawing process, while talking about some techniques. It is going to be on a highly demanded subject, so get ready!

Here is a sneak peak.... (;

draw dog sneak peek


- Liron

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to draw a City Landscape - Prague!

Hello people of the world!

Today I have a special treat. In this drawing lesson, you will learn how I drew... this:

draw prague city landscape

This scenery is from Prague's Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti). I was traveling there a couple of months ago, and it always amazes me how inspiration comes in big waves when I see new views and cities.

I think this is a really special post, because let me tell you this, I believe this is one of the most professionally finished drawings I've ever made, and I did many things differently then most of my other colored drawings.

So lets start by looking at the first sketch of this (I know you can barely see, don't worry, next ones are darker).

draw prague city landscape sketch

This entire drawing is based on a picture I took when I was there. This is really a simple sketch, to set up the perspective, the location of the important figures and buildings, and all the rest of the basic stuff.

Here I started giving the lines more strength, and adding more details:

draw prague city landscape linework

In this specific drawing, I don't go in order from left to right, or anything like that. I decided I'll go by order of importance. So I first go over the woman and child, then the band and the equipment, then the crowd and people behind, and then the buildings.

Here is the scanned version of the finished sketch:

draw prague city landscape pencil

In here you can see I finished most of the details, and notice how I was really "light" on the buildings and background. This is really important when drawing scenery like this one, because if I went into too many details it would completely shift the focus from the band and crowd, and we don't want that to happen now don't we? [=

The next step is where I want to stop and explain what I did in more detail.
When making a drawing with the purpose of coloring it, there are many ways to go about doing it. What I almost always do, is simply finish the pencil version, go over it with ink (usually a nib pen) and then finally coloring it.

This time however, I decided to... First color it, and THEN ink it.
That method has a few HUGE advantages, since it allows you to give depth using the colors first, and only then go over it with ink, only on the places necessary. That way, instead of "coloring closed areas" on the drawing, you color it to make it POP, and then ink as little as possible to keep it dynamic.

And this is how I did it:

draw prague city landscape coloring

If you have a light table you can use one. I don't, so as you can see, I taped the sketch and another blank paper to my window. That way I can see through, and color the drawing on a fresh paper, without all of the pencil lines I've done in the sketch! Some people just color the same page, but I wanted it to be as clean as possible.

here is a close up of the coloring process.

draw prague city landscape coloring

Eventually, this is what I got, nice eh? No lines, only colors.

draw prague city landscape colors

Now It's time to ink it up! Here is the beginning of this step:

draw prague city landscape ink process

As you can see on the left, I'm using my trustworthy nib pen. And as I said before, I ink ONLY whats necessary.

Here's some more:

draw prague city landscape ink process

I can see so many lines that I would have inked for sure, and would be so useless since I can indicate them, like here, using colors.

And now... here is the final result again!

draw prague city landscape

Again, in my opinion this is one of the best finished drawings I've ever made, and I had tons of fun making it (=

Hope you enjoyed this drawing lesson as much as I did, and also learned a thing or two.

Until next time,

- Liron

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to draw a Camel??

Hey world!

So, since this is an "Art in the Middle East" blog, I decided to have a drawing lesson on the animal which is infamously related to the middle east - the CAMEL [=

I will start by giving the basic structure, and then we will add the body itself, and all of the details.

Lets get right on it!

1. The basic structure

draw camel basic structure anatomy

Here it is, nothing too fancy!
Basically, the camel figure is composed of a very large central mass, a curvy neck, and four, relatively long (!) legs.

Here are the main points to get correctly:
A. The main mass is shaped as a fat oval. The hump comes on top of the center of that oval.
B. The legs are very long. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that the height of each leg is about the horizontal length of the main mass oval:

draw camel basic structure proportions

C. The neck comes out of the front, central part of the body, and the head is in about the same height level of the hump.
D. The knees are very prominent. Also, the 2 front leg's joints are bending like a human's knee (to the front), and the other 2 leg's joints bend to the back.

2. The simple figure

draw camel sketch

Here I added the basic figure, without too many details. Notice the unique shape of the legs and how they bend, and also the feet.

Now I want to try and do something a bit different, and have a close up look on the important parts of the body.

3. The head

draw camel head

Let me tell you, this is one funny looking animal =P ... Notice how the eyes are really far away to the sides, especially with the heavy foreshortening that occurs here, when it is looking straight at us. The central part (with the nostrils and mouth) is actually closer to us then the eyes and ears, which are more at the back. I gave it a little fuzziness and fur in the part where the head connects to the neck, as I've seen it in many photos (and in the few real life camels I had the chance of seeing).

4. The central mass

draw camel hump

The central mass is pretty huge. Look at the big belly in the bottom. Also, look how the hump is less noticeable then the way it is usually drawn in cartoons or kids drawings (although the prominence of it CAN vary a lot).

5. The feet

draw camel feet

These are really uniquely shaped, there are two toes, and hopefully I got these anatomically right.

6. Finished pencil version

draw camel pencil

7. Finished inked version!

draw camel ink

Here is the complete version! I inked using a nib pen and ink.

Hopefully this drawing lesson was clear and simple, and gave you an idea of one way to draw a camel, and how the camel figure is built and moves.

I know I'm late with this post, been extremely busy lately, big life change
Will do my best to pick up the pace.

Also, check out my new website and subscribe for a FREE eBook! (=
Until next time, [=

- Liron