Tag Archives: Graphite Pencil

How to draw graffiti easy.

How to draw graffiti, the first step you need to take, is deciding, what you are going to write, are you going to write, your name or are you going to give yourself a handle, like many graffiti artists and writers do, all over the world, all of the time. If you want to get a better understanding of, what a handle is, then you can, by following this link to graffiti creator,graffiti art.

Now take a sheet of paper and write your name or handle on it, with a pencil, the way you would normally, write it and have a look, at how you write it. Write it again, only this time make it all capitals letters, with plenty of space between them, now try writing it, in as many different ways, as you can think of and don’t worry, about the end results, it is only the start of a process.

Please see my example ideas, design sheet, below.

3D graffiti design sheet of ideas drawn with a 3B graphite pencil.
3D graffiti design sheet of ideas drawn with a 3B graphite pencil, cool anybody can do this.

As you can see, I have used different types of letters, curved ones, square linear type letters, boxed, three dimensional letters and some, that are hardly readable as letters at all, the more you create, the better. If you find yourself stuck, after only drawing a few, then look for some ideas, in the news paper, a comic, magazine or anywhere, you might find ideas for lettering.

When you are happy, that you have generated enough ideas, then you can look over them and pick out one or two, that you like, for further development, it can be as many as you like, not just one or two, if you like them. Now, redraw these out on their own, in the center, of a clean piece of paper, try to fill the paper, as much as you can and make these drawings, more accurate, correcting or altering, anything that needs it, as you go. Try to keep your lines faint and not too heavy because they will be harder to cover later.

You can also look online, for lettering and graffiti art because there is an abundance of it, even videos that show some fantastic work, with it all being, a great source of ideas and inspiration.

You can create block lettering easy, by just redrawing your letters, over the top of each other, again but out of line, like in the example below.

You could trace your name or handle and then move it a little, to the left or right, up or down and retrace it, over the top, then fill in the area, where you can still see, the first letter outline in black, to create the illusion of shadow.

You can also overlap letters, so the second is hiding, slightly behind the first and the third behind the second, to create the illusion, of one being in front of the other, this overlapping, is a very common feature, in graffiti art.

Please see the example below, to understand this a little bit more, in a visual context.

An example of 3d box lettering using outlines over the top of one and other.
An example of 3d box lettering using outlines over the top of one and other.

Notice the black shadowing, created by moving the letters, up and the black outline, around all the letter shapes, you can also see that the colors have been added, any old how but are still effective because of the, well defined black outlines.

Now you can take some of your original ideas and try some of this, with them, below you will find some of my designs, taken from the first sheet of simple pencil drawings.

3D lettering example of how to use letters doubled over the top of each other to make box letters.
3D lettering example of how to use letters doubled over the top of each other to make box letters.

I have added color and black outlines, which is something you should now be trying, with your own designs, you could try many different combinations of color or black outlines, you could even try, colored outlines.

Now you can, further develop one idea and try it, as many different ways, as you can think of or combinations or color, see the examples below, for further development of ideas.

Images of earlier examples that have been further developed.
Some of the earlier examples that have been further developed.
Images of further development graffiti letter ideas.
Examples of further development with graffiti letter ideas.

The tools I use:

Paper or drawing pad, A4 printer paper is good and not very expensive but pads are better, you can carry them around with you, if they are not too big.

Soft graphite pencils, preferably mechanical, pop a point type pencils, 0.5, 3B, if you can get them.

Fine line permanent ink pens, 0.5 and Biro’s, in different colors.

Permanent marker pens, the more colors, the better.

Water soluble felt tip pens, the more colors, the better.

Colored pencils in various colors.

Quarter inch, flat brush and water.

Learning how to draw graffiti, is not difficult or hard and you can get, very good, very quickly, if you put a little effort in to it, honest.

How to practice using a pencil, without boring yourself to death.

Most people don’t know how to draw, they don’t really know what they are looking for, let alone be able to draw it and why should they?

Why would you know anything about practice using a pencil if you had not been using one regularly?

Most people think that they have to draw an outline but can’t actually see one because they don’t know what they are doing.

Most people get better and learn quicker if they trace pictures but most people also think tracing pictures is cheating and so never use tracing as a learning method, what a shame. When you trace a picture you can only realistically trace out lines, you are not able to do the shading as well when tracing and so drawings that are traced are unfinished looking, very uninteresting because they are uniform, without tonal variation or quality of line.

When tracing pictures, you get your outline very accurate, so the rest of the drawing is more likely to be more accurate and it enables you to see the outline, more easily so it will look good and you will feel good about it.

Constructional drawing is the foundation of all drawing, get it right and you will have saved yourself half of the struggle but doing the other half of a drawing, the shading is a much more enjoyable and a great way of learn about construction drawing, so you learn the difficult stuff by doing the easy stuff first.

Design sheet of ideas for potential further development.

The easy way or the hard way, it’s completely up to you?

If you want further information about why and how tracing works scientifically, then take a look at this interesting article (How to draw easy an extraordinary tail of two brains) or do some research about the functions of the left and right brain. You will learn about the benefits of drawing and how the dominant left brain activities, actually make it difficult to learn drawing but also stunting your thinking power, along with your creative abilities.

Don’t make it hard, make it easy.

Enjoy learning to use a pencil at the same time as learning about how to do construction drawing the easy way first, not the difficult way round, like everybody else teaches, easy way first is the way to go but it astounds me, why the hard way is always practiced. There is a great book by Betty Edwards called drawing on the left hand side of the brain, that many people have used to help them learn to draw and draw well, so well, that many have been astounded by their own abilities, after using the methods given in the book, one of the main methods is tracing because it reaches the parts, other methods cannot reach.


Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b
Dragons head drawn with graphite pencil 3b & 5b as an idea for another picture.

They don’t teach geometry in primary school because the children wouldn’t understand it but they give them pencils to play with, the geometry comes much later when they know what a pencil is, they also teach tracing which has got to be one of the easiest ways to practice using a pencil by drawing because when you trace pictures, you can draw any outline for any picture you want easy.


Hatching, cross hatching and tonal modeling basics.

Hatching, cross hatching and tonal modeling basics, will help you understand shading techniques, this understanding I am going present will further enable you to develop your drawing skills, by using these simple methods.

A very basic explanation of tonal modeling is as follows.

If you draw on a piece of paper with a soft, 3B or 6B graphite pencil and make a dark line by pressing hard, then rub over the top of the pencil line, with your finger or with a piece of paper under your finger, you will see that line you made has now been smudged. Now the line that you made, will not be as well defined with the edges of it being softer and less definite or hard. This is known as a tonal modeling technique, one method of creating this tonal modeling technique is by smudging the pencil marks used for shading, to help create a more realistic three dimensional form. This is not the only way to do your tonal modeling or shading, as it can also be achieved by rubbing the pencil lightly over the paper to create a soft blended tone also.

There is also another shading method called hatching and cross hatching as well that we will explain a little later in this article.

Tonal modeling is when the pencil marks are modeled or smudged, so instead of them having hard edges, they have soft blended edges, this smudging can be done using your fingers, a paper stump, soft tissue or cotton wool. Using your fingers is not recommended because of the oils from your skin, that contain acids being left on the paper, these oils with time can cause discoloring and rotting of the paper, ruining the finished drawing, over a period of time.

When a sculptor models with clay, he creates the shape and form of the sculpture by modeling the clay with his hands, tonal modeling is when you model the pencil marks to create soft blended tones of graduated shading with a pencil, charcoal, pastel or paint, it is a process of blending tones or colors, so there is a soft graduated transition from one tone or color to another.

Tonal modeling in a drawing or painting context, is when the pencil, charcoal, pastel or paints are blended to create soft shadows, to produce the form and shape of the object, being drawn on a 2 dimensional surface creating the illusion, of a 3 dimensional form or shape.

The blending of the drawing materials, into graduated tones to create the illusion of a 3 dimensional form or shape, on a 2 dimensional drawing surface is what’s usually referred to as tonal modeling.

Below you will find an image of two pencil drawings.

1.    This first image has been drawn with a 5B graphite pencil, using a hatching and cross hatching method.

2.    This other second image, has been drawn with a 5B graphite pencil, using a tonal modeling method.

Example of hatching and tonal modeling.
The two methods as example, cross hatching and tonal modeling.

Both depict the shape and form of the image but the second example, is modeled, using the tonal modeling method, notice that the shadows and tones are soft, with few hard edges, unlike the first cross hatching example, with many hard edges/lines.

Essentially there are hatch marks and smudge marks, with both these types of marks having attributes, also associated with the use of charcoal, that enable you to learn to understand tonal variation better.

•    Both types of marks are good and effective in their own right, as well as when used together.

•    Both make excellent drawings, in their own right and when mixed.

•    Both can have specific, common and preferred uses.

•    Both are also used when painting.

•    Both can be used effectively, with other types of drawing tools, especially the hatching marks.

Modern mark making revealed again.

Crosshatching and tonal modelling.

Pencil drawing photo image of a thumb and finger.

The above is a combination of hatching, cross hatching, line drawing and tonal modelling with only a HB pencil being used to do this.

Crosshatching and tonal modelling.

Example of two different mark making techniques, cross hatching, tonal modeling.

  1. Cross hatching style drawing, of a dolls leg but although very messy looking in the detail, it is a fine example of how, even soft flowing shapes can be created with crosshatching.
  2. Tonal modelling or blended style, with very hard edges, although you can see some of the hatching marks showing through as well.

Hatching and tonal modelling revisited.

Example sheet showing different types of mark making.

  1. Example of a loose tonal modelling or blending style drawing, of a face that is really somewhere between, hatching and tonal modelling because of the even marks, slanting downward to the right.
  2. A Yorkshire terrier dog, which happily lends it’s self well to this loose but flowing hatching technique, which is highly appropriate for drawing fur or hair, as can be seen a little in image 3 as well.
  3. A soft blending of tones creates this portrait, this is mostly achieved by smudging the graphite pencil marks, with a paper torchon or drawing stump, this is just a hard paper pencil type tool, that can be used to smudge the pencil marks.
  4. Although some like to call this a squiggle or squrkle technique, it is actually just another form of cross hatching, this image has been drawn with a permanent ink pen.

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How to draw easy, step by step videos, to help you.

Please find below some videos, that will inform you on how to draw easy step by step, using simple methods as always, except this might be just a little more time consuming but actually produces more accurate results.

It is easy to draw, if you follow the information in these first two videos which show you step by step how but most people will shrug them off,  saying that’s not drawing. What they don’t really understand is that, most of the stuff they want to draw and most of the so called experts doing drawing out there, in the big wide world, aren’t doing it the hard way like you think they are but are actually doing it the easy way.

The reason why they do it the easy way is because it is faster and anybody will tell you, that time is money, so if you take longer you make less money, that’s why they do it the easy way.

The easy draw method of drawing is used everywhere, by everybody in the drawing industry but the only people not doing it, the easy way are people like you but lets be honest, your not in the drawing industry are you? You might like doing it, you might be good at it but you probably don’t do it the easy way because most people think, it is too easy and don’t consider it to even be drawing. These people are wrong, yes they are wrong because if you want to learn how to draw, then doing it this way, gives you a lot of good practical information, teaching you how to do it well by informing your visual memory, at the very least.

Doing it this way, also helps you to practice other important drawing skills, like shading, in a much easier way and much more quickly, than doing it the hard way, in fact doing it the hard way, mostly teaches you how to get it wrong by not giving you the correct visual information in the first place, making it much more difficult because you have to, at some point, undo all the learning you have gained, about doing it the wrong way.

1950s Vauxhall Victor Grid Construction Drawing Showing The Grid Used.

1950s Vauxhall Victor Drawing, Painting With Water Colors.

The other videos, are about showing you, other more conventional examples of how to draw with marker pens and watercolors, they show you different ways to draw, and it is always best to be able to draw in as many different ways as possible. The first two videos, show you how to practice seeing and getting the correct information, right from the start, giving you a good strong foundation, to build your drawing skills on for the future.

Girl on tong maker pens and graphite pencil drawing see it on YouTube.
Girl on tong maker pens and graphite pencil drawing see it on YouTube quickfirsts channel.

Plus take a look at this for speed painting, which is a term I do not really like because it is not really speed painting, it is merely speeded up video, which is something quite different, although it only took me an hour and 17minuets in total.

These methods will help everybody to learn how to draw easy step by step, just like the professionals do, all the time because its more about money than art or drawing, when you are doing it for a living.

PS. my son made the music on the last video and it’s not half bad.

Thank you, Gareth.

Single point perspective drawing.

The single point perspective drawing, is made up of a vanishing point, on the horizon line, where all construction lines, converge to give the impression of the object disappearing into the distance, as objects do, when we look at them in real life, this enables us to give our drawings, the impression of being three dimensional. Many illusions of depth, can be created by doing perspective drawing and most people find it very interesting, to do this type of drawing, in fact many people spend hours doing it because they can easily create, very dynamic 3D drawings, that look impressive.

How to draw perspective, using a single point, the most basic single point of all, can be done by putting a single dot or point, in the center of a piece of paper and then drawing perspective lines, from the center to the out side of the paper or drawing area, this then creates a single point perspective, if everything is then drawn in relation to these lines, it creates, the illusion of things, getting smaller, as they lead off into the distance, like they do in real life.

The drawing below, shows a distorted cup drawn in single point perspective, the cup looks distorted because the construction box, at the top and bottom, are on a slight angle, slanting down to the right, making it seem distorted.

In the drawing further down the page, below, the construction boxes are drawn head on and the horizontal lines are drawn, fairly accurately spaced out from each other, top and bottom making the shape, seem correct and not distorted like the cup drawing directly below.  The other aspect of this drawing, is called an ellipse, which is the oval shape, made by circular objects, when looked at in perspective, this can be created by following the explanations in the drawings.

A single point persepctive drawing of a cup.The drawing below shows a more detailed explanation, of how to draw ellipses in single point perspective, the basic formula for this type of drawing is made by using an horizon line, which can also be called the eye line. The horizon line is mostly, just a horizontal line drawn across the paper, where your eyes, would be level with, when looking at the object and the perspective point, would be placed on this line so everything in the drawing, would converge on this single point, creating the illusion of perspective.

Single point perspective drawing with ellipse.

How to draw an ellipse in single point perspective.

Information sheet, how to draw an ellipse in single point persepctive, diagramatic.

The humble graphite pencil is a great tool to use, as a first place to start because of the many, cool effects you can develop and implement into your drawings with it, like mark making, notice the different types of shading in the drawings above. There is a combination of tonal modeling, hatching and cross hatching, which are the main types of mark making used in most drawings.

Also the graphite pencil, is probably the easiest tool to get your hands on, for doing drawing of all kinds, including the single point perspective drawing, like in the examples above.

The graphite pencil.

No education is neutral, that is fact, so the only way you can really find out is for yourself, drawing is a good way to do that and I would like to suggest, that we start with the faithful graphite pencil.

The pencil has been around for many years because it’s good to use, easy to hold for most people, even the oldest available drawing tool, other than the finger (charcoal) comes as a pencil nowadays.

It is interesting to understand, that what we think of as a pencil, is most often a graphite pencil and has many similar qualities as charcoal, it can be used in much the same way but the graphite pencil will produce, more tonal variation.

The good old graphite pencil, comes in many different measures of hardness or softness, which enables the user, to create many different qualities of line, as well as a very wide variety of tones, from almost black, to almost white and everything in-between. The softer pencils come in the B range, they are identified as, B to B9, with B9 being very soft and because of this, it dose not stay sharp for very long, consistent fine lines are more difficult, without a fine, sharp tip. If you watch a well practiced expert drawing, with a softer pencil, you will notice how often they turn it, between their fingers to change the drawing tip and keep it as sharp as they can, as long as they can. The other side of this is the harder pencils. These range from H to H9, with the H9 being very hard, they will stay sharp for a long time but will also gouge deep groves into your paper, if you press too hard, when drawing but can be useful, when shading very light areas of tone or creating effects.

The graphite pencil is very versatile, it has many different capabilities, that produce many different results, all of them worth knowing about and worthy of taking a look, or even a second look, even if you have been drawing for years.

Everything we look at and see is a shape, that is often made up of other shapes, most of these shapes, change shape, when moved to different view points, this is the bulk substance, creating the three dimensional form of the shape. These can be created with two types of line, a linear or straight line and a curve. If you can draw these two types of line, you can draw, if you can draw stick figures you can draw. If you don’t draw more than stick figures, then you either don’t want to draw or don’t really know how.

The simple lines below, show some shapes and lines that can be drawn with a graphite pencil, it’s as it says, if you can write words, then you can draw straight lines and curves. If you can read then it’s even better and you’re lucky, because many people world wide, can’t.

A straight line and a curve, created a stick man.

Straight lines and curves, graphite pencil lines made with a 3b & HB pencil.

Graphite pencils 5b & 4b wooden type.

The simple lines above show, how simple it really is to draw lines and curves. None of them are outstanding, these lines have been made with HB and 4B, graphite pencils. But none of the full range of pencils, should ever be overlooked and as you can see, they are versatile, the lighter lines are with a HB, which is probably the most common of all and is a Hard Black, HB. Where as the darker lines, the word (yes), are made with a B4 pencil, which is in the B range of Blacks.

Mechanical Pencil with 3b graphite sticks.

Lets look at an exaggerated, three dimensional line drawing of a cup. These are common shapes using line and hatching to emphasize, the three dimensional form or shape of the cup using a 4B.

A single point persepctive drawing of a cup that is distorted.

You can also see the construction lines, drawn with a pencil, that where used to help create some of the out line or shape, using a single point perspective, this can also be used in a vertical direction to create a wheel shape.

Charcoal drawing of a 1967, Austin Healey

This is a charcoal drawing of a 1967 Austin Healey, 3000 Mk III, it was my first attempt at drawing a car using charcoal. The fact is it was my first attempt at using a charcoal pencil. Most of my work up until this point when using charcoal, was much bigger drawings and mostly life drawings. Charcoal drawings are good to draw because you can get very good tonal definition. Although the charcoal does not give you the same subtle tonal variation, you can get with a graphite pencil. This is mainly because it is usually very black or dark brown, almost black, where as graphite is grey but never quite reaches a black.

1967 Austin Healey 3000 Mk III charcoal drawing.

The other issue with graphite is the darker, the tones and thicker the layers of graphite are the reflective they are. This makes them seem lighter than the they actually are, at different angles because of the reflected light. Charcoal does not present this issue, as it is courser, producing little or no reflective qualities. Another issue with charcoal is, it is difficult to make very fine precise lines, partly because the material it’s self is quite soft and powdery. This issue can be improved considerably with compressed, harder charcoal or some harder charcoal pencils which I did not have when doing this drawing. The wheel spokes and some of the fine chrome details, would have benefited greatly from having some hard compressed charcoal pencils, when doing this drawing.

Charcoal drawing-size can be an issue.

The car was drawn onto A3, 300gsm watercolor paper, using the smooth side of the paper, the quality of the paper was not a problem but the size was. It would have been better if it was draw on A2 sized paper. This would have given me a bigger drawing area, so that the fine detail would not have needed to be so small. It would have reduced the need for very fine detailed lines.

The 1967 Austin Healey 3000 Mk III, charcoal drawing above, was drawn onto A3 water color paper, also with a little photo editing in this image, using PC software. This amounts to amounts to the darker faded area around the car being added. This gives the impression of it being under a spot light.

Charcoal drawing-better detail with marker pens.

The Austin Healey, 3000 Mk III, drawing below is not a charcoal drawing or graphite pencil drawing. It has been created with various grey marker pens. Slightly larger in size at A2, on 180gsm cartridge paper, it looks better because of it. There are no reflections of light from the marker pens but they have very nice tonal variations, with nice fine details. The issue with marker pens is that they tend to bleed through the paper. This makes the lines thicker than intended but because this was drawn on A2 paper, it compensated for the issue. The marker pens produced a nice drawing, that I was pleased with at the time. There are a few minor issues with it now, after reflecting on it but over all, it is a nice drawing that I am still pleased with.

Austin Healey 3000 MKIII Marker Pen Drawing
Austin Healey 3000 MKIII, this drawing is another example of the car but it was drawn with marker pens and not a charcoal drawing like the one above it.

The grid drawing below is of a Ford Mustang Shelby, GT 500, in graphite pencil. It was used as a construction drawing and was later was filled in using marker pens. It shows how neat and more precise the lines can be using a graphite pencil. It can be compared with the first drawing using charcoal.  The final drawing made from this also turned out well when finished in marker pens.

The  point to remember when when drawing, is size, it is much easier to draw a very fine detailed drawing, when doing it on a large drawing area, than it is when drawing in a small area, so size dose matter and large drawings will also look very impressive, to the onlooker.  If you are going to draw a charcoal drawing of a 1967, Austin Healey or any car with fine detail, then you will be best remembering, that bigger is better, size matters.