Ten useful tips for pencil drawing

Always start shading from top to bottom. If you have to go back and adjust something, always have a piece of paper underneath your hand to prevent any grease getting onto your drawing.

Equipment quality
Use good quality drawing paper. Drawing a masterpiece on a poor piece of paper is never a good idea.

To keep in check with your drawing and make sure that you are on the right track, you can check your proportions by looking at your work reflected in a mirror, turned upside down or by taking a photograph of it. Try this out, it is a very useful trick.

Plastic erasers are useful, they are more accurate than rubber erasers. The erasers in a pen form are handy if you create detailed pencil work. Battery erasers are usually a little more aggressive but can get the job done. Kneadable or putty erasers are also unmissable and can be kneaded in to the acquired shape with your fingers. They also act as a good stress reliever!

Density of lead
The hardness or softness of your lead is of great importance. The softer your lead (2B and upwards), the more they will smudge and the blacker they get. The harder leads will obviously smudge less. But a hard lead over a soft lead can cause dramatic effects and make the soft lead even darker without pressing to hard. A general tin of good quality pencils ranging from 8H to 8B is always handy.

Clean it up!
Always clean up your drawing when you’ve finished, this looks much better than smudges all over the place.

Smudge it!
Doezelaars, torcheons or stumps as they are called in different languages, are basically rolled up pieces of paper, these are used to smear lead out instead of using your fingers. Fingers can have greece on them, contaminating or smudging your drawing. They get rid of drawing lines and soften edges. These can be re-sharpened to a point with a craft knife. For larger areas a soft tissue can be used.

Wings and brushes
There used to be wings from real birds to brush away eraser crumbs, these are no more available so use a soft brush instead of your hands for brushing away excess eraser crumbs.

Fix your drawing as you work, with workable fixative. There are several different kinds on the market. This is a spray which prevents smearing, it can be erased and you can draw over it. Only fix your work permanently when you are sure you’ve finished it.

Sign it
Don’t forget your signature and date on your artwork.