Foundational Guide To Realistic Drawing

Foundational Guide To Realistic Drawing

Realistic drawing may seem EXTREMELY hard to you, but if you just take it one step at a time and practice a lot, you can make beautiful pictures that look like photographs!  Now, I’m no expert on realistic drawing since I’ve only done it about 5 times total.  But I wanted to show you guys how I do realistic drawing and how simple it can be.

Mine, as you can see, does not look perfect, nor does it look quite like a photograph, but I can see how I’m getting better each time I do it and I’m having fun at the same time!  I hope by reading this very basic, fundamental guide, you will have the essential knowledge and some confidence to try your own hand at realistic drawing.  So let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

I actually used very few tools for this drawing.  I normally use about 5 or 6 different hardness graphite pencils, but I only used a mechanical pencil and a Prismacolor Ebony graphite pencil. The other tools I used are: a kneaded rubber eraser, a normal plastic eraser, and Strathmore 300 Series Drawing Paper.


Get Started!

Now that you have all your supplies, you’ll need a picture to reference.  I just used Pinterest and looked up “black and white kids photography.”  I find it a lot easier to reference a photo that’s already in black and white.  However, if you have a color photo, you can just change it to black and white.  This is the picture that I’ll be using.  I chose this one because there’s not too many details to the face since she’s a child.  Also theres not a ton of flow hair that will be hard to capture and she’s just really cute!

Firstly, I created a very light, very basic out line of the face with my mechanical pencil, drawing a light line down the middle of her face and a horizontal line to show where the eyes should be. 

I then lightly sketched the eyes, eyebrows, nose, and lips.  (Notice I keep saying “lightly”?  It’s super important for the first few steps to sketch lightly so that you can erase and change your lines if needed)

Then I started lightly shading in where the shadows should be, still using my mechanical pencil.  I’m not bothering with the hair or hair bow too much right now; just focus on the face first.

I next started to add detail and dimension to the eyes by adding dark and light contrast.  (A big part of realistic drawing is making dark lines very dark and light lines light so that it gives your drawing lots of contrast!) I also shaded in the lips and added more shading to the left side of the face and under the chin.  I sketched in the braid and headband.

It looks like a big jump from the last step to this one, but it’s really not!  I just shaded in the hair completely, shaded the left side of the face more drastically, smoothed the shading around the eye with my finger, and added slight shading to the nose.

For this last step, I just made the darks darker and used an eraser to lighten up a few places.  Then I was finished! 

Obviously, it’s not perfect and I can see the places I should have changed, but overall, I’m pretty happy with this drawing!  I think it looks somewhat like the original picture.  Hopefully I’ll get better as I keep practicing!

I hope this gave you an idea about what realistic drawing is achieved and you now have the inspiration to try your own realistic drawing!

Have you ever done a realistic drawing? Do you like drawing with graphite or colored pencils?

❤️ Rachel

  • I literally saw this in your room every time I went in there and was just TAKEN ABACK BY THE BEAUTY. I thought it was something you printed offline, like a character sketch for a book or something!! <3

  • Aww thanks girl! 🙂

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