Basic Drawing Skills – George Clooney

I’m including 2 versions of the George Clooney portrait.  One is a ‘work in progress’ which I’m putting up here to illustrate the steps involved in the shading process.  In general it is much better to build up your darks by applying more light layers of graphite.  The portrait tends to have much more depth and a more satisfying overall look when it is done this way.  When we just press really hard especially with a soft pencil we achieve and instant dark but it tends to look garish and over the top.

If you have the patience to apply 5 or 6 light layers I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by the look.

Good luck to all.

2 thoughts on “Basic Drawing Skills – George Clooney

  1. shelley

    Very interesting, Rex. It’s interesting to see a painterly technique used for drawing. I had never thought of drawing in this way. It’s funny to me, because I’ve found that coming from a drawing background, my paintings suffered because they were more like drawings done with paint because I hadn’t learned to build up an image in layers the way trained painters do. Now to see that applied to drawing is making me think of drawing in a new way. The things I learn from you!

    1. Rex Beanland Post author

      Great timely comment. It’s funny because I so often think of shading a drawing as painting. With the work in progress image I kept referring to that first layer of light shading as an underpainting because that’s exactly what it is and like with painting certainly watercolour painting I get more satisfying results when I build up the image starting with a light wash and then adding progressively darker washes.


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