Learn Pencil Drawing Techniques Cezanne Would Love

Take You Pencil Drawing Techniques to The Next Level

Eye Drawing Technique
Use of line in eye drawing. Getty Images

So, you’re pretty good with a pencil, huh? You’re tight with graphite? Your friends and family proudly frame the drawings and sketches you do for them?

But you want to learn more...
How can you challenge your art to make your pencil drawing technique better? Well, you have the first step already accomplished: you came here with a thirst for knowledge. That’s the most important part of being a good artist: recognizing that there is always something new to learn and explore. The artist who thinks they’ve mastered everything has lost the curiosity necessary to be a great artist.

Learn to Use Different Pencil Types

One of the things I fell into as an intermediate artist was always using the same pencil for everything. H2? HB? 2B? They were just letters and numbers on pencils at the craft store. I didn’t think they were important. I thought I didn’t need different pencils for different jobs. I even (don’t judge me!) used the same pencil to create art as I did to take notes: a simple mechanical pencil.
Now, when you’re a beginner, you can learn pencil drawing techniques with whatever tool you have. The convenience and cost of a twenty pack of mechanical pencils is perfect for starting out.
You’re not a beginner anymore, though! You’ve leveled up, so it’s time to level up your tools too. Your art will be more dynamic when you integrate pencils of varied harness and softness into your work.

Study Different Approaches to Techniques You Already Know

Sometimes in intermediate pencil drawing, we fall into a rut of doing every drawing the same as we did the last. Because we’re no longer beginners, we have a set of skills and habits to fall back on, and fall back we do.
The best approach to moving forward is to stop doing things the way you’re used to and try something new.

One of the easiest ways to diversify your portfolio and push yourself as a pencil sketch artist is to sample different methods of shading. Rather than doing the same old shading you put into every drawing, give cross-hatching, dot-work, or physically blending your lead with a fingertip a try.
You can also make your new approach a physical one. Have you never drawn sitting in a park? Get yourself off your couch and head outside. Have you never sketched standing up or on a giant pad of paper? Do so!
Diversifying your movements is also important. One of the common habits of beginning artists is drawing small and stiff. Pencil drawing works best when it comes from the shoulder instead of the wrist. Get your whole arm involved in your art! Because tiny drawings don’t serve this motion well, get bigger paper and go big or go home. As a bonus, you’ll also quickly find it’s easier to capture proportion when your art is larger.

Buff Up On Anatomy and Such

For a long time, I relied on a grid system for completing portrait drawings. It was how as a beginner I got a feel for human shape without having to take a course in anatomy.
Except now I want to improve my pencil drawing technique, which means it’s time for me to understand the elements of what I’m drawing rather than focusing on the final picture.
For a long time, one of the Beginner’s Fallacies I believed in was that the end result is more important than the components of a drawing. This is incorrect. To become a better artist, it’s vital that you know why shadows go in certain places; why bodies align the way they do; and why the foreground is darker than the background.
Learn about human anatomy. Research fundamentals of perspective. Study the science of light. Invest some time in getting to know your subject matter. Having a better understanding of the real world will not only make it easier for you to translate it to paper, but it will also make your art look more authentic.