By Harold Brooks
This is a portrait study "Amanda" using Graphite on Stonehenge print making paper.
Rendering, Phase 1: The process of advanced rendering of the subject with light and shadow
Having established the line drawing, I can now begin the rendering process. I mass in, block-in, all my shadow shapes together with the same light tone or value before I find the differences within the shadows and forms.
Rendering, Phase 2: Developing the forms and shadows at each tonal level
Once I have blocked in the shadow shapes through the entire drawing, I can proceed with the further development of the forms and shadows, one tonal level at a time. This is much like a black & white photo slowly developing in the tray in a dark-room. Patience is key at this phase.
Rendering, Phase 3: Pushing the shadows to the light
I continue to develop the forms of the head, the shirt, and the drapery, pushing the shadow values towards the light areas.
Rendering, Phase 4: Building up the background and the layers
At this stage, I have ground up my own graphite powder using 7B, 8B, and 9B leads. These are the darker, richer, range of graphite leads. I have also cut a mask to protect the drawing when I apply the graphite powder. Using a soft cotton cloth, I gently apply the graphite to the background.
Patience is key here again. Think in layers of graphite to get the full range of dark values. Gradually glaze the graphite onto the paper. About every third layer, I lightly apply a workable fix to build up an additional surface for applying graphite. You may have to apply up to 12 layers to get the full range of values!
Rendering, Final Phases:
I develop the back-drop drapery, using various erasers and stumps to create the effects of the light. I make further refinements of the head, shirt, hands, and drapery on the chair.
I hope this tutorial was helpful!
If you have any questions, please visit my Drawing Blog!
- Harold Brooks
Harold Brooks is a full-time professional Illustrator and Visual Artist. He also instructs a life-drawing class at The New York Academy of Art. He resides in New York City, NY.
You can see more of his work, tutorials, and blog at: