Monochromatic Female Portrait, Testing New Paper

Step by Step

In this photo you can see I have sketched out my basic line drawing, I used a Derwent HB graphite pencil to do this. I am trying out some new paper so I am interested to see how well it holds up to the amount of layers of pencil I lay on top of it. The paper is a heavy weight inkjet paper made by Epson and is 167g/m, its not made for drawing on but when i ran a few tests, I was vey impressed with it, so this see what happens!


I have masked off around the edges so it will give me a nice white border once I remove the tape at the end of my drawing. As you can see I have started to lay in my first layer of pencil, I am using a Prismacolor black pencil for this part. All I am doing at this stage is covering as much of the white paper as I can by filling in all the dark areas. Don't go to dark, always check your values with your reference image to make sure you remain lighter at this stage.

Heres a close up to give you an idea of the texture I am getting from this new paper, its very smooth and is easy to blend but I am starting to notice it has its limits, I will need to tread very carful as the tooth on the paper is starting to give up, which means I wont be able to layer much more on top

Moving into the nose area I am using one of the grey sets Prismacolor offer in there range called "Warm Grey Set" they also do a "Cold Grey Set" but i like the look and finish of the warm grey for this project. I felt confident enough now to darken in the lower black area, looking at my reference photo it was just a big black shape so I just went with it. The picture doesn't really show the finish very well but the wax pencil on this paper is leaving a undesirable glossy finish with is showing a lot of my pencil strokes, some people like this look but its not for me, I will use my finger to push down on the surface and try and blend it in some more to hide those pencil marks.

I angled the camera in this photo to try and show you those pencil marks I was talking about, if you look to the eye closest to her hand you can see the marks BUT my good old finger seems to blend it and smooth it out, so if you use this paper remember to use you finger if you don't want to see the pencil strokes.

When I am working on a face I always try to keep my reference very close so I can continuously look at it to avoid making mistakes, plus I am really lazy and cant be bothered to keep turning my head to look for the photo reference. Try to think about the form of the face when colouring in, remember the nose pushes forward and the eyes are slightly set back, make sure to show this in your drawing.


I have started to fill in the background as I was starting to get a little frustrated with the paper, the tooth has completely gone and I wanted to layer some more in the face but its not letting me....some you win some you lose, I have managed to get it to a place I can live with and move on


Some people on social media where asking me how I made her stocking glove look so silky, when drawing I try not to look at it as anything other than shapes and values, if I start thinking of it as hair or a silky glove it puts me off and I start to draw how my brain thinks it should look, a BIG no no in photo realism, draw what you see, not what you no, NEVER trust your brain, it lies to you


So moving into the hair, this was the bit i was looking forward to, when testing this paper it worked fantastic when I used my scalpel blade on it, it allowed me to remove fine little details without any snags or rips in the paper, it was awesome. If you look to the side of the hair you can see I have started to scratch away at the pencil to leave fantastic fine details which make her hair look not only realistic but shiny. I will continue this process of layering and scratching unto the hair is fully finished.

So I am in the final steps of my drawing, Just a few more bits to adjust and I will then remove all the tape, frame it and take a photo of it and add it into my portfolio for you all to see.


My verdict on the paper, well... theres no such thing as the perfect paper but this was surprisingly very good considering it's made for printing and not drawing. I like to add lots of layers of pencil and blend, blend, blend, this paper had its limit and if you don't tread carefully you could end up getting frustrated and giving up. The ability it gave me to scratch away at the small details was very impressive, I'll give this paper a 8/10 give it a go, it could be just what you are looking for.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask

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