The goal of many artists is to create photorealistic drawings. The best photorealistic drawings look like a photograph, and it's only upon closer examination that the viewer realises that the drawing isn't a photo. To achieve this, you must have just as much patience as you do artistic skill. Although many artists can draw photorealistic objects freehand, many rely on using a grid to capture the exact proportions of the object.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Reference photo
- Drawing paper
- Blending stumps
Take a photograph of the object you're drawing. Capture intimate details of the object. For example, if it's a portrait, get close to the subject's face so that you see details such as freckles or the individual hairs of the eyebrows.
Print off an 8-by-10-inch or larger copy of the photo.
Create a grid on the photo. Draw 3/4-inch squares; the smaller the squares, the easier it is to capture the details required for photorealism.
Draw another grid on the drawing paper, using pencil to make the marks. It should possess the same dimensions and number of squares as the one on your photo.
Locate the square on the photo that contains the highest point on the object you're drawing. For example, if you're drawing a horse, look for the grid square that has the horse's ear. Count the squares until you know its location. For example, the ear is positioned in the fourth square down from the top and the eighth square in from the left-hand side.
Find the corresponding square on your gridded drawing paper.
Notice how the lines forming the object curve and angle within the grid square. Observe how they intersect the walls of the square, but also how they interplay with one another. Trace the lines with your pencil's tip if you need to; this gives you a feel for the lines.
Make a line drawing of the photo's grid square in the paper's square. Replicate the lines. Recreate their curves and angles. Draw what you see. If you mis-draw a line, erase it and draw it again. Take your time with this stage; this sets the foundation for the photorealistic drawing.
Fill in the remaining grid squares. Utilise the grid in the same way, creating line drawings in each of the squares. Pay attention to the minutest of elements like a little scar near the corner of an eye, the wrinkle in the fold of a collar or a chip in the side of a teacup.
Erase the grid on the gridded paper.
Use the side of your pencil's lead to shade the drawing. Analyse the light and dark spots on the drawing; the proper use of shading gives your drawing the three-dimensional look you're after when creating photorealistic drawings. Mark all of the places that require shading with light shade marks, moving your pencil from side to side. Once you have these areas mapped out, darken the spots that require darkening. Finally, blend the shaded areas using a blending stump and/or tortillon. These rolled pieces of paper will give skin, glass and metal a smooth, realistic look.
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