Toad Hollow Studio's Drawing Tutorials And Classes by Carol Rosinski

Drawing Lesson for Beginners - Draw a Smoothie

A pencil technique lesson: How to create a smooth layer of graphite.

A Pencil Drawing - The Train
The Train - A Pencil Drawing
(an example of smooth drawing technique)

drawing technique
An example of what you will be drawing in this lesson.

A huge part of drawing is simply learning how to make the pencil do what you want it to do, and this lesson is designed to help you do that.


HB pencil
Kneaded eraser
Smooth drawing paper or Bristol Board

Before You Begin

  • Make five one inch squares on the drawing paper. (It may be easier to make a block of six like I have.)
  • Keep the pencil sharply pointed during the exercise.

Step One - How To Swing A Pencil

  • Hatch a layer of graphite in the first box, but do it with only one layer of graphite.
    • Keep a light writing grip on the pencil -- about one or two inches above the point.
    • Fill the box with back and forth motions creating swaths of graphite about one half inch wide.
    • The movement should originate in your elbow and not your wrist. Your hand and arm should swing just off the paper from your elbow. (You will be able to make this motion for longer periods as you practice more.)

Step Two - And Once Again

  • Do the same thing in the second square. You should see some improvement but if you don't, that's OK.

Step Three - Blend The Hatch Edges

  • Fill the third box with one layer of graphite again, but this time blend the edges of the swatches into each other by overlapping them a bit.
    • You can do that while you're drawing or afterwards.

Step Four - Once More With Feeling

  • Fill in the forth square using as many hatch layers as you like.
  • Use the sharp pencil tip to even out dark streaks by touching up the areas between them.

Step Five - Locate That Eraser

  • In the final square, use the kneaded eraser too.
    • Pinch the kneaded eraser into a point and gently tap out any dark smudges and spots.
    • If you make any areas too light, fill them back in with the the sharp pencil tip.
    • My fifth square looks lighter and smoother than the others because I took out the dark streaks and smudges. Try for a similar result.

You probably found this exercise challenging (and a little dull), but practicing simple drawing techniques like this teaches you control and makes any technique easier. Practice is the key to good drawing.

The train at the top of this page was drawn almost entirely with this method.


Carol Rosinski
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Drawing Made Easy, Getting Started by Carol Rosinski
My book Drawing Made Easy; Getting Started

Toad Hollow Studio - Teaching how to draw since 1999