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Traditional Tutorial: Sketching Tips

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By CGCookie   |   
© 2015 - 2020 CGCookie

Watch the Full Free Video Tutorial HERE

Tutorial: Portrait Painting

Artist: Tim Von Rueden (vonn)

In this tutorial I will show you how I take a look at sketching in a sketchbook and some tips I’ve learned along the way. While everyone has their own process on traditionally sketching with either pencils, pens, markers, paints, whatever it may be, it’s important that even though you may work primarily digitally to still work your traditional skills. They compliment one another and if you work at improving one, you will see a difference just from your visual eyes are more developed!

What tools am I using?

  1. I switch between three pencils depending on what the subject matter is: .7 (typically mechanical pencil) .5 and .3 mm pencils
  2. Standard sketchbook, honestly as long as the paper isn’t too thin, most sketchbooks will handle well.
  3. Kneaded Rubber Eraser (the one that looks like grey silly putty)
Image size
3002x2616px 1.85 MB
anonymous's avatar
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lokifan50's avatar
lokifan50Hobbyist General Artist
this is so useful :D going back into drawing and i found this so useful :D
PrisonerOnEarth's avatar
PrisonerOnEarthProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for this tutorial, it made me want to put down my stylus and pick up an actual pencil again :)
Merc-King's avatar
How do you ink your drawing? Do you just use ink over the penciled lines or you use tranparent paper over it?
CGCookie's avatar
CGCookieProfessional Digital Artist
Actually Tim never inks his drawings, all of his works are done digitally unless he does them on his sketchpad which is always done in pencil. Hope that answers your question! -Joe
Merc-King's avatar
Ah thank you. I thought he's a full traditional artist.
CGCookie's avatar
CGCookieProfessional Digital Artist
I prefer both but here is my full gallery in case you were curious:
GuardianOfCosplay's avatar
GuardianOfCosplayHobbyist Photographer
Thank you for sharing! Brilliant tutorial!
grenader1's avatar
Great process, thanks for sharing knowledge
BestRengarS5's avatar
what is a mechanical pencil?
ShadowSketch91's avatar
ShadowSketch91Hobbyist General Artist
i actually saw Tim using that drawing in a Tut going from traditional to digital, awesome video, but i'd suggest using layer masks instead of removing anything from the layer itself, as that actually erases it and can destroy the original layer beyond repair. other then that, i already use a .3 and .5 for sketching xD
taivalsin's avatar
I`ve always been specifically taught NOT to use mechanical pencil with traditional works, and I have no idea why. XD It looks just as great or maybe even better. 
Ensaru64's avatar
Ensaru64Hobbyist General Artist
Mechanical pencils tends to give off the effect of having to neatly draw, which sometimes prevents you from learning to incorporate mistakes into your drawing least that's what I was taught. Not that I have a problem with mechanical pencils.

I prefer the regular pencil. In my opinion, I can vary the weight and depth of lines and shadows with ease and it just feels natural to me. Mechanical pencils are cool when I want something to look exactly how I pictured it, when I'n not looking for line variation and when I don't wanna be sharpening constantly.

I've been taught to make mistakes, then pick off the ones you don't wanna keep. 
taivalsin's avatar
Yeah, I prefer regular pencil too. It`s somehow easier to use and all the lines don`t need to be so accurate when sketching. ^^ I love to create shadows by smudging the lines ~ 
fumiko96's avatar
fumiko96Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is good! Thank you ~ ヾ(@゜▽゜@)ノ
A-M-A-P's avatar
A-M-A-PProfessional Digital Artist
I have featured you here in my Tutorials section! FantasyLegends 
Thank you so much for your contributions to the community and for this fantastic tutorial!! :D
LostbunniesofWendy's avatar
LostbunniesofWendyProfessional Traditional Artist
Why this doesn't have comments? This work is amazing sir! 
donwhitt's avatar
donwhittHobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks so much. I just started last year at 40. I had an art class in 11th grade. But she didn't care. Soooo, anything I picked up it was from great people like you. Thanks for the information!
Eillon's avatar
it makes me happy to know that people start later on sometimes, most of the people i know that are artistically inclined have been very good since they were very little and that always dampened my desire to draw, since i didnt start when i was really young.
gamestar10's avatar
I'm starting at 42. There's hope for me, yet!
donwhitt's avatar
donwhittHobbyist Digital Artist
artReall's avatar
artReallHobbyist General Artist
like this!^^ I was just wondering I should practice traditional have sketchbook but never though of mechanical pencil!^^ LOLZ facepalm
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