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Aki Hoshino
Charcoal, graphite
Canson Ingres Pearl

Please read disclaimer!

Click on images for larger version.

For this drawing…I worked out my layout on my computer. I mainly use Photoshop but a free Photoshop like program is paint.Net…just like Photoshop and free.

I crop, resize my reference, posterize it and make a black and white layer. I make the Photoshop version the exact same size as my drawing.

As I am constantly working on being a better draughtsman…I try to draw from the monitor freehand…almost always I have to add a grid to get things right but I always try my best freehand first…then use a grid.

I do this on tracing paper and it looks like a horrible mess…when I get everything right…I erase and clean up the drawing and then transfer it to my drawing paper using a homemade sheet of graphite paper…instead of carbon or other transfer papers.

I work all of the drawing at the same time…many graphite artists finish one little area at a time…I don’t know how they do it…for me it is best to work all of it at the same time.

I use scrap paper under my hand so I don’t smear everything.

Here my drawing is transferred and I started crosshatching with a 2b mechanical pencil.
I usually work crosshatching…blending with a tissue or stump…erase with kneaded eraser and repeat this over and over.

I bought some Nero pencils and am going to try them out on her hair…starting in hair with them and found out quickly that they don’t blend very well.

The contrast is high so you can see...it appears harsher than it really is.


Still using the Nero pencils in the hair…you can see they don’t blend well…one of the reasons for trying Nero is it is waxy and shiny…thought that it would help hair around the highlights.

Notice the highlights in the hair are worked out with nothing in them yet…the pony tail on the left will be flat black…hoping to make it recede and less important.

The skin is lightly blended with a lotion free tissue…I am trying to get some kimwipes to try. I started placing some white charcoal on the areas facing the light.

For white I use from less white to brightest…general’s white charcoal pencil, Faber-Castel pastel, nupastel stick and the brightest Stabilo-CarbOthello pastel pencil.

Generals white charcoal is the darkest of the whites and harder to apply…what I usually do is starting with it first and then I erase it and it leaves the paper brighter and you see no white.

Then the next lighter value I crosshatch with the generals or Faber-Castel pastel white and I blend with a stump or tissue or chamois… lightest using Stabilo-CarbOthello pastel pencil.

Notice the two rings around her neck…if you look all women have these yet many artists miss them.

Crosshatch, blend and erase and concentrating on turning forms trying for a 3d look as my skills will let me.

  Crosshatch, blend and erase.

I will blend her hand slightly but do no more to it…I want you to look at her eyes not her hand. When I cropped it this way…I was thinking it would lead the viewer into the drawing and to her eyes…that’s the idea anyway. To my way of thinking…since we read left to right I think this is also how we view a picture…so I try for something not to detailed to lead you in from the left and then the focal point…but then again maybe next week I will think something else.

Adding hightlight to the cylinder shaped neck and trying to keep the two rings.
Trying to make left shoulder go back and right forward.

Start with 6b generals charcoal in the eyes.

Skin…erasing white…4b mechicanial pencil and a sharp 8b Staedtler Lumograph pencil with a light touch.

More Nero and hb generals charcoal pencils in the hair and shiny hightlights still bare paper.

Crosshatch, blend and erase.

Hair…I just drew some hairs in the highlights and didn’t blend…using Nero pencils…hb and 6b generals charcoal pencils.

Skin…still erasing out the white and used 2h for the hair shadows on her check…I was lucky…it was a good guess on what to use.

Eyes…4h to shade the whites of the eyes…white on the ledge on lower eyelid…white in iris and white Stabilo-CarbOthello pencil for highlights.

I use the CarbOthello pencil for the highlights in eyes…I press it against my tongue, (its safe as it is really calcium carbonate) hold it straight up and down and twist…leaves a beautiful round highlight…sometimes takes several tries…I just scrape it off with a craft knife and do it again.

Hardest part with white and black charcoal when it mixes it turns a dirty blue.

  I called it done…I usually add a background but chickened out and left it.

Final touches all over…areas that were too dark, (cleavage) I used a chamois to lighten the graphite…I tend to over work areas and the chamois can always smooth and lighten my sometimes heavy hand.

I am slow and I spend 20-40 or more hours on a portrait.

I hope this work in progress helps you in some way…if nothing else entertainment.

I can’t express how much my life has changed and how much I enjoy drawing even if it doesn’t turn out…

Thank you
© Copyright 2006 Jeffery L. Berry