Drawing Realism: 7 Pro Tips for Creating Realistic Drawings

Imagine being able to capture the world around you in stunning, photorealistic detail with just a pencil and paper. The ability to create realistic drawings, or drawing realism, is a skill that can be mastered with practice, patience, and the right techniques. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of choosing the right art supplies, understanding proportions and perspective, and mastering shading techniques to bring your drawings to life.

Short Summary

Choose the right art supplies to bring your drawings to life!

Master proportions, perspective and shading techniques for realistic results.

Utilize reference images and practice regularly to improve your skills in creating stunningly realistic artwork.

Choosing the Right Art Supplies for Realistic Drawing


The foundation of any great realistic drawing starts with the right art supplies. It's essential to invest in high-quality pencils, paper, and erasers that will allow you to bring your artistic vision to life.

Let's explore the key components of your drawing toolkit and discover which products are best for creating stunning, realistic drawings.


The first and most important tool in your arsenal is the pencil. Derwent Graphic Drawing Pencils and Pentel Mechanical Pencils are highly recommended for creating realistic drawings. They offer a range of hardness grades, from soft 2B to 8B, which are perfect for creating texture and a wide range of tones.

Soft pencils like these are particularly great for adding depth and achieving a wide range of tones in your artwork. By using the right pencil, you're one step closer to unlocking your artistic skills and creating impressive, detailed drawings.


The surface on which you create your masterpiece is just as crucial as the tools you use. The type of paper you choose can make a significant difference in the final outcome of your artwork. Smooth papers, such as A3 Daler-Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge Paper, Bristol board, and Strathmore, are great choices for realistic drawing.

For the best results, we recommend using a paper thickness of at least 150 g/m, and ideally 180 g/m or more. By choosing the right drawing paper, you're setting the stage for a beautiful, realistic drawing that will stand the test of time.


Erasers are often overlooked, but they're an essential part of the drawing process. They can be used not only to correct mistakes, but also as a drawing tool to create highlights and refine details. For larger areas, a kneadable eraser is ideal, as it can be molded into any shape to help erase small details that a normal eraser can't.

For fine lines, an eraser pen is a fantastic option, while a battery eraser can tackle those tiny details to make your drawing come to life. With the right erasers in your toolkit, you'll be able to create intricate, detailed, and realistic drawings with ease.

Understanding Proportions and Perspective


Proportions and perspective are key elements in creating realistic drawings. Accurate proportions help ensure that your subject appears lifelike and true to form. Perspective, on the other hand, allows you to capture images from difficult angles and create truly remarkable pictures. Mastering these aspects of drawing will help you create accurate and striking realistic drawings.

One way to achieve accurate proportions and perspective in your drawings is by employing the grid method. This technique involves breaking down complex drawings into simpler elements by enlarging or reducing an image to a string of tiny squares. Using a grid can help you maintain the correct proportions and ensure that your drawings are precise.

Reference images are another valuable tool for ensuring accuracy in your drawings. By using a high-quality reference image, you can easily spot the differences between shadows and highlights, as well as make textures stand out more. This will help you accurately position your subject's facial features and capture the unique nuances that make your drawing truly realistic.

Mastering Shading Techniques


Shading techniques are essential for creating realistic drawings, as they help recreate light and shadows on a three-dimensional object, creating the illusion of depth and volume. By understanding how light behaves, you can accurately capture tonal shapes and establish the key of a drawing, which is essential for creating realistic drawings and developing tonal values to properly capture the form.

One of the most effective shading techniques is cross-hatching in layers. This method involves applying strokes in different directions to create texture and depth. Another technique to consider is blending with a stump, which allows you to create smooth transitions between different values and achieve a more polished look. Experiment with cross-hatching and blending to find the perfect shading technique for your unique artistic style.

Remember that blending everything with a paper stump or tortillon can result in a beautiful, smudged mess. To create an interesting and engaging drawing, it's essential to balance blended areas with hard edges. This mixture of hard and soft edges will make your drawing more lifelike and visually appealing.

Creating Depth with Light and Shadow


Creating depth with light and shadow is essential for bringing your realistic drawings to life. By using light and shadow effectively, you can capture the illusion of three-dimensional forms on a two-dimensional surface and make your drawings appear more lifelike. To achieve this, it's important to understand the behavior of light and how it interacts with objects in your scene.

One way to create strong contrast in your pencil drawings is by using toned paper and dark pencils, such as Mars Lumagraph Black pencils. This will help you achieve deep shadows and enhance the overall appearance of your drawing. If your drawing appears too light, you can also use a fixative to darken the lighter areas.

By paying close attention to light and shadow, you can create a sense of depth and realism in your artwork.

Capturing Texture and Detail

Texture and detail are important elements that can bring a sense of realism and depth to your drawings. By focusing on the intricate details of your subject, you can create a more convincing and lifelike representation of the scene. However, it's essential to strike a balance between capturing details and not becoming too focused on them, as this can lead to a loss of the overall composition and make the drawing appear flat and lifeless.

A 0.3mm Pentel Mechanical Pencil is an excellent tool for drawing fine lines and capturing intricate details in your artwork. By using fine lines and carefully observing your reference image, you can recreate the subtle textures and details that make your drawing appear more realistic and engaging.

The Role of Reference Images in Realistic Drawing


Reference images play a crucial role in creating realistic drawings by providing a visual guide for artists to follow. They can help you accurately capture the proportions, perspective, and details of your subject, making your drawing more convincing and lifelike. When selecting reference images, make sure to choose high-quality photos that clearly show the subject's features and the interplay of light and shadow.

When starting your realistic drawing, it's helpful to begin with the focal point, which is often the eyes or another important feature of the subject. By getting the most important feature correct from the start, you'll have a strong foundation for the rest of your drawing and make the process easier and more enjoyable.

By using reference images and starting with the focal point, you'll be well on your way to creating stunning, realistic drawings.

Practicing and Improving Your Realistic Drawing Skills


Practice and improvement are essential for mastering the art of realistic drawing. The more you practice, the more you'll refine your skills and develop your own unique style. Start by focusing on small, consistent steps and experiment with different techniques and art supplies to discover what works best for you. Remember that even the most skilled artists continue to learn and grow throughout their careers, so don't be discouraged if your progress seems slow at times.

Some tips for practicing and improving your realistic drawing skills include choosing a starting point, learning how to hold a pencil correctly, determining the light source, and using a grid to maintain proportion and perspective. As you continue to practice and refine your skills, you'll find that your realistic drawings become more lifelike and impressive, leaving a lasting impression on those who view your artwork.


In conclusion, mastering the art of realistic drawing requires patience, practice, and the right tools and techniques. By choosing the right art supplies, understanding proportions and perspective, mastering shading techniques, and using reference images, you'll be well on your way to creating stunning, lifelike drawings. Remember that practice and experimentation are key to honing your skills and developing your unique artistic style. So pick up your pencil and start drawing – the world of realistic art awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start drawing realism?

If you're looking to create realistic drawings, start by gathering the right art supplies and light sketching with an emphasis on larger shapes. Work to blend value transitions smoothly and forget about visible lines in real life.

With practice, you'll be able to craft beautiful works of realism.

Is realism the hardest to draw?

Though realism can be challenging, capturing details in a portrait can make the art work come alive. Realism certainly takes practice and patience, but with enough effort any artist can learn to draw realistically.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide how difficult real life is.

How would you define drawing realism?

Drawing realism is a drawing technique where the artist pays close attention to accurate details and true-to-life colours in order to create a lifelike representation of their subject. It requires skill, practice, and patience to master this style of art.

Realism is a popular style of art, and it can be used to create stunning works of art that capture the beauty of the subject. With dedication and practice, anyone can learn to draw realistically.

Is drawing realistic easy?

No, drawing realistically is not easy. But it's definitely something that can be learned with time and practice. With the right tips and techniques, you'll have a better understanding of how to accurately create beautiful pieces of art.

So take your time, don't give up and keep at it - you'll be surprised by the results you can achieve!