Picture of How to make an awesome pencil sketch of any photograph
I draw things. A lot of things. But drawing or sketching is not a gift, but rather a skill that can be learned. Try these techniques and be prepared to AMAZE your friends and family at what a good artist you are!

In this instructable, I will be walking you through how to take any photograph and make a kick-ass large-format sketch out of it, suitable for framing, gift giving, or impressing that girl/guy you wanna shag. Cuz lets face it: drawing is sexy, baby, yeah! Grrrr!

Step 1: Assemble your art supplies

Picture of Assemble your art supplies
To start with, you will need to go to your local art store to get the items that you don't already have. I am going to assume that you are like most people and don't have a single item except maybe a number 2 pencil. Oh, and you will need scissors and scotch tape in a few steps, but I assume that you have that stuff.

Here is a list of what i recommend you get in order to successfully complete this instructable:

Required supplies:

-sketch pencils in different hardnesses: HB, 2B, 4B, 6B (and 8B optional) = $5
-a sketch pad that is 18" by 24" = $10
-1/2" drafting masking tape = $4
-a pad of tracing paper 9" x 12" = $3
-a good wad of kneaded eraser = $2
-a "Tuff Stuff" eraser stick = $2
-dry cleaning eraser pad = $4
-a foxtail (aka drafting duster) = $3
-assorted paper stumps for shading = $2
-prismacolor pencil sharpener = $4
-erasing shield = $1

Total required supplies: $40

Optional supplies, in order of importance:

-small pencil case for pencils and erasers = $2
-larger pencil case for small pencil case, eraser shield, and dry cleaning eraser pad =$3
-sketch pad board 23"x26" = $10
-stand-up easel for displaying your finished work like a pro= $20
-nylon portfolio bag 23" x 31" = $22

Total optional supplies: $57

Total recommended supplies: $97
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MoshaffaB8 days ago
RichaA116 days ago

Really appreciate your work. This helps me a lot. I have created some sketches of leaf on a youtube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd6xANmbqgHQzSvrjyo5XoQ . and https://richaartclub.blogspot.com/
Thank You friends, your tutorial helped me a lot :)

photoskills2 months ago
Thanks so much for this so helful! I really wanted to do a sketch of grav3yardgirl in one of her recent vids!
sazad alam2 months ago
Please give me suggestions
meghna211 year ago

i wanted to learn to sketch not trace

bcox17 meghna213 months ago
this is one i did of my daughter i (traced) the basic features very lightly then just shaded everything and built it up entirely by looking at the photo and sketching accordingly then blended smooth with blend stump and a little tough with a white pencil here and there
bcox17 meghna213 months ago
ive been a professional tattoo artist for over 16 years now the only way your gonna learn to draw without tracing and trust me when i say this is, practice practice practice. Practice drawing things that you would normally never draw practice drawing things that you never think anyone else would have you draw practice drawing the most random things you can see at that exact moment in the room things like a jar of Vaseline a roll of toilet paper a light bulb I drew a dremel tool with a roll of duct tape and Swiss Army knife one time you could get those random things they're going to develop your prospective and dimensions and the way you see shadows lights and darks and that's the only way you can ever train your hand to be coordinated enough with your imagination to exicute a one of a kind piece that only you could visualize beforehand. Now after 16 years as a professional artist and over 20 years as an artist in general it might finally starting to be able to just imagine an image and bring it to life even now a lot of times just out of sheer laziness I have to Google reference images and while I'm looking at the image on my phone draw my own interpretation of it on the paper but they only came from countless hours in years the practice mostly of times when I really didn't feel all that artistic I admit it does come a lot easier for some people there is a such thing as a natural I wasn't blessed as much as those people are most of mine skill set now came from just being lazy and trying to avoid all the preparation time it takes to completed some images. sorry if i sound discouraging i don't mean to be i love to see anyone inspired enough to sacrifice that much time and be determined enough to master any art form for no other reason or motivation than their passion for it cause we all know very few artists ever get rich in their line of work. or famous till well after their deaths.
Muhammad Asad3 months ago
Muhammad Asad3 months ago
Muhammad Asad made it!3 months ago

Hey Guyz.... What about This Sketch??? Sketching is my Passion... like my page


Muhammad Asad made it!3 months ago

i made it....!

mabbasj4 months ago

Just for learning purpose as a beginner , Computer/Laptop screen/LEDs could display a picture in any order you want and tracing can also be done by putting paper on the display screen. I know it sounds bit childish but in case someone don't have that Light-Window or wanted to do it in evening or may printer get stuck ...

MohammodA5 months ago
chinthadap made it!5 months ago

its nice

akochas6 months ago
AnamtaZara6 months ago
somesh.viswa9 months ago

i've drawn dis pic n i want to learn shading....in a way to make it more realistic.....can u help me.....???


thats actually really good, ive been drawing for 4 years now and ive learnt that to make a really great realism drawing or whatever you have to have at least 3 pencils, i normally use a 8B, 4B and H to get the different gradient of colour. Anoother thing i would say is you need a bigger difference in darkness, so lets suppose the features of the face have to be a lot darker ... eg: shadows on ears and shadows around the nose, trust me you will see a great improvement once you darken the shadows a bit more , another thing i would say is never let any "paper" (blank spaces without coloring) of course it really depends on the pic ur basing from. However im pretty sure you will always find places you could draw in ... hope this helped

VikasT19 months ago
prajwal.ghale made it!10 months ago

I made it!!

gazishajib10 months ago
Erchan1 year ago

This video is unavailable. would you upload again when u are available please?

This would be a great way to make someone a nice gift

@thesparine Great post..!!

@meghna21 Found another video tutorial that also explains the same thing in bit more detail, I think it might help you. - http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-lessons/Artists/Carol-Ann-Sherman/Carol-Ann-Sherman-How-to-Begin-Sketching-a-Portrait.html

golfiscool1 year ago

Great instructable on how to sketch! You use a lot of the same materials that I use. Nice job.


Erchan1 year ago

Time, time, time... Also need experiences.

IDEA: Use photoshop actions. Make it in 1 minute. If you want naturel look print %60 - 70 opacity. Then sketch it yourself and make %100.

alky19572 years ago
Yup, it says "This video does not exist"
98894 years ago
This is great and all, and interesting techniques. But ... this isn't sketching. It's TRACING. It doesn't matter if you're going to lightly erase all of the lines after you trace it. It's still tracing. A real sketch is looking at a reference photo and using your own skill to sketch out the picture, NOT drawing your pencil over lines that are already there for you and claiming that you "sketched" it. That doesn't make art; it makes a lame copy. You didn't make it. You just copied a photo.
WAHOAH! Hey dude, the Instructable is called how to make an awesome pencil sketch out of any photograph. What were you expecting? Personally I thought it was going to end up being some sort of cheap computer trick, and I was pleasantly surprised. Some people, myself included, have absolutely no artistic skill but enjoy doing things like this, working with the hands et cetera. You don't have to follow the 'ible yourself, so don't be rude to someone when they go to all the effort to make a useful Instructable. Also, um, what's up with your inactivity? Did you create your 'ibles account simply to slag off at this guy? Low blow, man.
I don't disagree with what you are saying, and I won't try and speak for 9889, but the reason I agree with the statement (hence the +1), is due to the fact this member wrote in the opening statement of this ible that "drawing or sketching is not a gift, but rather a skill that can be learned".

I take offense to that being an artist and someone who has created, sold and gifted many pencil portraits and drawings.

There is no "art to tracing". Thats my opinion, and no one needs to agree with it if they don't want to.

Clearly someone who has no artistic ability can benefit and perhaps learn something from the efforts of this author, I personally feel however, that some of the statements made were unnecessary.
Obviously, you can have a natural ability or gift for something, such as art or music, but that's not to say that these things can't be learned as well. Obviously, tracing is way easier than drawing something freehand. Obviously, you have every right to take offense to someone disregarding your hard work. But I was not disagreeing with 9889's point, I was disagreeing with the way he said it. People do not need to be so abrasive. I completely agree with you, tracing is not sketching. But it's the next best thing.
I agree that 9889 could have made the same point in a slightly nicer way. I don't know this member, and have no reason to stick up for him or her.

I think a lot of people just don't like when this tracing method is used and passed off as original free-hand work, suggesting theres no talent needed to create art (as the author said). At the end of the day, a child can learn to trace. So in a way its like changing the lyrics to a song and calling it original.

As long as people are truthful with how they created something there shouldn't be anything wrong with it.
Ok, I'm still in on this :)
Consider the classical western european music tradition: by that I mean music written by a composer using symbols on paper, played by people trained in the discipline of a performing on musical instruments. The original idea for the "music" can only be accredited to the composer, all others involved in a musical performance are merely reproducing, using what they have been taught by others as their guides. Why would someone pay a lot of money to "see" a conductor leading a performance of a Beethoven symphony? Mr. Beethoven isn't going to show up to defend his idea, so is the conductor no less the artist for that? Is he reselling something that is not his? It's a pretty twisted take on this thread, but an interesting discussion to some of us! (BTW, yes, I am a former pro musician, lost my hearing, and I hate fakers.) Still, this instructable is no more than an intro to sketching, using tools and exercises, just like beginning violin lessons!
Do you denounce photography as "art", since you merely point and shoot? What about the Camera Obscura? Camera Lucida? Can't this method be seen as an aid to the drawer? For certain some people have differing abilities, but to disqualify someone who reveals a technique that may help someone enjoy drawing photo-realistic sketches can't be that bad. Purism is boring. Art for art's sake. Live and let live.
Tracing is not Art, its merely copying.
And No, I don't "denounce photography as art".

I don't agree with the author of this ible who says that "drawing is not a gift but something that can be learned".

We all have the right to an opinion. No one said you had to agree with mine.
What about throwing paint on a canvas and rolling around in it? What about making a video of cars driving down a country road and projecting it on a painting? What about piling rocks on a beach? Anything you can use to express yourself is art. In the comment below I'm agreeing with stringstretcher.
I respect your opinion, but it doesn't change mine.

TRACING IS NOT ART. - It's no better than plagiarism.
*grits teeth and resists the urge to throw a small animal* Okay, I'll go for a compromise. What if there's a deliberate shift in the layout of the photo, or if the photo is taken by the tracer? Or if the photo is taken by the tracer and then tracing is deliberately used as a statement, a message put across about perhaps the very thing you're complaining about? Then is it art? Then is it enough of a personal expression for you to accept that for some people, maybe, it is in fact ART???
I'm not trying to tell anyone how they should think nor how they should view art. So let's be clear on that first.

In this case specifically, if anyone uses a "tracing technique", they should come clean about it and not try and pretend they did it without copying. Plain and simple.

To address your broader argument on the basis of artistic merits, I have to ask you what you think of all those people who copy the works of accomplished artists and sell the work for profit. Certainly the buyer feels defrauded when they learn they paid for a forgery. With your argument, the final product is still art. Right?

So let me also ask you, what does that say about the pure expression of Art, when its been taken to the lowest form and is merely copied? Whether its for financial gain, or for this authors chances of landing a shag? (Read what he wrote in his intro).
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