7 Ways To Improve Your Charcoal And Pencil Drawings

charcoal drawing

In order to become a great artist, it takes time and patience. You have to find your style, put hours into your work and find a way to portray yourself through your art. But most importantly, be passionate about it.

I’ve been an artist for many years now, I haven’t always felt confident with my art and there have been times where I didn’t see improvements in my artworks.

Nevertheless, there are a few practices that have helped me improve my art:

before and after ava


1) Messy and Shaky Lines

The main focus is to let go of fear. Start loosening your hand and fingers, this will allow you to start drawing better. Remember that practicing lines and circles are not only for beginners, it will improve everyone’s skill, even professionals. Also, adjust your hand and pencil pressure, if you use a lot of pressure in your shading and outlines, you will end up destroying the texture of the paper and it will affect the outcome of your drawing, making it look unrealistic.

2) Don’t smudge your paper

Be careful not to make your white paper look dirty. One of the most common techniques is to use an extra sheet of paper under your hand and on top of your drawing. Also, be careful not to move your hand too much, as it will also smudge the drawing underneath, you can use masking tape if necessary.

3) Use the correct amount of darkness

Only with experience and practice will you realise how much darkness you need to add onto your model and onto your paper. However, for beginners, you will need to start with faded shading and then add darker shadings to your subject matters.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is practice” – Vladimir Horowit 
4) Unsuitable tools 

If you have the wrong charcoal pencil and brand, you won’t be able to achieve the results of realistic drawing that you’re expecting. It’s very important to use the best type of charcoal and brand, if you want to learn more about which charcoal to use, head over to my blog post where I talk about the best materials and provide the Amazon link for you to purchase them.

5) Layering

Layering is essential when drawing, but you also need to know when to add more layers and when to stop – don’t add too much nor too little. The key is the balance between enough shading and not enough shading. Creating enough layers while shading is the golden key in realistic drawing. The rule of this golden key circle is “Shading – Blending – Highlights – Blending” and repeating this process.

layering techniques

6) Do something every day

I always recommend doing something artistic every day, it doesn’t necessarily mean to draw or paint, but you can watch videos on Youtube, read blogs, find teachers that can help you improve your techniques or just research about other artists, learn about their artistic journey, get inspired and influenced by their success. Spend at least 10 minutes a day expanding your knowledge and improving your art skills, it all adds up and keeps you progressing, slowly and steadily.  Nonetheless, if you want to draw something every day, I have created a 6-day challenge for artists interested in portrait drawing:  Click here to subscribe.

7) Learn from other art movements

I have always learnt so much from different art movements, not only from the techniques but also from understanding the message behind each artwork. Whether I like the specific art movement or not, I try to learn from them and use them as a source of inspiration. These movements have shaped art as we see it today, meaning there is always something positive we can take away from them. 

Improving your art is a long process of learning and self-discovery, it takes a lot of motivation and time. With these tips I want you all to start working on ways to better your artworks and start feeling confident with yourself and your skills. Don’t only focus on learning how to draw, but learn about other artists and the techniques that have allowed them to perfect their drawings

I have created 2 FREE ebooks for you that cover 10 Steps to Improve your Art and 10 Mistakes to avoid in Realistic Portrait Drawing.

If you would like to gain in-depth knowledge and improve your art skills in a specific medium, I have created art courses for you that I have reduced in price by 50% for you all to enjoy during this difficult time.

online art courses:

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