Practice and refine your drawing skills with these mini lessons.
Techniques and Effects
– Make a subtle gradient value change from light to dark by pressing harder on your pencil. You can go over pencil in layers to build up darks, too.
– Use a kneaded eraser to “lift” light area from a toned area.
– “Soften” graphite with tortillons, blending stumps and chamois.
– Most forms can be composed of basic geometric shapes: Sphere, Cube, Cylinder & Pyramid. Observe the highlights and shadows.
– Try drawing these basic shapes: Sphere, Cylinder, Pyramid
– Cross Hatch Lines & Stippling. Stippling is created with short strokes/taps of the point.
– The “light bulb” above represents the source of light. All the geometric shapes are lighted by this source. The cast shadow falls away from the light. Now change the placement of the light and draw each shape again. Challenge: Try drawing the manikin from variations of these basic shapes.
– Place a textured surface under the paper for a different effect. This example was rubbed over a nylon bag strap. Try using canvas, screening, etc.
– Scribbling is fun! Make lines in different directions to build up value.
– “Scratch” the paper with something that will incise a line, and apply graphite over the top.

Know Your Pencils and Related Supplies
Size Matters
If we took a cross section of a pencil, we would see the graphite inside. Pencils are coded with letters, usually H and B. Think of “H” pencils as Hard and drawing a light line. “B” pencils are softer and draw darker lines – Think of B for Black lines.

Pencils have letters and numbers to describe the level of dark or light that they draw. The higher the number, the more you get of light or dark. Numbers usually range from 1 to 8. An 8H would be very light while an 8B would be very dark. An HB pencil is in the middle.

Blending Tools
Blending Stumps and tortillons help soften graphite and create smooth blends. Both come in a variety of diameters. Stumps are denser and have points on both ends. They are good for large areas. Tortillons have a point on one end and are not as dense. Try both to get different blending variations. Try using a “dirty” blending tool to apply graphite for a soft look. These tools are inexpensive and are meant to be replaced rather than cleaned.

Taking it off
The light “H” pencils are easier to erase than the bolder, blacker “B” pencils. There are many varieties of erasers available. Two good ones are a kneaded eraser and a white vinyl eraser. Neither leaves marks or little pieces of the eraser behind. The kneaded eraser is meant to be pulled apart like clay, and it is self-cleaning as the graphite disappears into the eraser. When a kneaded eraser is really black with graphite, replace it. The kneaded eraser can be formed to fit the area needing removal. Bonus: It is a great toy to play with while contemplating your drawing – one of my former art instructors claimed that this was a kneaded eraser’s best attribute!

Keep a Point
A good quality metal sharpener is a great help to keep a point. A paddle of sandpaper can be used to flatten, sharpen, or dull a point into just the shape you want.

Keep it Clean!
Cover and protect areas of the drawing from your hands, arms, etc., or when not working. Don’t allow cover papers to slide or you may create big smears. Wearing thin cotton gloves can prevent oils from your hands from transferring to your paper, and keeps your hands clean.

Start Now!
Have a friend pose for you and draw from real life. Photos tend to “flatten” shapes. It is better to work from life even if it is a challenge with moving bodies. The secret is: PRACTICE!

Loew-Cornell®’s Sketching Set gives you a great beginning!

Step 1: Establish an interesting outline shape.
Step 2: Establish the shadow shape within the outline.
Tip: Eyes are halfway between top and bottom of head with the space of an eye between eyes.
Tip for Success: Don’t be in such a hurry! Taking time to get your basic shapes right before moving on to the details will go a long way toward creating drawings you will be proud of.


Discover the possibilities of working with this unique medium.

General Techniques for Using Watercolor Pencils
Initial color was all put down in the same manner. Nothing was further blended or manipulated.

Dry Paper – Dry Pencils
The pencil is used for coloring just as crayons would be used. You can layer colors one on top of another, side by side, or leave white space for highlight areas. Do not lay the color on too heavily, it is often more pleasing to make it loose and irregular. This technique will create natural areas of highlight and shadow. After coloring, blend the pencil color with water and a brush (a Round will usually give the best control.) As in watercolor, do not blend areas that lie next to each other until the first area is dry, or the colors will run together.

Dry Paper – Wet Pencils
This gives a softer, diffused effect, but with strong color, like an oil pastel. However, it also makes the pencils very soft. With all wet pencil work, you need a second set to go back to the dry pencil techniques, or you must let the pencil dry completely before using again. Wet pencils will also tend to break more when sharpening. Item # 993 – 12 colors Item # 995 – 24 colors

Wet Paper – Dry Pencils
Here the paper is wet first, and the pencil color will run a bit when it touches the paper. Colors will run together if they are touching. Different degrees of pencil hardness will determine how much the color will run. This technique is good for blurred effects like foliage and background florals.

Wet Paper – Wet Pencils
This technique will give the most blurred effects of all and is usually best left for backgrounds and very impressionistic styles. You may also want to use a brush for additional blending and softening.


Line work has never been easier! The Loew-Cornell® Fine Line Painting Pen is an all-metal tool featuring an adjustable head that allows you to position it in the way you feel most comfortable. After filling the reservoir with thinned paint or ink, simply write or draw as you would with any pen. Your line work will be a consistent .5mm width. After use, rinse out the pen with water or brush cleaner and clear the tip with the cleaning tool included with your pen.

Tips for using the Fine Line Painting Pen

  • Use a liner brush to pick up thinned paint and fill the reservoir of the pen by brushing it against the edge of the cup.
  • Hold the pen so that the tip is in full contact with the surface.
  • Go slowly enough so that the paint has time to flow through the tip. Moving too fast will result in skips in your work.
  • A ruler or other straight edge can be used to make straight lines.
  • Lettering Hint: Creative lettering is easy using computer printouts as a pattern. Lettering can then be filled or outlined using the fine line painting pen.
  • When changing colors, work on a practice surface to purge any color or cleaner that may remain in the pen.
  • To start paint flow, clear the tip with the cleaning tool or blot on a damp paper towel.
  • During your paint session, keep loaded pen tip covered with damp paper towel to prevent drying.