Hyper Real Skull Study in Pencil – Building the Big Forms

In this session we will be making the skull more 3D by adding halftones. Halftones get gradually darker as they move towards the shadow edge, which makes it look like the form is turning away from the light source.

  • Start with the biggest form, in this case it’s the large ‘egg’ shapes of the skull. The lightest part of the drawing is in the middle of the skull so any parts of the skull that move away from that point will get gradually darker.
  • I suggest that you work with large general tones first before working on the smaller forms (we will save that for later sessions).
  • You can use the kneadable eraser rounded to a point if you go too dark with any of your tones.
  • It’s usually best to err on the side of being lighter than you think rather than darker as it’s always easier to add tone and trickier to remove it.
  • Finally, once the large tones have been added you can start to soften some of the shadow edges into them (where necessary).

The materials you will need for this course are:

  • Paper
  • Range of pencils (H, HB, B, 2B) – ideally a few mechanical pencils as well as regular ones.
  • Kneadable eraser

You can download the source image for the series here:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *