Sketching a Shell in Graphite and Carbon – Deepening the Tones

In this series, we will be creating a rendered drawing of a broken shell using a mix of graphite and carbon pencils. This session will be spent darkening the shadows and the darker halftones using gradual passes of tone.

You can download the same reference I’m using here:

Here is a rough materials guide:

  • Paper
  • Old bristle brush for blending
  • Graphite pencils (mix of hardnesses)
  • Carbon Pencil (mix of hardnesses)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Begin by adding in the darkest shadows using the carbon pencil.
  • This will give you an idea of how dark the darkest parts of the drawing can be (thereby show the range available between the darkest sections and the lightest).
  • You can then use the old bristle brush to smooth out the charcoal and soften the edges of the shadows.
  • Once you’ve laid in the darkest parts using carbon, switch back to graphite pencil and start laying in gradual passes of darker halftones.
  • Start with the darkest parts first.
  • It’s always a good idea to work from dark to light and preserve the white of the paper for brighter highlights.
  • Keep adding more and more passes of tone until you’ve roughly matched the reference.
  • Don’t worry about any details yet though!