home > drawing board > step-by-step pencil drawing: portrait of aunt lisa

Portrait of Aunt Lisa

step-by-step charcoal pencil and black pastel drawing by faith te


Click on an image for a larger version.

Medium: Charcoal Pencil and Black Pastel
Paper: Canson Grain Paper
Size: 30 41 cm (12" 16")


Stage 1

I was working in a time frame to finish this drawing so I was not able to post it as a "moving" work in progress. But I did manage to scan the portrait as I worked on it.

Here is the outline on acid-free paper. Transferred using graphite-coated paper.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 1 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 2

I cover my drawing with paper to protect it from sweat and oil from my hands, leaving open just the area I will be working on. This also helps me concentrate on one specific area at a time.

I am using 2 sizes of a soft brush and a small watercolor brush to apply charcoal powder.

The teeth were done by applying 2 or 3 light layers of charcoal powder using the soft brush and pulling out the highlights with a kneaded eraser.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 2 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 3

A nylon brush was used to apply charcoal powder on the shadow areas. This brush easily pushes the charcoal into the tooth of the paper.

The eyebrows and irises were done using a charcoal pencil and smoothened with a homemade rubber blending tool.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 3 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 4

Leaving the face almost finished, I proceeded to do the neck and chest. I left the corrections and refinements for later.

I've also started to lay down the initial tones on the hair using the larger soft brush and charcoal powder.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 4 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 5

Continued with the initial tones of charcoal powder.

Since I will be adding a background to this portrait, I let the charcoal flow to the background area.

I also started applying black pastel powder to the hair with the nylon brush.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 5 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 6

Here, the outlines of the highlights on the hair have been established.

Then, I finished covering the rest of the hair area with initial layers of charcoal powder.

The clothes were done using the same brushes used on the face but with small amounts of charcoal powder.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 6 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 7

Finished applying black pastel powder to the hair. I then used a kneaded eraser to pull out some highlights.

I also continued to add more tones to the background.
Portrait of Aunt Lisa Stage 7 by Faith Te WIP
Stage 8: Finished

In this stage, "Portrait of Aunt Lisa" is finished.

The background was further darkened and more stray hairs were added using the charcoal pencil.

Also, some corrections and refinements were made. One of those was the cheek (viewer's right). It was too prominent so I added more tones to the jaw.

I hope you have enjoyed this step-by-step demonstration of a charcoal portrait. Thank you for viewing!
Portrait of Aunt Lisa by Faith Te WIP