By Angi Kuun Potgieter
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How to create a realistic drawing with these 3 simple steps.

By Angi Kuun-Potgieter from Canvas and Cabernet Events

Have you always had an interest in drawing, but don’t really know quite where to begin?

By following these 3 easy steps, you may find that drawing got a whole lot easier and more enjoyable!


There are many different ways to try and get your drawing to look as proportionate and realistic as possible, but my “GO TO” has always been the Grid Method.

The grid method involves drawing a grid over your reference photo, and then drawing a grid of equal ratio on your piece of paper.   This provides a “block by block” guide to help you get things in proportion.

Unless you have been doing this for years and you are able to do it without any guidance, there is really no other way of doing it as accurately as the Grid Method, in my personal opinion.

Yes, anyone can trace a picture, but where is the fun or challenge in that?

How to use Grid method | step by step face drawing | Amir Khan ...

EXTRA TIP:  Try draw the grid lines in as lightly as possible so avoid indenting the paper causing blank spaces to show up when covering it with shadowing.


The next thing you will need to be familiar with is the Value Scale.  This is such an important aspect of drawing.  You really need to differentiate your lights from your darks, creating contrast.  Your drawing will look very “flat” if you are using similar values throughout the piece.

Light will fall on your subject matter and this is where you can use your lower values and this light will form shadows, where you can use your higher values.  It is important to really observe your reference and see where your light source is coming from and where your shadow will be.

My advice is to practice your values on a piece of paper first, getting used to the different pressure you should be using in each value,

EXTRA TIP: If you hold you pencil lower more upright, you will get a nice dark value.  If you hold your pencil higher up at more of an angle, it’s easier to get a lighter outcome.


There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different ways to shade when you are creating art, there are textured techniques, smooth techniques, angled techniques – you name it.

I honestly find that sometimes I create my own “home-made” techniques by just playing around and they work better than anything that anyone has ever taught me.

The most used techniques are the following:

Lena's Drawing 101 — LESSON FOUR: SHADING TECHNIQUES In Lesson ...

Hatching:  Using a sharp pencil drawing individual lines all going in the same direction.

Scumbling:  Also sometimes called “brillo pad technique” is a bit less controlled and more random, and involves using your pen or pencil to make lots of random, squiggly marks to build up areas of shadow

Stippling:  Using many small dots of the pencil or pen to form the shadows.  The motion will be quite fast paced.

Cross hatching:  Using a sharp pencil drawing lines going in opposite directions, creating a more textured outcome

Blending or smudging:  This will be colour in with your pen and gone over a blending stump.  Often I find that using your finger works wonders, but make sure that your hands are freshly washed as sometimes the natural oils in your skin can cause marking on the paper, so be very careful when doing so.

You can use one of these in a drawing or all of them, it depends what sort of outcome you are looking for.

Something that I have learnt in art is that there is honestly no WRONG or RIGHT.  As mentioned above, some of my best techniques are ones that I have made up using all weird and wacky things around the house, this goes for drawing and painting too.

Yes, there may be “better” ways or “easier” ways  or “traditional” ways to do something, and yes, sometimes it is the better option, but don’t ever feel like what you have done is wrong, because it isn’t.  Art is all about experimentation and seeing what works for you personally.  What works for me, might not work for me and vice versa.

As the infamous Bob Ross always says, “There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents”.

For painting and drawing tutorials, please email me on



A drawing of a face  Description automatically generated
#howtodraw #howtodrawrealistic #realisticdrawing #canvasandcabernetevents #angikuunart

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