How to Draw a Realistic Portraits with Charcoal

in #art3 years ago (edited)


Hey guys It's Vaan here. Welcome back to my blog and I'm going to be showing you how I draw portraits using charcoal. First, you're going to need a pencil of your choice, doesn't matter if it's regular mechanical just whatever you want to use. You're going to need an eraser. I'm using an eraser pencil but just a regular eraser will be fine. I'm going to be doing blending technique so I'm going to need a blender sticks if you don't have it you can use your fingers and last but not least a black charcoal pencil if you don't have access to charcoal, you are more than welcome to use a black colored pencil.


Step number one for me is always creating the outline. When drawing portraits I always start off with the head shape first and there's no specific reason as to why I start with the head. It's just kind of comfortable for me so if there's a different starting point that you feel comfortable with like starting from the eyes or the nose or wherever go ahead and do that. I have created the outline and it doesn't look like much now but once you start adding in shadows and highlights and everything like that it'll get much better looking. Next is creating your base layer shadows so since nothing serious has gone on pretty much everything that we've created at this point can be reversed or erased or anything like that this is the perfect opportunity.


I'm adding in the first layer of shadows which will be the face shadows and like most realistic drawing techniques I'm going to start off with light shadows and build them up by layer until finally by the time I'm done they're going to be pure black. Which is why I use a charcoal pencil because it gives a really nice deep shadow. It's super important to get your baseline shadows done because they do require a lot of blending and blending tends to mess up detail so it's better to do it now and not mess up anything then do it later. Next, we got the contour shadows, start building up what will soon become your darkest shadows. I am filling in the eyebrows which are going to be pure black and I'm filling in the nostrils which are pure black and even the lips.


I'm going to start working on the hair and add a pure layer of charcoal to the hair. I like to fill up a big area with the charcoal and from there I like to smear it down with a blending stick that way it locks into place and spreads that pigment around. Next, I have to blend in the hairline and then add a few little details. Once I have done with that I'm going to start adding highlights to the hair.


Next, I'm going to use a white charcoal pencil. It's important to make her skin really smooth and the best way I have found to give it a really soft smooth look is to use a blending stick.


The next step is drawing her shirt. I'm starting on the shirt and drawing her shirt was a really simple technique and basically, I'm just drawing the pattern and blending until I get the shades that I like.


The last step which is fine tune so this step is pretty easy, I'm just going to add little details of hair here and there just to give it more of a realistic look. I'm going to clean up the sides make sure there's not a bunch of smudges everywhere and that's it just a general cleanup of anything that you think it needs. That's basically it. I really hope you found it useful. Thank you, everyone!



That kind of portrait need skills and constant practice to achieved that kind of talent. Thumbs up!

That's right @elizahfhaye I've been practicing a lot. Thank you :)

You have too much talent, I love your drawing.

I also draw, but I have little time doing it. This is one of my drawings.DSCF7389.jpg

This is a very nice drawing. The expression on her face is really amazing. Keep up the good work!

I admire people that can sit down and draw things like this . I have problems makeing a stick man. I have to some how draw some pictures for the USPTO for a few patents . This to me is harder than the coming up with the invention !

Such a beautiful girl! You are a talent!

No I am no boy.

That just took us to the previous question.

Looks nice And so realistic .
Good job :)

Yes I agree..I draw too,but no time for it.I can say thatis nice you reall have a hand.

Looks nice And so realistic .
Good job

That is stunning. Very well done!

Thank you very much!

Your pencil drawing is really nice!

thank you <3

A wonderful pencil sketch and steps to follow. Really detailed instructions. My friend is also an artist and teaches me pencil, water and oil color sketches. We would follow your tips as well Pencil Work.jpg

Fantastic picture!



Thank you for the energy!

hlw nice to meet you... ur post ur hand work is very nice

Very nice to meet you too!

pls upvote & follow me

Foremost, thanks heaps for following me. I am still new to Steemit.

As to the above-posting, it is quite educational and helpful to me.

Two thumbs up!

Thank you for the thumbs up!

this is unbelievable! REALLY GOOD! How long it takes to make one?

Challenge, where you can win up to hundreds $SD!
If you want to, you can try it here:

This drawing took me 4hrs to complete

You got it! That's amazing!

Thanks for the compliment!

She looks like the actress from Banshee and Ray Donovan...hubba hubba

That's good to know. Thanks for sharing :)

Nice post, your tips are very useful. By the way loving the lights in your draw so much!

Thank you! You’re too kind! :)

So realistic and amazing!
I'd like to invite you to take part in my new contest I'm hosting, it'd mean a lot of if you checked it out :)

I’ll check it out thanks :)

Nice work !! Wow!
I have just begun to learn drawing.
I want to draw as well as you. ^^

I’m sure you can. Good luck on your drawing ✍️

Very good artworks !!! I really like realism in art. I paint realistic animals in oil and acrylics. Congratulations!!!! I will follow you to always see your works.

You are very talented! I might get into oil and acrylics art too. I'll follow you back. Thank you!

Spectacular, you could stop by my blog :)
I loved.

I will thank for stopping by my blog

thanks vai

Your welcome!

Vaya! si que tienes muchísimo talento, me fascino este post con todo el proceso y lo explicado!

It's truly a one of a kind gift @vaansteam. Your dexterity is genius and never indeed cease to nurture and bless the world of such talent...

#in awe of such piece.

I’m happy you think that :)

Sincerely I do.

WHAT A TALENT! Awesome . Congratulations,

Thank you very much!

A M A Z I N G ❤ so beautiful, i'm out of words

Very nice to you to say! :)

I wish I could do that. I can write fairly well, but I suck at drawing. You're very lucky.

Being able to write well is also good! :)

Omg she is my favourte instagram star
You have really good hand

Thank you @baebaeyurim. Really nice of you :)

Wow!!!! I'm just speechless. So much realistic,
I'm really fallen in love with this amazing portrait. keep it up bro @vaansteam

I'm happy to hear that. Thank you!

Hello! The girl is not as voluminous as the glass;) But this is a good portrait. Also made of photography?

Yes, kinda like glass haha


Your drawing pictures are wonderful. Besides in your blog you have discussed the drawing method algorithmic that means you want to teach it others. It introduces us with your big mind and people will be helpful and learn it easily.

I hope so. Thank you for the compliment!

Thats aweseome!
And your explaining how you did this is great too, because a few years ago i had to learn it all by myself without any step by steps and i think this is a good way to help the community. Great Artwork keep it up!
here is a realistic charcoal art i did a few years ago.Hope you like it too!

Wow you are very talented yourself. I hope you will continue to draw using charcoal :)

Nice Work!

It's really awesome. The grey makes it sexy. I like drawing but am not good at it. Thus, I will try to follow your well explained steps. Thanks in advance

It’s actually grey but not in photos

I read your articles and it is clear that you are an expert. Well done

You have wonderful drawings. I admire your talent and do not miss your drawing lessons. I'm just starting to learn how to draw, so I'm very interested in your work.

Thank you for taking interest in my work :)


Thank you so much!

Amazing Vaan, thank you for your content. I am new to the community, so I am still figuring it out. I am surprised & pleased to see so much creative visual content. You have inspired me to dig my charcoal pens out. I have been working on more colorful childrens works, mixed media, & sculpture lately, but nothing is more beautiful to me than what you can create with some charcoal & a piece of paper. ;)

Welcome to Steemit @tinithoughts There are many great artists here on Steemit as well as many great content. Good luck to you!

amazing... man, great drawings... congratulations

Thank for the compliment


Wow that's amazing you are very talented,
Hey I was wondering if you have any tips on how to draw the eye's because that is not my error of expertise.

Yes check out on my article on drawing the eyes.

excellent your work friend I like the level of detail of the hair the lights you did with the white pencil

Thank you for noticing. Glad you like it!

Nice work, I like the way you smouth the face!!!

It's very important to make the face look real.

Amigo lo Felicito por este Post. En lo sucesivo estaré siguiendo y apoyando sus publicaciones. Estoy comenzando a recibir clases de dibujo a lápiz. Excelente!!

wow really beautiful artwork ...great job

Good job on the drawing!

Thank you very much :)

Wow i really love drawing. :) and this portrait's so amazing .hope to learn more from you about making my works more realstic :)

I'm glad you like drawing. Keep doing what you love. :)

Very good post according to his paintings @vaansteem

Amazing! I'm really fascinated how realistic the hair and skin came out!
I moved almost entirely into digital painting, but this incredible work inspires me to return to the real pencil sketch. ^.^

Still trying to improve everyday. Thank you for the compliment!

this is amazing bro @vaansteam , good job!

Thank you bro!

cool! very talented :D I like your drawing! Thanks for following! followed you back :D

Your welcome! Thanks for the compliment!

Que bello dibujas, te felicito.. es increible tu trabajo, muchos éxitos.

Love your art. It has a lot of character and life essence. Great job @vaansteam. Look forward to more of your artwork.

Thank you for the support. Really mean a lot!

You do great work. So don't be surprised when people tell ya! Lol. No...I really like the eyes and the curly q's if that makes any sense. Joy

how long do you need to create such an image. I do not understand about painting, but your painting is very beautiful and I really like it

This Image took me around 3.5-4hrs

Wow! 3.5-4hrs? I've never used charcoal, more of a ball point pen guy. I end up spending 30+hrs on a piece. I would like to be like you when I grow up. lol

Ohhhh my god! It look like a real woman. 😍
This art makes me fall inlove. Thanks for this drawing sir. :)

Thank you for the compliment!!

You are awesome

Wow its awesome i just love it keep it up dear @vaansteam

I will! Thank you @mizanuk

nice picture, I applaud the picture

Hello brother vanns, excellent drawing, I have been practicing using the advice you give in your post, and I think it is giving me positive results, brother for that reason. A hug

I'm glad you been taking my advice. I wish you the best!

Do I need a blender to draw this?

If you don't have a blender you can use your fingers


Nice job, this is my last artwork 21107985_463585230690214_3470530340504731648_n.jpg

This is amazing artwork. I love the game of throne.

Who is that girl? Looks familiar 😁😁

I think her name is Lily Maymac

Ahhhhh thats why she look so familiar 😂& cause Ive been following her on the instragram. She is so damn pretty especially on your drawings 😁😁

Lol Thank you! You're too sweet!

oh que bien te felicito por tus manos de oro para dibujar éxito

super talent man keep it up

I will thank you!

nice art brother...i like it..

Glad you like it

thanks brother

this is really beautiful, i do realistic art too so i know what it takes! keep going strong. Here's are some of mine @vaansteam IMG_20170114_171933.jpgIMG_20180213_104455.jpg
kindly share your thoughts

WOw those art looks really real. Good job!

love your tutorial! thank you.
this is a famous russian actor done by Anya.

I don't know who he is. But you did a great job. Keep it up!

WhatsApp Image 2018-03-17 at 6.51.19 PM.jpeg

This is my post! i hope you like the draw, and i love your draw <3

Thanks for sharing. I like it! Very nice drawing!

Charcoal? Is it the kind of charcoal we have in Africa? If yes, this is awesome and jawbreaking.

Thank you! I'm not sure if it's the same like the one in Africa.

Just amazing!!! I thinnk painting portrait is the most difficult thing, but you really do a great job. Thanks for the tips!

Thank you. That means a lot!.

Amazing drawing !!! Thank you for following me :)
I just followed you, too and upvoted this posting !
I blog about traveling and photography.
Check out my feed~~ also my official ‘introduceyourself’ !!!

@bellomedley Thank you for that :). I'll need to check your blog out. I'm also a photographer myself

havent seen something soo beautiful in a long time

That really mean a lot!

Excelente ilustración muy buena, espero algún día poder dibujar así. Super bueno de verdad.