Step by Step Charcoal and Graphite Pencil Drawing Demo

About Faith

faith te

Graphite Pencil, Charcoal Pencil and Pastels Artist

Hello! My name is Faith Te. When I was 16, a great desire to capture nature and the people around me started my passion for drawing. I began to look at drawing not just as a hobby but something which I wanted to do all my life.

I practiced every day and for many hours since. I taught myself to draw by experimenting with different techniques and materials and through helpful tips and advice from other artists.

Initially, charcoal and graphite pencils were the only mediums I used. When I began working in color, I used pastels, and more recently, oils. My main subjects are portraits but I also enjoy doing many other subjects including still life, landscapes and flowers, especially orchids.

I devote many hours and lots of attention to detail into each and every one of my drawings or paintings. My ultimate goal is not only to achieve detail and realism but also to capture the life and character of my subjects.

Thank you for your interest in my artwork. I sincerely hope you enjoy your stay here on our web site. Please visit again soon!

Please take a moment to visit Faith’s Website and Blog to learn more about her and her products and services.

Her Website:

Her Blog:

Stage 1

(Click Images for Larger Views)

The outline on Canson Grain Paper.


I try to make the outline as accurately and detailed as I can at this early stage so that I can concentrate more on tones, shadows, and highlights later on instead of the placement of features.

I am using the smoother side of Canson paper.

charcoal portrait drawing 1

Stage 2

I make my own charcoal powder when I sharpen charcoal pencils and then I use brushes to apply the powder to my drawings.

Here, I’ve used a small, firm painting brush to apply charcoal powder to the skin. With this brush, I was able to achieve a slightly textured effect for the skin.

Graphite pencils were used for the eyes and the eyebrows.

charcoal portrait tutorial 2

Stage 3

Here, I worked on the lips.

I used a 0.5 mm 2B mechanical pencil to cover the lips with graphite. Then, with the same painting brush used earlier, I blended the graphite.

After which, I added some highlights using a kneaded eraser. Then I blended once again with the brush to produce gradual transitions of tone. This process is repeated a few times to achieve a realistic effect with random lights and darks.

pencil portrait demo 3

Stage 4

Charcoal powder is applied to her neck and ear using the brush I used before and a soft tortillon for the dark areas.

A tortillon is a drawing tool used for blending and it is made simply by rolling up a piece of paper. It is somewhat more loosely rolled than a blending stump.

Using another brush, I applied light layers of graphite powder to the (viewer’s) left part of her veil.

pencil drawing techniques 4

Stage 5

Some of the shadows were darkened.

Also, I drew her teeth using the mechanical pencil and blended it with the paint brush.

I started to work on the left part of her clothes using the same method I used on her veil.

portrait drawing tips 5

Stage 6

Worked on her left ear and earring using charcoal powder, the paint brush and the tortillon.

The major locks of her hair have been more clearly defined using the mechanical pencil.

portrait drawing guide 6

Stage 7

Concentrating on her hair in this stage, an 8B wooden pencil and the 2B mechanical pencil were used to draw the darker parts, following the direction of her hair in the reference photograph.

Graphite pencils in the H grades were used to draw some of the lighter locks of hair.

pencil portrait tutorial 7

Stage 8

More work on the hair. The shadows were further darkened and more of the middle tones were added.

I have also finished drawing the rest of the clothes and veil.

pencil portrait techniques 8

Stage 9: Finished

After completing her hair, smoothening some of the skin tones and a few corrections, the portrait is finished.

I hope you have enjoyed the step-by-step demonstration of this portrait. Thank you for reading.

charcoal portrait demo finished

Great Resource on Portrait Drawing

Realistic Pencil Portrait Mastery Home Study Course


21 Comments on "Step by Step Charcoal and Graphite Pencil Drawing Demo"

  1. Ricardo Gaerlan on Wed, 11th May 2011 11:10 pm 

    Thank you for sharing the “step-by-step” techniques on drawing with graphite. Ever since I was a kid, graphite was my favorite medium. I have desires to transition into pastels, acrylics but have yet to get the nerve and initiative to do so. Perhaps your story will inspire me to forge ahead. Thank you.
    Ricardo Gaerlan

  2. Roger on Thu, 12th May 2011 7:10 pm 

    Nice share…very inspiring to me as well. I’ve been toying with the idea of exploring graphite as a medium. This article has convinced me to look into it further…

  3. Sue on Fri, 13th May 2011 8:53 am 


  4. Pat on Sun, 15th May 2011 9:24 am 

    Wonderful. You have captured her so Beautifully.
    Your work is Superb!!!!

  5. Alison on Tue, 17th May 2011 11:47 am 

    Beautiful portrait! Thank you for your detailed tutorial!

  6. Margaret on Thu, 19th May 2011 9:59 am 

    This is very nice tutorial. I just hope I am very creative to make this portrait. The picture looked very nice. I forgot the name of this celebrity.

  7. pedrotsino on Wed, 25th May 2011 9:41 am 

    rate: 10/10. awesome demo. more posts please….

  8. Moira Stevenson on Wed, 15th Jun 2011 7:21 am 

    Thank you for this demo. You make it look effortless but you have a great talent and communicated each step so clearly I am motivated to try it out right now!

  9. vlada on Sat, 18th Jun 2011 3:07 pm 

    This is very,very nice.

  10. Tina on Fri, 24th Jun 2011 4:49 am 

    SO how did you trace the image to the paper?

  11. Billy Jones on Sat, 25th Jun 2011 8:00 am 

    I truly love your work. Your attention to detail is amazing! I got started in art late in life.Your art inspires me to practice all I can, it obviously paid off for you. I am anxious to see much more of your awesome work!

  12. Priti on Wed, 5th Oct 2011 5:05 am 

    Seriously amazing. I always wanted to learn drawing so beautifully……… But dream remained dream.. Very appreciating

  13. JC Rio on Wed, 11th Jan 2012 8:02 am 

    Like It!! Really nice

  14. levis on Fri, 9th Mar 2012 9:55 pm 

    excellent tutorial! i am motivated to practice more in painting

  15. isabelle on Mon, 26th Mar 2012 7:52 pm 

    i think this is absolutely amazing! i also only use graphite and pencil and i Love your technique! this helped a lot, thank you!

  16. monika on Sat, 6th Oct 2012 10:23 am 

    fantastic portrait demo
    with different technique
    thanx …..

  17. Anonymous on Sat, 12th Jan 2013 6:11 pm 

    Wonderful portrait, very nice thank you.

  18. Sandra on Mon, 11th Feb 2013 12:37 pm 


  19. Bernice Denison on Sun, 15th Sep 2013 12:01 am 

    Words cannot tell what a beautiful Portrait this is. I can only say Magnificent !! Bernie

  20. Lynne on Sun, 8th Dec 2013 1:11 am 

    You have magnificent talent, Grace! This is an amazing portrait. Thank you for the detailed instructions. I am inspired to get my papers, pencils, and charcoals out again. It has been years!

    Blessings on your work!

  21. bob bond on Fri, 20th Dec 2013 7:41 pm 

    Wonderful! Keep rolling – forever!

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