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The way you approach sketching a character is very important. You shouldn’t be afraid of constant refinement. Here, I will lead you through my process, showing you how to use shapes and light lines to create an underdrawing, and then how to properly work on top of this for the best results.

The more you sketch, the more confident your drawings will become, so grab your pencils and get sketching!

01. Find a pose

Rough portrait compositions

Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it

A very important part in sketching a character is figuring out how you want to depict your subject. It is essential to find the right pose, clothes and general look. The best way to approach this is by creating small loose sketches that are not defined, but at the same time give you an idea of the features of the final sketch.

02. Develop form

Portrait sketch with guidelines

Take your time to get the foundations right

Once you decide which sketch you prefer, you can continue to develop it further by giving it a form. Before going into detail, it is crucial to create a skeleton for the final drawing by using simple shapes and lines. Don’t worry about drawing too many guidelines; you can erase them later.

03. Lay down lines

Portrait sketch with signs of definition

Make sure your lines are solid and confident

Choose the lines you want to work with from the guidelines you’ve created. Remember that these lines are there to help and not constrain you, so make changes as you go and add necessary details when appropriate. Don’t rush the drawing, but once you decide to draw a line, use a bold straight stroke to avoid wobbly or uneven marks.

04. Erase guidelines

Portrait with erased guidelines

Erase needless guidelines, but leave useful ones behind

Some artists are a little intimidated by rubbers. They associate them with correcting mistakes, but in fact, a rubber can be used as an important tool in your drawing. In this example, use your rubber to erase some of the guidelines. You don’t have to rub out all of them – just the ones that get in the way of your drawing.

Related articles:

  • Perfect your figures with our anatomy masterclass
  • The Anatomy of Style: Figure Drawing Techniques
  • 10 steps to improve your figure drawing

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