A nice little snowdrop on a black background worked up in graphite, simple and elegant.

Changing mediums is a nice way to change things up. This also allows me to offer something to a beginner who literally has nothing but a pencil and paper. If you want to follow along, head on over to my patreon page to get the line art and reference photo for free.

Watch the time lapse or skip down for more.


I don’t have a lot of different mediums I can work in at the moment but being able to change from colored pencil to graphite is a nice change of pace. Going monochromatic helps to see the image a little differently and is a good way to help with tone and contrast. I don’t have any pesky colors to get in my way. Another way to think about it is that this is a great way to create an underpainting. I normally take a dark sepia or gray to create an underpainting allowing me to define the shape and form in one color before adding more color on top. Graphite is the most basic way to do this.


I worked the background first starting with my hardest pencil. After working a layer I moved softer and softer, until I was at my softest pencil. The stem of the snowdrop is a cylinder, plain and simple. It follows the rules of light hitting a rounded cylindrical surface perfectly. The leaves, while a little more open, also follow most of the cylindrical surface shading as well. The interior section is darkest, the outer section curls around with light and dark sections.


The top section of the flower is almost round but is a little more elongated to be a perfect sphere. I assigned an oval shape to this part in my head and worked up the shading to work with the form. There is a highlight from the light and as the shape curls away from the light, it gradually darkens.

A snowdrop

Breaking the snowdrop down into these basic forms really helps with shading and form. Taking this a step further, sketching each form before adding details will also bring the drawing together as well. The actual flower part is more complicated than any simple form, but close observation of the shape will help understanding how the petal is curling with respect to the light and the camera.

What is next?

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Patreon. I’m currently working on a blackberry in colored pencil. Let me know in the comments if you followed along and how it turned out.

Equipment (amazon affiliate links):

Hardnesses used:

  • HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B, 8B Faber castell 9000
  • H, 2H Berol Prismacolor Turquoise

I used Prismacolor Turquoise because that is what I had on hand. I would have liked a larger range of hardnesses.


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