A study to achieve a “Gamut of pencil strokes”

A study to achieve a “Gamut of pencil strokes”

Artwork by Yasmeen Kanan, Drawing Academy student


After viewing one of your critiques given to another student, and after viewing the drawings that you have uploaded to improve our pencil strokes, I decided to take you advice and do a study.

First, I made a copy of a drawing (as mentioned above) and created a drawing of a real life model using the hatching technique-pencil strokes. I must admit, copying an existing drawing is easier than drawing a real life subject. I wish I could upload two photos at once, but I will upload the real life drawing later.

I would like to hear your critique for my “Gamut of pencil strokes.” Commenting on this study, an artist claimed that the difference in the strokes between the background and the subject has ruined the drawing. I oppose this view and find it dull to use the same pencil strokes in different areas (background, foreground, etc.).

In the “Gamut of pencil strokes” study, are we allowed to have different pencil strokes in different spaces in the drawing?

Feedback from Vladimir London, Drawing Academy Tutor

Dear Yasmeen,

Many thanks for your drawing. I like it very much. At the same time, you might want to think about constructive drawing and check the perspective.

As you know, all parallel lines in perspective will remain parallel or converge into one vanishing point on a drawing. You may see that parallel lines in your portrait are not following this rule.


Even when you copy artwork done by another artist, you need to thoughtfully draw what you know rather than simply copy what you see. This refers to the rule of perspective mentioned above.

Applying principles of constructive drawing will help you avoid mistakes when drawing from life, memory, and imagination. These principles are also applicable when you make a copy.

In the Drawing academy course, you will see multiple video lessons that explain and demonstrate in depth what constructive drawing principles are and how to use them in drawing.

portrait drawing
= Original artwork =

Regarding your question about the “gamut of pencil strokes”, you can use a variety of strokes such as short and long as well as curved and straight. You may use strokes in different directions and in various angles (cross-hatching, stippling, and so on).

You do not need to use the wide gamut just for a sake of it. However, your pencil marks have to contribute to the artistic task you are solving in your artwork.

Yes, using the same hatching style for all areas of an artwork can be boring and can flatten the appearance of your artwork. Instead, you may consider sharper and stronger marks in the foreground and less defined, softer marks in the background. This will help depict aerial perspective where objects have less contrast the further they are located. To refresh your knowledge on this subject, you may check the Drawing Academy video lesson dedicated to the aerial perspective.

Also, a great hatching technique is to use pencil strokes which travel along the objects’ contours. It is a skill to understand contours and recognize them on a model. Every object has an indefinite number of contours and you can chose contours that will better reveal the three-dimensional nature of an object on a flat surface of an artwork. In several video lessons of the Drawing Academy course, you will find information on how to use contours to your advantage.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

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Categorized: Critique My Artworks

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