Male skin with graphite

Published by Joanna Vu on

Hello everyone! Oh my Gosh, is it July already?? (And it’s almost over!) Damn Coronavirus! Left me with an enormous load of work and I have neglected my blog. Anyways, here I am with a much anticipated tutorial: how to draw male (textured) skin with graphite pencils. Let’s break down the process to a few super easy steps, even a beginner can follow. You can also read this post about the topic which I did a couple of years back.

Choose a textured paper

Unlike female skin which is generally smooth, male skin is textured and as such, it is easier to create it on grainy paper. On smooth paper, you need to draw EVERY SINGLE DETAIL. On grainy paper, however, you basically take advantage of the texture of the paper, in order to create the texture of the skin.

B pencil on extra smooth paper
B pencil on grainy paper. Creates a lot of texture.

Tip: Don’t try to draw every single detail (unless of course you are a professional hyperrealism artist, in which case you shouldn’t read this blog!) You’ll go crazy. Instead, try to find a way to recreate the texture – we are going for the big picture here.

Choose soft pencils

Make sure you use soft pencils. The softer the pencil, the more texture it creates, which is the goal here. My favorite pencils for male skin are 6B and 8B, and I rarely use anything harder than 4B.

Hard vs soft pencil on grainy paper. Generally soft pencils create more texture.

Follow the natural contour of the face

Your pencil strokes should follow the natural contours of the face. This way, natural lines and wrinkles look more realistic.

Pencils strokes are following the natural contour of the face

Blend minimally, only when you have to

Blending (=smudging) the graphite so that it looks smooth, is a common technique among pencil artists. Here, however, we need texture. The fastest and easiest way to achieve this, is to blend minimally, so that the natural texture of the paper is visible. I personally like to add a few minimally blended layers as the base, whereas the final layers on top are completely unblended.

6B pencil, unblended vs blended. Unblended pencil creates more visible texture

Done! Male, textured skin as easy as it can get!

You can check out the Video tutorial here:


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