Tips for someone new to traditional art?

I’m primarily a digital artist, but I got a sketchbook and a set of charcoal pencils for Christmas! While I’m having fun, I’ve discovered that traditional art is very different from digital, and I have to change a lot about my workflow if I want to use traditional most effectively. Any tips or things I should know about how to approach traditional art as opposed to digital? I attached one of my first charcoal drawings in case it would help.


This is interesting. Did you not learn traditional art first? Most digital artist I know started as traditional artists :3.

The only general advice I can give you for pencil works is to only use very light lines first, make them darker with each sketch phase (like you would do with layers too). Harder pencils help keeping your lines light although it can be done with a soft one too, it needs it bit of practice though. This is for graphite pencils, charcoal is a bit different because they make a much deeper black (and is harder to erase) but it should work similar.
Another thing I can see from your photo, you should put a spare piece of paper between your palm and the paper your are drawing on. That way you don’t smudge your work accidentally and don’t have your palm prints all over it. There are also special gloves for artists that claim to prevent this but I find all they do is keep your hand clean while still smudging everything, a second piece of paper always worked best for me.

This is very basic of course and I bet you knew already. We could give better advice when you tell us where exactly your problems are.

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That definitely helps, thanks!

Glad I could help and your post inspired me to create this topic

Traditional art is cery much about “build up”. Ve it making few underdrawings and/or just building up tge values and texture, you really need to take your time with it an not rush it. A good tip is to be more delicate and conservative than you think you should be a.k.a use less force than you think.
The main tip for charcoal tho: it’s not for “drawing”, but for “defining form”. Like a charcoal line is ugly, but if the line is a definition of form so it has a good movement, it look good (hope this makes sense, maybe watch few Proko videos). So with charcoal, try not to “draw” but to “render”. So charcoal isn’t really ideal for cartoony styles.

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