For this tutorial I used HB, 6B, and white charcoal. It's possible to follow along with regular graphite pencils if you don't have charcoal. Just use HB and 6B graphite and an eraser in place of the white charcoal.
Start out with a light basic sketch of the stag, I used HB charcoal for the sketching portion of this drawing. Start with the head by sketching out basic shapes and guidelines. I find it easiest to start with a circle then build around it.
Sketch in the basic features of the head: they eyes, ears, and nose. Sketch in basic crescent-like shape in place of the antlers.
Sketch in a basic shape to represent the body. Add a few guidelines including rough guidelines for the stag's legs.
Lightly sketch in the rest of the body's features. Worry more about outlines for now. Erase as many of you stray lines and guidelines as you can.
Your sketch should look something like this. Remember not to worry too much about details just yet. Just look at the drawing so far as a starting point.
Start using bolder lines with the same pencil to define features and add more permanent lines. Start with the stag's face before working on the antlers.
Lightly sketch in the horns. You shouldn't worry too much about getting them perfectly symmetrical since in nature antler's are never perfectly mirrored.
Use bold lines to define the antlers. Erase away any extra lines.
Start defining the body lines. Start by defining the torso and front legs.
Finish up the stag by defining the rest of the body. If you plan of coloring or shading the stag your own way then you can carry on with your lineart from here and do as you wish with it.
Here I used a 6B charcoal pencil to sketch in a background. Your background can be anything you want it to be. As you'll see in the next step, it doesn't really matter how clean your background lines are, most of them will be covered up soon.
Here I went crazy with sticks of 6B charcoal and blocked in my background. Basically everything in the background that wasn't sky got covered with charcoal. I also used white charcoal on the fragments of sky that are visible. You can clearly tell the difference here between the white of the paper and the whiteness of the white charcoal.
Using a bit of paper towel, I lightly blended over the entire drawing. Doing this gives you your first layer of shading to work on top of.
Using white charcoal draw in the highlights on and around the deer's head. Play around with the white charcoal to get a hang of it. If you press lightly enough you can use white charcoal to blend you shading.
Use 6B charcoal here to roughly add in dark shading to the eyes, nose, ears, and the outline of the head.
Use an HB charcoal pencil here to lightly go over your shading and add details.
Using white charcoal, start defining the antlers. Remember that if you press lightly enough you can smooth out the antlers with white charcoal.
Finish up the antlers by smoothing them out and define their outlines with HB and 6B pencils. After your stag's antlers are satisfactory start roughly defining your background. I used white charcoal here to roughly sketch in the foliage in the background. You can compare this step to step 12 to see where I'm getting my ideas from.
Build up your background a bit by adding more white charcoal to the sky and using 6B over the darkest areas to make them a bit crisper. I concentrated on the top left quadrant of the drawing for now.
Using white charcoal start defining the shading on the torso and front legs. Also go into the background and roughly sketch in some grass.
Define the front of the stag using 6B charcoal for the darkest shading and using HB charcoal for intermediate shading.
Using white charcoal again, sketch in the rest of the stag's highlights. You can go ahead and add a bit more to the background as well.
Use 6B charcoal again to add dark shading and white charcoal to blend in you shading. Use HB charcoal to help blend the white charcoal into the 6B charcoal.
In order to make the stag pop out a bit more, I decided to blend in the background a bit using a blending stump. add more white charcoal and 6B charcoal where needed. So, this drawing was an experiment for me. I've never really used this exact technique before and I wanted to see what I could accomplish with it. Let me know if you like this look and you think I should develop this technique some more. As always, leave your comments or questions below!
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