Start by picking your supplies. I used 4B charcoal for rough/dark shading and HB charcoal for details and general shading. A white charcoal pencil was also used for blending and adding highlights. This drawing can also be done with graphite as well. You'll just need to find the right pencils for the job. I suggest HB and 4B graphite for shading/drawing and a good eraser for adding highlights. Mixed media/drawing paper will do regardless of which drawing medium you use.
Start you drawing off with basic shapes. One small rounded shape for the cephalothorax and a larger rounded shape for the abdomen. I used HB charcoal the the initial sketching.
Roughly sketch some placeholders on the cephalothorax and add some basic guidelines for the legs. Remember that none of this is set in stone. This sketch is nothing more than a starting point.
Sketch in the abdomen and add some dorsal patterns. Black widows can have really wild and gorgeous abdomen patterns so feel free to be creative with your design.
Sketch in the forms of the legs around your guidelines. Do your best to erase any unneeded lines.
This step is completely optional. I usually add a layer of soft vine charcoal before shading just so I have something to build upon. If you are using vine charcoal be sure to shade very lightly.
Use a piece of paper towel or tissue to blend over your drawing. This helps to make your sketch less obtrusive and easier to shade over or erase as need be.
Time to start shading! Using a 4B charcoal pencil, add a a layer of rough shading to the cephalothorax. Reference the finished drawing if you need a more finite basis for your shading.
Roughly shade in the abdomen. Don't worry about making your outlines crisp yet but add rough outlines to the patterns and body.
Use an HB charcoal pencil to define you outlines a bit more and smooth out your shading. Be sure to shade lightly over the lighter areas of the body. Don't worry about perfection yet, just concentrate on building up your layers.
Add more layers of dark shading using 4B charcoal and go over that with HB charcoal until your dark shading is relatives smooth. To get smooth light shading, lightly shading over the patterns with white charcoal and HB charcoal. Use white charcoal to add the "marbling" effect to the abdomen.
Roughly shade in the legs. I found it easiest to work my way clockwise from the left.
Use an HB charcoal pencil to refine you leg shading a bit. Don't worry about getting your shading perfect just yet.
Add a rough, textured layer of shading to the background using 4B charcoal. Shade as lightly as you can to make your patterns look as natural as possible.
Add a light, almost transparent layer of shading to the left side of the background using white charcoal. Be sure to make your outlines a bit more crisp as well.
For this step I added another layer of textured shading to the left side of the drawing using HB charcoal. You can compare the left side to the right side to see just how much depth is added when you have multiple layers of shading.
Smooth out the background by using 4B charcoal and a blending stump the add some final details to the rear legs and abdomen. Go over your leg shading with 4B charcoal again and add highlights using whit charcoal. Use HB charcoal to add some hairs to your spider's legs.
Use white charcoal once more to add a layer of semitransparent charcoal to the rest of the background. Work on the outlines of the rest of the legs as well.
Add some rough dark shading using 4B charcoal to add a bit more atmosphere to the drawing.
Roughly smooth out your shading with a blending stump. Just get it smooth enough for layer to added on top of it.
Finish up the drawing by smoothing out the background shading using your pencil and a blending stump. Go over the rest of the spiders legs with final details. Add finishing touches and call it a day! I hope you all enjoy this drawing as much as I did. Let me know if you want more like it in the future!
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