Begin by sketching the Reaper's basic form with an HB pencil. Start with a circle for the skull and work downwards. Use circles to represent the joints and hands and basic shapes for the torso and hips.
Begin sketching more detailed lines on top of the basic forms. Try to work section by section. Begin with the skull/chest section then work outwards to the hood and scythe. Finally, sketch in the basic robe and the rest of the scythe.
Clean up the sketch by erasing any unnecessary guidelines.
Roughly shade over the drawing with a 4B pencil. Be sure to shade as lightly as possible. Use a paper towel or blending stump to smooth over the drawing. Powdered graphite can also be mixed into the drawing to make the shading smoother.
Begin shading the drawing by working section by section. Start by roughly shading the skull/chest area with a 4B pencil; be sure to sketch lightly. Then use an HB pencil to smooth out the 4B shading; try to define the outlines of the darkest shading as well. Finally use HB and 4H pencil to add more detailed shading to the skull and cloth. A 4H pencil can be used on areas like the teeth to add details that are too fine for an HB pencil. It can also be use to blend in the rougher shading.
Work on the hood and the top of the scythe. Use 4B graphite to roughly shade over the hood and scythe, then use an HB pencil to smooth over/define the shading, finally use 4H and HB pencils to add more details (mainly to the scythe).
Roughly shade over the upper robe using a 4B pencil. Instead of following the guidelines perfectly, try to add more to the clothing design to make it more interesting. Use an HB pencil to smooth out the rough shading and define the outlines.
Shade in the lower robes using the same method used for the upper robes. Don't worry about getting the shading perfectly smooth just yet.
Add some more shading to the background. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by rubbing some graphite powder into the background using a paper towel. Alternatively, roughly shading on a scrap piece of paper with a 4B pencil then loading graphite onto a paper towel by rubbing it on the paper will yield just about the same results as using powdered graphite.
Finish up the drawing by cleaning up the shading. Use a blending stump to smooth out the background. Use HB and 4B pencils to define all of the outlines and shadows. Add layer after layer to make the shading as smooth as possible. Try to work from top to bottom, left to right.
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